10pm ToryDiary: Lib Dems overtake Labour in new YouGov/Sun daily tracker poll

9pm WATCH: Guido's team at Guy News give their unique take on the first leaders' debate and other events on the campaign trail

8.30pm Seats and Candidates: Peter Ainsworth says the late announcement of his retirement was "cock-up, not conspiracy"

6.30pm Local government: Council by-elections from yesterday

6pm Seats and Candidates: An update on the constituencies in which David Cameron has been campaigning

Welsh flag 5.15pm Local government: Welsh Tories launch manifesto from much stronger local base

5pm WATCH: Eddie Izzard launches a string of attacks on the Conservatives in a Labour election broadcast 

4pm WATCH: Gordon Brown, you are the weakest link – Goodbye!

3.45pm ToryDiary: Tories tap into the X Factor culture with plan for national schools music competition

2.30pm The Lurcher on CentreRight: A poll lead isn't a Ming Vase – it's a horse

1.30pm ToryDiary updateThe real ComRes figures have been released and give the third-placed Lib Dems a small boost

1.15pm WATCH: Channel Four News has condensed the 90-minute leaders' debate into 60 seconds

1pm ToryDiary updateThe ComRes poll "will show a swing to the Lib Dems – but not a massive one"

 Nick Wood square12.45pm Nick Wood's High Noon: Do you agree with Nick?

12.15pm ToryDiary: Unweighted New ComRes poll puts Lib Dems in second place on 35%

11.45am LeftWatch: The Conservatives gear up to expose the dangers of "eccentric" Lib Dem policies

11.15am ToryDiary: Who won the radio debate last night?

10.45am Greg Hands on CentreRight: The weird world of UKIP candidates

10.30am Local Government: Hackney Council bans Conservative election address

10.15am WATCH: Peter Collett analyses the body language used by the leaders during last night's debate


ToryDiary: We mustn't allow Brown to gain from the debates

The Shakespeare Report: Clegg won the debate before a word was uttered – just by virtue of being there

Christopher Salmon on Platform: The lessons from Basra are still not being learned

Seats and Candidates: UKIP candidate steps down to support Mark Reckless in Rochester and Strood

Local Government:


WATCH More clips from last night's debate:

"Outsider" Clegg deemed to "early winner" of last night's debate

TV Debate Nick Clegg"Nick Clegg emerged as the early winner of the first televised leaders' debate last night by successfully positioning himself as the Westminster outsider." – Daily Telegraph

"Nick Clegg seized the initiative last night as the televised drama of Britain’s first campaign debate between party leaders transformed the election. A Populus poll for The Times gave a stunning victory to the Liberal Democrat leader as he used the limelight of the historic ITV broadcast to devastating effect." – The Times

"Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, stole the first televised leaders' debate in British political history by offering himself up as the fresh and honest alternative to two tired old parties in an electrifying, fast-moving, 90-minute primetime broadcast." – The Guardian

"Nick Clegg broke the duopoly in British politics with a strong performance in last night’s historic first televised election debate between the three main party leaders. " – The Independent

"David Cameron was voted the best potential Prime Minister last night in the fastest full survey conducted in Britain. We called a verdict just five minutes after the historic party leaders' clash ended. Tory chief Mr Cameron won 39 per cent of backing to become PM, Mr Brown scored 29 per cent and Mr Clegg just 26 per cent. The Labour leader was deemed the least honest." – The Sun

How the commentariat saw the debate

TV Debate David Cameron "Of course Mr Cameron did not satisfy the expectations that required him to dispatch Mr Brown in a single stroke. Nor did he produce a performance that will have the nation snapping its fingers and saying, “of course, it’s him!” But he looked in command, he was personal and he seemed impervious to the Prime Minister snapping at him from his left." – Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

"David Cameron was by far the most surprising of the three. Pinned in the middle, he often seemed under attack and subdued. Mr Brown put him under pressure and he didn’t manage to push back well; when he tried to change the subject it seemed contrived. He also seemed intentionally to be avoiding the aggressive style of the prime minister even eschewing one open-goal on under-equipped troops. A former Tory spin doctor who was watching with me said he was being deliberately “statesmanlike”. – Robert Shrimsley in the FT

"David Cameron did very well without adding anything especially startling or novel to the debate. What came across was clarity, authenticity and an appropriately authoritative manner for a potential prime minister. I thought he missed a precious opportunity to slap down Brown’s absurd assertion that the Tories would be “taking six billion pounds out of the economy” by not implementing most of the Labour National Insurance rise when, in fact, it is raising tax that takes money out of the real economy. But Cameron did make the most of the disastrous effect that the NIC rise would have on the NHS and education budgets." – Janet Daley in the Daily Telegraph

"It was David Cameron, the leader of the opposition Conservatives, who pushed for debates with the other party leaders during Britain’s general election campaign. One wonders, in the aftermath of the first, whether he thinks that was really such a clever idea." – The Wall Street Journal's Iain Martin

"Mr Clegg’s victory in the debate will change the dynamics of the campaign by raising expectations about what the Lib Dems may do in the election. His success will put pressure on both the other party leaders to review their tactics for the remaining debateson the following two Thursdays." – Peter Riddell in The Times

"There was one moment when Cameron did discomfort Clegg, when he brought up Michael Brown’s dodgy donations—which the Lib Dems have not returned. But the Tories need a lot more examples of where the Lib Dem’s actions fall short of their rhetoric." – The Spectator's James Forsyth

TV Debate Gordon Brown "Instead of closing ranks and crushing this impudent upstart, Cameron and Brown fell over themselves to win his support. "I agree with Nick" was the catchphrase of the night, an early public sign of the post-election haggling that may ensue if we end up with a hung parliament. Brown repeatedly tried to cast himself as Clegg's ally, desperate for the two of them to pile on Cameron the way Barack Obama and John Edwards once did against Hillary Clinton." – Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian

"Mr Cameron appeared assured and calm. Mr Brown was a solid presence. Mr Clegg gained the sort of platform his predecessors could only dream of. Was there a winner? There was no killer blow. The only clear winners are the voters, who were treated last night to the sight of raw democracy played out on a single stage." – Ben Macintyre in The Times

"Voters were watching peak time politics, a novelty in itself. But they witnessed no great game changer from the leaders. Instead their fleeting engagement with politics will go down in history as something of a game changer in itself." – Steve Richards in The Independent

"None of them dropped any clangers – nor did anyone have killer one-liners. I’m struggling to recall a single line from the debate. Cameron scored when he thanked the soldier and the nurse for their service: he relied on anecdotes, whereas Brown emptied his statistics on the poor viewer." – The Spectator's Fraser Nelson

> ConHome's coverage of last night's debate

TV Debate Panel photo


Tories unveil 400 more businessmen who back NI plan in riposte to Labour's support from 58 economists

"The Tories unveiled 400 more businessmen backing their plan to block Labour's National Insurance rise today in response to Labour drumming up support from 58 economists supporting Gordon Brown's refusal to start cutting spending until 2011. In an attempt to boost its flagging economic credentials, Labour asked experts to sign an open letter warning that 'rash action' to curb Britain's £167 billion deficit could push Britain back into recession. But as it emerged several of the signatories had Labour links, the Conservatives hit back by releasing a letter signed by 400 heads of small and medium sized businesses." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Hundreds of small businessmen rebuff Mandelson and Cable with new letter supporting the Tories on National Insurance

Economists downgrade Chancellor's 'highly optimistic' growth forecast

"Britain's economy will grow by 1.3 per cent next year, compared with the Chancellor's forecast of between 3 and 3.5 per cent, economists predict today. The forecast, from the Centre for Economic and Business Research (CEBR), has been revised upwards from the 0.8 per cent predicted in January and assumes a Conservative victory in next month's general election." – The Scotsman

Fear of Tory win spooks Europe

"European capitals are surveying the British election campaign with increasing anxiety. There is no recent precedent for a party so virulently Eurosceptic, or europhobic, as David Cameron's "New Tories" taking office in a large EU member state." – The Independent

Conservative candidates ignoring green campaign slogan

"The Conservative campaign slogan “vote blue, go green” is being ignored by many of the party’s general election candidates, according to a survey that found that they were much less likely than rivals to favour rapid expansion of renewable energy. Only 22 per cent of Tory candidates in winnable seats strongly supported Britain’s target — set by the European Union and endorsed by the Conservative leadership — of generating 15 per cent of Britain’s energy from renewable sources by 2020." – The Times

Zac Goldsmith 'will quit' if a Tory Government cuts local services

GOLDSMITH-ZAC-2 "Zac Goldsmith has laid down the gauntlet to David Cameron by insisting that if he would quit as an MP immediately if a Conservative Government implemented policies which damaged his constituency… Asked by BBC Radio Four Today presenter James Naughtie at a local hustings if he would tell parliamentary whips to "stuff it" if he disagreed with policy, Mr Goldsmith replied "absolutely". – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday in Seats and Candidates: Zac Goldsmith threatens to quit and cause a by-election if he is elected and key pledges are broken by a Tory Government

Vernon Bogdanor: The era of two tribes is over, whoever wins

"Even before the expenses crisis, voters had begun to rebel against tribal politics. That rebellion may reach its culmination next month, in which we could see the greatest challenge to our traditional constitution since the battle over “peers versus the people” that marked the two general elections of 1910, 100 years ago." – The Times

Green Party shifts to the Left…

"Well, you can't say they're not different. The Green Party launched a manifesto yesterday, openly promising to take quite enormous sums from the rich and hand them over to the poor. The party that for the past 20 years has put the planet first has found a fierce new focus to sit alongside its environmental concern: social justice and inequality. Yesterday it set out an eye-popping programme of redistributive taxation that would have been considered radical even by Old Labour at its most extreme period in the early Eighties." – The Independent

…and wins friends at The Independent

"The reintroduction of the fuel duty escalator, imposing VAT on aviation fuel, subsidised train and bus fares, cuts to road building, new taxes on pollutants, free insulation for homes – these are the sort of policies, painful though many would initially be, that are necessary to generate the radical shift in our behaviour needed to reduce our carbon emissions. The Greens deserve credit for having the courage to put them in their manifesto. – Independent editorial

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: The Green Party's credentials as a party of the far Left have never been clearer

The volcanic ash cloud disrupts Lib Dem and Labour campaign plans in Scotland

"The huge cloud of ash also hit the election campaign, forcing top politicians to scrap trips to woo Scots voters. Lib Dem treasury spokesman Vince Cable had to abandon a planned visit to Dunfermline and West Fife. And Defence Secretary Bob Ainsworth also cancelled a visit to Scotland. Only Tory Ken Clarke made it north of the border to campaign in Perth." – The Sun

And finally… Gordon Brown's next-door neighbour is voting Tory

Picture 1
"A North Queensferry man caused a media scrum at his home today after putting up a large pro-Tory poster on his lawn – bang next door to the Prime Minister's house. Ian Watt (65) was stunned when "a football crowd" of hacks arrived at his Ferryhills Road home after he erected the 'It's Time For Change' poster in his garden. He told the Press, "After 13 years of Labour government I've decided to vote for change and this is my protest. It's the second time in my life that we've seen Labour make a complete shambles of the country – I'm sick of what they've done in the last thirteen years." – Dunfermline Press


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