Tory Manifesto launch: Cameron unveils new ‘right to buy revolution’…

HOMES Manifesto“A massive extension of Margaret Thatcher’s landmark right-to-buy housing policy will be announced by David Cameron today. In a bold pitch to blue collar voters who delivered Lady Thatcher’s three election victories, the Prime Minister will call the Tories ‘the party of working people’. He will pledge discounts of up to 70 per cent to allow all 1.3million families in housing association properties to buy their home.” – Daily Mail


>Yesterday: Cllr John Wall in Comment: Labour is coming after your home

…as Osborne prepares for a ‘tax free minimum wage’…

“The Tories are set to steal Labour’s thunder by unveiling tax breaks for workers on the minimum wage. A text message intended for a senior aide to George Osborne – but accidentally sent to a newspaper – yesterday divulged plans for a ‘tax free minimum wage’. The details are unclear, but it is thought this would mean that those on the minimum wage would be exempt from paying any income tax – even if its level is raised in future.” – Daily Mail

  • Text message suggests Tories are about to outflank Labour on low pay – The Guardian
  • Chancellor warns BBC over its smothering of local newspapers – The Times (£)
  • Osborne happy amongst his friends in the north – Philip Collins, The Times (£)


  • Puzzled by the manifestos? Labour and the Tories have swapped clothes – Polly Toynbee, The Guardian

…and the Conservatives take a six-point poll lead with ICM

Opinion Poll graphic“The Conservatives have opened up their largest poll lead over Labour in three years, a new poll has found. David Cameron’s personal approval rating is also at its highest level for five years in survey which will come as boost to the Conservatives ahead of manifesto launch. On the day that Ed Miliband launched his Labour Manifesto, the survey by ICM for The Guardian newspaper put the Tories ahead on 39 per cent ahead of Labour on 33 per cent, the party’s highest lead for three years. The slide in backing for Nigel Farage’s UK Independence Party also continued, with support for the Eurosceptic party sliding back to 7 per cent, the same as the Greens.” – Daily Telegraph

  • If the wives were in charge, SamCam would enjoy an eight-point lead – Daily Mail

>Today: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: In ten marginals that the Conservatives hold over Labour, I find them ahead in five


But can the Tory backbenches hold together?

“But on the Tory side, the faith in eventual election victory that has so far bound the party’s disparate components to its leadership is being sorely tested. One senior figure in the Conservative campaign laments his colleagues’ propensity to “wobble” under pressure. Wobble, and blame: “When Tories have it a bit tough, they scatter and turn on each other. There’s not the sort of team spirit Labour have. They act like a family, we’re a coalition of individuals.”” – James Kirkup, Daily Telegraph

Doyle-Price denounces Labour for its failure to confront Farage on immigration

DOYLE-PRICE Jackie“The Labour party is “morally repugnant” for failing to stand up to Ukip, a Tory battling to save her seat in a three-way marginal has claimed. Jackie Doyle-Price made a vicious attack on her two opponents, accusing Labour of an unprincipled stance on immigration and Ukip of trying to “blame the foreigners for everything”. Ms Doyle-Price was speaking before a Ukip rally in Thurrock at which more than 1,000 supporters turned out to hear Nigel Farage. The Ukip leader was met with rapturous applause as he said that he was “unashamed to say we are a patriotic political party”.” – The Times (£)

Rachel Sylvester: The Tories desperately need a positive song to sing

“On the campaign trail, though, the mood is one of insecurity about the party’s failure to make a consistent breakthrough in the polls. With just over three weeks till polling day, anxiety is turning into anger about a negative and unimaginative message that candidates say is backfiring on the doorstep. Already, the blame game has begun, with Lynton Crosby, the Tories’ chief strategist, George Osborne and Mr Cameron all in the firing line. “There’s a lot of ‘bloody Lynton’,” says one senior Tory. “It’s a ‘grind it out’ strategy. They have decided it’s too late to change the brand so the only thing is to do our best to get up to 36 or 37 per cent. It’s so depressing.”” – The Times (£)

Labour Manifesto: Miliband’s pledges already unravelling

MILIBAND Red Ed“Ed Miliband’s bid to restore Labour’s economic credibility had already begun to crumble last night. Independent experts dismissed his plans announced yesterday as so vague that people will have no idea what they are voting for. The Labour leader claimed he was putting a ‘budget responsibility lock’ on the front page of the party’s election manifesto, insisting the deficit would be cut every year if he won power. But he also raised the prospect of tax rises – refusing to rule out changes to income tax thresholds.” – Daily Mail

  • Leader distances himself from tax and spending – Financial Times
  • Video guide to Labour’s promises – Daily Telegraph
  • Manifesto leaves voters clueless on cuts, experts claim – The Times (£)
  • The deficit plan doesn’t add up – The Sun (£)
  • Mixed reaction from business – Financial Times
  • King’s Fund attacks Labour’s refusal to match Tory pledge of £8bn for the NHS – Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Docker’ featured in document a Unite official – The Sun (£)
  • How Red Ken helped write Labour’s manifesto – Daily Mail
  • Passengers locked in train as Ed heads home following launch – The Sun (£)


  • What difference does the ‘responsibility lock’ make? – The Guardian
  • Labour win their manifesto launch day – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • Why manifestos aren’t worth the paper they’re written on – The Independent


  • Ed’s promise to balance the books is his most risible yet – Dominic Sandbrook, Daily Mail
  • Rarely has an election campaign seen so many economically silly ideas – Allister Heath, Daily Telegraph
  • Enough wiggle-room to permit a deal with just about anyone – Sam Coates, The Times (£)
  • Miliband has never sounded more prime ministerial – Matthew Engel, Financial Times
  • Ed is reborn as a statesman, but blink and you’ll miss it – Hannah Jane Parkinson, The Guardian



  • Do I hear an echo of Kinnock at Sheffield? – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • They’re making the Greens look credible! – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Macho man hits the streets with his triple lock – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)


Philip Johnston: Labour wants us to forget its profligate past

“Readers of a certain age may recall The Twilight Zone, a science fiction series in which the normal laws of nature were set aside and nothing was quite what it seemed. Yesterday, the general election campaign dropped into it. Labour’s attempt to persuade the voters that it was now the party of prudent economic management was as disconcerting as anything the show’s writers could have dreamt up. Here were the two Eds, who both served as lieutenants to the Spendthrift-in-Chief Gordon Brown, telling us that they are to be trusted as the guarantors of fiscal probity.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour’s bizarre war on journalists continues

LABOUR holes“Labour officials tried to wrestle a microphone from a senior BBC journalist during a bad-tempered manifesto launch with the media. The Beeb’s Deputy Political Editor James Landale had a 30 second tug-of-war with an apparatchik, who tried to stop him asking Ed Miliband a second question. Another TV reporter, Sky News’s Political Editor Faisal Islam, was booed when he asked Mr Miliband about his credibility over the nation’s coffers. And several times, Red Ed was left pleading with the angry audience of supporters not to harass journalists there.” – The Sun (£)

Bookies warned of potential ban on terminals

“The Labour Party has said it will give local councils the power to ban high-stakes gaming machines from betting shops if they cause antisocial behaviour. “Communities will be able to review betting shop licenses in their area and reduce the number of fixed-odds betting terminals in existing betting shops — or ban them entirely — in response to local concerns,” the party said in its manifesto, which was released on Monday. The machines, which offer gamblers the chance to wager £100 every 20 seconds on games such as roulette, now account for as much as half of the revenues of betting shops.” – Financial Times

Scotland 1) Balls to use Southern tax receipts to shield Scotland from cuts…

UNION FLAG torn“Labour will protect Scotland from the impact of future cuts using taxes raised in England, the shadow chancellor has suggested as a new poll forecast that his party is facing wipeout at the hands of the SNP. Ed Balls was challenged over claims by Jim Murphy, the Scottish Labour leader, that there would be no further cuts north of the border after 2015-16. Mr Balls said that while there will be cuts across Britain after the election under a Labour government, in Scotland they may be outweighed by an extra £800million of funding from the mansion tax and bank bonus levy. Both the taxes are raised predominantly on people living in the South East of England.” – Daily Telegraph

  • …but he and Umunna refuse to rule out cuts to other areas in blow to Murphy – Daily Telegraph
  • Scottish leader ‘hung out to dry’ – The Independent
  • UK to be plundered to fund £800m Scottish bonanza – The Sun (£)
  • Scotland will be spared by southern cash – The Times (£)

Scotland 2) Deutsche Bank warns that Sturgeon will drag Miliband left

“A Labour government propped up by the SNP will raise taxes, ease austerity and oversee a rise in interest rates, one of the World’s biggest investment banks has warned. Deutsche Bank warned that the SNP will push Ed Miliband “further to the left” as Ed Balls, the shadow chancellor, suggested that Labour will protect Scotland from the impact of future cuts using taxes raised in England. It came as a new poll suggested that Labour is facing electoral wipeout in Scotland, with the SNP extending its lead to 52 per cent of the vote leaving Mr Miliband’s party on just 24 per cent.” – Daily Telegraph

Scotland 3) Salmond calls for fiscal transfers to Scotland in event of autonomy

SNP logo white background“Scotland could be shielded by the rest of the UK from the impact of low North Sea oil revenues even if it gains the “full fiscal autonomy” demanded by the Scottish National party, former SNP leader Alex Salmond has claimed. The suggestion that Scotland could continue to benefit from billions of pounds in fiscal transfers from the UK even if it takes full control over all its revenues is likely to outrage SNP critics south of the border.” – Financial Times

>Yesterday: Local Government: What would a Labour/SNP coalition be like? Just look at Edinburgh City Council

Scotland 4) Davidson claims Lib Dems are finished north of the border

“The Liberal Democrats are “finished” in Scotland, the leader of the Scottish Conservatives claimed yesterday, as the two parties which formed the Coalition Government in Westminster five years ago turned their fire on each other north of the border. Dismissing claims by the Liberal Democrats that only its candidates would be able to fend off the SNP challenge in its 11 currently held seats, Scottish Tory leader Ruth Davidson predicted that the party was facing a wipeout on election day.” – The Independent

Clegg promises to block £12bn in welfare cuts during coalition negotiations

Libdem bird vs TORY“Nick Clegg tonight vowed to block the Tories imposing deep welfare cuts as the price of any future Coalition deal. The Deputy Prime Minister said he would not allow the Lib Dems to prop David Cameron up in power if he insisted on pushing ahead with his plan to slash £12billion from the benefits bill. In an interview on the BBC, Mr Clegg also suggested he would veto a new deal unless the Tories agreed new taxes on the rich.” – Daily Mail

  • Madness! Coalition creates over 1,000 new laws in just four years – Daily Mail


  • Minority government could be good for all of us – Ed Conway, The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Lord Flight’s column: If there’s no Conservative majority, here’s why a second Coalition would be better than minority government

Green Party calls for ‘political revolution’ to end austerity

“The Green party will launch its manifesto calling for a “peaceful political revolution” to end austerity. The document will be unveiled jointly on Tuesday by party leader Natalie Bennett and Caroline Lucas, Green candidate for Brighton Pavilion and former party leader, who is considered a more accomplished media performer. Speaking at a theatre in the east London district of Dalston, Bennett will talk about the party’s social and economic policies, saying: “Our manifesto is an unashamedly bold plan to create a more equal, more democratic society while healing the planet from the effects of an unstable, unsustainable economy.”” – The Guardian

News in Brief:

  • Private firms make up to 100 per cent profit on hospital car parks – Daily Mail
  • Russian inspectors arrive at British war game off Scotland – Daily Telegraph
  • The rise of the Right across Europe – The Times (£)
  • Gibraltar wants its own EU referendum in event of Brexit – Financial Times
  • Twitter launches a register to vote button – The Independent

And finally… Tory councillor has three fingers bitten off whilst campaigning

“A Conservative councillor is recovering at home after having three fingers viciously severed by a dog when she tried to put an election leaflet through a letterbox. Cllr Jane Chitty was left in agony when the Staffordshire bull terrier clamped down onto her hand on Friday lunchtime. She was quickly rushed to the specialist plastic surgery unit at East Grinstead Hospital in West Sussex where she underwent a five-hour operation.” – Daily Mail

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