11pm The Shakespeare Report: How much difference will the TV debates make?
3.45pm More photographs uploaded to ConservativeHome's Election Gallery
1.30pm International update: David Cameron pays tribute to President Kaczynski; "he was a very brave, Polish patriot, someone who stood up for freedom, who suffered hugely under communism but always stood up for his beliefs and for his great faith in his country."
12.30pm WATCH: Michael Caine stars in latest WebCameron video
Grant Shapps on Platform: How to track this general election in real-time using Twitter
Local government: On Grand National day Mersey Tories are under starters orders and The battle for Kirklees
Tories 10% ahead in two overnight polls – Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
Voters want tougher immigration policies
In a poll for The Daily Mail:
- By 74% to 2% voters say net immigration of 160,000pa is too many;
- 74% say Labour has been ineffective at controlling immigration;
- By 47% to 12% voters say restrictions on immigration would make them more like to vote for a party;
- By 72% to 13% there is agreement that immigration is overstretching public services.
> Yesterday's ToryDiary called for David Cameron to hammer home the issue of immigration during the election debates
Tories plan hiring freeze to halt NI rise
"The Conservatives will institute a hiring freeze rather than fire people to help raise the £6bn in savings needed to halt the bulk of Labour’s national insurance rise next year, David Cameron insisted on Friday. But the Tory leader did not deny that tens of thousands of jobs could go as part of the cutbacks in agency and contract staffing that Sir Peter Gershon, the party’s efficiency adviser, has said should be made to contribute £1bn to £2bn to the cash savings needed." – FT
George Osborne gets credit for NI policy
"The Conservatives’ coup in winning support from 81 business leaders for their national insurance policy was directly organised by George Osborne’s office with advice from Simon Wolfson, chief executive of Next, the FT has learnt. This contrasts with the deliberate impression given by Tory advisers that the businessmen had spontaneously risen up against Labour’s planned increase." – FT
Under-fire George Osborne is Dave's other secret weapon – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail
"Treasury spokesman Vince Cable accused the companies of "nauseating" behaviour and of a "barefaced cheek". More than 130 business leaders said they backed plans by the Conservatives to reverse the Government's planned rise in national insurance." – Sky News
George Osborne warned that VAT could still derail Tory campaign – Matthew Parris in The Times
David Cameron paid his first election campaign visit to Scotland and promised to defend the UK “as a family that has to stand together” – The Herald
Tories stick with civil libertarian message despite lack of cut through in marginals
"Dominic Grieve, shadow justice secretary, is spearheading the fight against the “erosion of our civil liberties” represented by ID cards, councils spying on residents and databases that let law enforcers snoop on e-mail and online traffic. The “big brother” approach, pursued in earnest after the terrorist attacks in the US in 2001 and London in 2005, is “intrusive, ineffective and enormously expensive”, he says. The Tories’ problem is that, while a libertarian crusade appeals to the metropolitan middle classes, it is less important for voters in marginal seats outside the capital." – FT
The Guardian reality checks Gordon Brown's claims about Tory DNA policy and finds them "misleading" – The Guardian
The reality of the Tories is 'truly terrifying' – Polly Toynbee in The Guardian
"I'm so lucky to have met someone who makes me incredibly happy" – David Cameron interviewed for the Daily Mail
All parties have relegated female politicians to the sidelines – Jackie Ashley in The Guardian
David Cameron and Gordon Brown to focus on Nick Clegg in TV debates
"Advisers to both the Labour and Conservative Party leaders are alarmed by the success of Vince Cable, the LibDems’ finance spokesman, in last week’s Chancellors’ television debate. Standing between George Osborne and Alistair Darling, Mr Cable was able to cast himself as an "honest broker" above party politics and appeal to undecided voters. One Tory source: "We can't let Clegg get away with the things Vince did. If they want to play with the big boys, they have to be ready for what that means." Senior Labour advisers are also concerned. A Labour source said: "We can't let Clegg have a free ride, so we'll be doing more work on ways to put him under pressure." – Telegraph
Stuart MacLennan's Twitter abuse sacking gives the advantage to SNP – Times
The Sun Says: "Plenty of Labour chiefs knew about MacLennan's filthy messages but presumably thought that so long as it didn't come out it wouldn't matter. Is this Gordon Brown's idea of cleaning up politics? A sewer would smell sweeter."
Simon Heffer: Vote for Farage to get Bercow out
"Any conservative living in Buckingham should vote for Mr Farage. So should any Conservative, given they have no candidate. But so, indeed, should anyone who cares about the institution of parliament. Bercow has shown he has no place there. Those who recall Mr Farage's splendid assault on Herman van Rompuy in the European Parliament a few months ago will know he has the courage of his convictions. He now has another nonentity in his sights: I do hope he is given the means to pull the trigger." – Simon Heffer in The Telegraph
And finally… 1
The Daily Star celebrates Mr Cameron joking that The Daily Star, no less, is his favourite newspaper.
And finally… 2
"Dave is the straight man in this comedy duo. His demeanour is that of a pillar of the Westminster community who is trying to get a very strong, shaggy dog to walk at heel. Boris is the shaggy dog. No one has ever managed to train him to walk at heel and the audience knows he could at any moment bound playfully all over Dave, knocking his master to the ground and licking his face for the sheer fun of the thing." – Andrew Gimson in The Telegraph reviews the first Boris/Cameron event of the campaign
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