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9.30pm LeftWatch: 'Get out of jail free' card from the Liberal Democrats

8.45pm WATCH: "Something exciting is happening" in British politics says Nick Clegg

8pm ToryDiary update: YouGov has Tories 33%, Lab 30%, LDs 29%

7pm ToryDiary update: BPIX poll puts the Lib Dems one point ahead of the Conservatives

HANDS GREG6.15pm Greg Hands on CentreRight: Labour is loving the LibDem surge

5.45pm ToryDiary: Love-bombing of the Liberal Democrats is over as George Osborne unleashes a conventional political attack

4.30pm ToryDiary: ICM poll puts the Conservatives on 34%, Labour on 29% and the Liberal Democrats on 27%… and ComRes also suggests a LibDem surge

4.30pm Harry Phibbs on CentreRight exposes the questionable expense claims of Nick Clegg and other Liberal Democrats

4.15pm ToryDiary: Tories woo Britain's five million public sector workers

Screen shot 2010-04-17 at 16.15.47 2.45pm WATCH: Cameron tells Gloucester crowd that a hung parliament won't tackle Britain's big problems

12.30pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: An outrageous breach of BBC guidelines on political reporting

10.45am ThinkTankCentral: A Tory victory will add £20bn to national income

ConservativeHome is dominated today by the challenge of the Liberal Democrats:

On ToryDiary Stephan Shakespeare does NOT expect the Liberal Democrat surge to last but offers three reasons why it might.

Also on ToryDiary Paul Goodman explores anti-LibDem tactics.

Martin Sewell on Platform: "Nick Clegg masquerades as one to clean up politics – but will not pay back the stolen £2.5m given to his party by Michael Brown. The Party may have been exonerated from culpability by the Electoral Commission for receiving the money; a man of honour might give it back to the victims."

Trident LeftWatch: Some anti-LibDem posters

Local government: The battle for Brighton and Hove

Election gallery: Welsh Conservatives launch anti-Brown poster

YouGov's first-debate poll puts Conservatives on 33%, LibDems 30% and Labour 28%ToryDiary

"Odds of a Conservative victory shortened from 8-11 before the debate to 4-5 by the end." – Telegraph

Labour delighted at LibDem rise

VoteCleggGetBrown "The Labour calculation is simple. For more than 350 opinion polls now, they have been behind the Conservatives. They cannot win an overall majority, they believe. If voters desert the Liberal Democrats, Labour's polls report, two votes go to the Tories for every one that defects to Labour. And there is much less competition for individual seats between Labour and the Liberals than between Tories and Liberals." – Charles Moore in The Telegraph

"Aside from trying to distract attention from Mr Brown’s own poorly-rated performance, Labour believes a Lib Dem revival will hit the Tories hardest, because of the large number of Lib-Con marginals in the south and south west. This throws the election wide open,” said one Labour strategist. Lord Adonis, transport secretary, continued his wooing of the Lib Dems, whom he sees as potential partners in government in a hung parliament, saying they were locked in a joint fight against the Tories." – FT

"A mild Lib Dem bounce would please Labour because it would put pressure on the Tories. But Labour will be nervous if the Lib Dem bandwagon gains too much momentum. A powerful Lib Dem surge, which took the party out of its traditional heartland in the south-west, could see it depriving Labour of valuable seats." – Guardian

"It's possible that as a result of that 90 minutes of Thursday night television, the LibDems may become a more formidable force than at any time since David Lloyd George's leadership of the Liberal Party almost 100 years ago. This would be disastrous for David Cameron, whose chance of making it to 10 Downing Street is dependent on the Tories winning a score of seats back from LibDems in the South of England. On the basis of Clegg's TV performance, it cannot be ruled out that the LibDems will overturn Conservatives on May 6 rather than the other way around." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

"Mr Clegg has given Mr Brown a second chance, another opportunity to convince voters to stick with the "devil they know" rather than the two they do not. We will soon know whether Mr Brown can take it." – Andrew Grice in The Independent

"England may really have three-party politics now, four in Scotland and Wales. The old two-party mould is not entirely broken yet. But it is coming under more pressure than it has experienced for a generation." – Guardian leader

Alan Johnson says a hung parliament wouldn't be so bad

JOHNSON ALAN purple "Johnson said that Labour and Mr Clegg’s party had a lot in common and that it was patronising to try to frighten voters about post-election pacts. “We have to kill this argument that coalition government is dangerous,” Mr Johnson said in an interview. But Kenneth Clarke, the Conservative Shadow Business Secretary, told The Times that a hung Parliament could trigger “another financial crisis” as credit-rating agencies forced up interest rates on government debt." – Times

The Times leader-writers: "The likely outcome of a hung Parliament would not be a new form of pluralism. It would be a weak government, with no agreed programme and no mandate for the change the country needs. This is no time for a weak government and, therefore, no time for a hung Parliament."

Cameron insists the election is a choice between Labour and the Conservatives

Screen shot 2010-04-17 at 09.24.40 ""In the end the choice will still come down to 'do you want five more years with Gordon Brown or change with the Conservatives?' And I think this is the argument that people will carry with them to the ballot box." – Mr Cameron interviewed in The Telegraph

FT editorial warms to Liberal Democrats

"Indeed, only the Lib Dems are pushing for much deeper constitutional reform, including decentralisation of power to local government. Mr Clegg’s party is advancing this agenda partly out of self-interest – but there is popular appetite for it. Voters sense their ramshackle state is unresponsive. overcentralised and needs to be reformed. They are right." – FT leader

The Conservatives are the true defenders of public servants – George Osborne in The Guardian

"David Cameron will today unveil revolutionary plans to give millions of public sector workers the chance to be their own boss." – The Sun

Cameron reassures Wales (and Scotland) about subsidy from England

"if you replace the Barnett formula you have to replace it with a needs-based formula and there’s plenty of evidence to say Wales’ needs are very great. So there’s no doubt Wales would do well out of any other formula and I think the real test for this is to look at what I say when I do public meetings in England. I don’t go around there saying, ‘If only we could get rid of the Barnett formula we’ll all save lots of money in England’. I actually go around telling people, ‘this is a family in the United Kingdom and we need to keep the family together’. I don’t want the family to fall out over money. And if Barnett is replaced with a needs-based formula Wales and Scotland have very great needs.” – The Tory leader talking to the Western Mail

Reality check validates Cameron's claim that the UK's cancer death rate is worse than Bulgaria'sGuardian

Tory bank plans

Bank shareholders should hold on for further recovery, stockbrokers say, in spite of suggestions that a Conservative government could start to sell taxpayer stakes in Lloyds Banking Group and RBS as soon as next year – FT

Take That star Gary Barlow yesterday became the latest celebrity to back David CameronThe Sun

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Tories tap into the X Factor culture with plan for national schools music competition

Brown agrees to examination by Jeremy PaxmanBBC | Cameron should say no to Paxman

And finally… Labour concede defeat in Blackpool North and Cleveleys

ToLetYour photographs from the campaign trail.

Please use this thread to highlight other interesting news and commentary and visit PoliticsHome.com for breaking political news and views throughout the day.

72 comments for: Saturday 17th April 2010

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