6.15pm Melanchthon on CentreRight looks forward to a vigorous debate about the respective merits of parliamentary and presidential systems
5.30pm Martin Parsons on CentreRight: Parliament MUST complete invesitigations against defeated MPs
12.15pm Harry Phibbs on Centre Right: Nick Clegg's broken promise on the Lisbon Treaty referendum
Noon Melanchthon on CentreRight: "To respond to a three-way split result by overthrowing the system is to refuse to allow first-past-the-post's virtues to operate."
Seats and Candidates update: LISTEN to Harriet Harman continuing to peddle scare stories about the Conservatives scrapping the winter fuel allowance and Sure Start Centres when confronted by Ben Gummer in Ipswich Will Gordon Brown condemn this as unauthorised by him?
Brown rips up his strategy to escape third place
"Gordon Brown is to gamble on a last-ditch revamp of Labour’s campaign as he fights to prevent the election becoming a two-horse race between David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The Prime Minister has decided to adopt a more high-profile role because senior party figures fear that Labour is flirting with an historic defeat. He has covered half as much ground as his rivals and spent much time addressing small groups of Labour sympathisers." – The Times
"Gordon Brown is to become a more visible presence in Labour's general election campaign and meet more ordinary voters" – BBC
Tory HQ reportedly targeting even more Labour seats
"The Conservatives, too, are revising their campaign to cope with Britain’s first three-horse election race in almost 30 years. Mailshots planned for Liberal-Democrat-held seats in the Southwest of England have been cancelled. Resources will instead be directed at Labour-held seats in the party’s heartlands, which have been made more vulnerable by Mr Clegg’s advance, insiders said." – The Times
"In the north west I’m assured that the Tories are now quietly confident of taking seats such as Carlisle, both Boltons, Barrow in Furness, Weaver Vale, Lancaster and Fleetwood, but also Hyndburn and (does this explain why we haven’t seen him on the trail?) Jack Straw’s Blackburn." – Benedict Brogan's blog on the Telegraph website
Ken Clarke warns of disaster for the economy if there is a hung parliament
"Ken Clarke yesterday warned Welsh voters not to risk economic instability by succumbing to Nick Clegg’s charms. Mr Clarke, whose verbal duels with Lord Mandelson have been among the highlights of the campaign, said a hung Parliament would be disastrous for Britain… “I simply fear an inconclusive election result – a situation where three politicians who have such genuine disagreements have to lead parties into somehow cobbling together an approach to an economic crisis." – Western Mail
"The issue is not really what the markets say in advance of the election about sterling and interest rates. The more pressing concern is whether a hung Parliament would actually have the stomach to tackle the deficit. If there were political stasis, the markets’ verdict could be savage. It is easy to talk grandiloquently about governments of “national unity”. The reality, if Thursday night’s televised debate is anything to go by, is more likely to be bickering and backroom deals." – Times editorial
Tories retain poll lead after TV debate
"The Tories have kept their five-point lead in the race to No 10 after David Cameron's narrow victory in the second leaders' TV debate, The Sun can reveal. But our YouGov poll last night also proved there was still all to play for, with just 12 days to go to polling day." – The Sun
"David Cameron has punctured the Nick Clegg bubble as the novelty of the Lib Dem leader’s X Factor-style success wears off. A Harris poll for the Daily Mail shows the Conservatives regaining ground after Mr Cameron fought back in the party leaders’ second prime-time TV clash on Thursday. They are on 34 per cent, five points ahead of the Lib Dems on 29 and eight ahead of Labour on just 26." – Daily Mail
> Last night's ToryDiary on today's polls
David Cameron has increased confidence after TV debate – The Independent
David Miliband turns his fire on Nick Clegg
"One of Labour's most senior cabinet ministers today launches a withering critique of the Liberal Democrats, claiming the surge in popularity for Nick Clegg is based on a form of "anti-politics" that provides no basis for government. In an interview with the Guardian, the foreign secretary, David Miliband, accuses Clegg of trading on a myth – that "Britain has experienced 65 years of failure". His remarks mark a significant hardening of the Labour position from earlier in the week when cabinet figures such as Lord Adonis were trying to highlight similarities between the two parties." – The Guardian
Jack Straw indicates opposition to electoral reform – Reuters
Clegg prop up Brown? He wants to kill him – Matthew Parris in The Times
Sir Philip Green endorses David Cameron
"David Cameron went shopping for votes on the high street yesterday, picking up a useful endorsement from the retail magnate Sir Philip Green and declaring that under a Conservative government Britain would be “back open for business”. Sir Philip, the owner of the Arcadia retail group, which includes Topshop, Dorothy Perkins and Miss Selfridge, gave a speech at the Fashion Retail Academy in which he attacked government waste and offered some carefully-worded support to the Tory campaign." – The Times
Gordon Brown refuses to apologise for Labour 'lies'
"Gordon Brown has refused to apologise for Labour campaign leaflets that suggested that the Tories were planning to withdraw benefits such as free bus travel from the elderly… In a press conference, Mr Brown insisted that he had been right to raise the issue of benefits for the elderly, but denied authorising the leaflets." – Daily Telegraph
The media finally catch up with ConHome's story about the Labour candidate performing a Nazi salute
"A Labour candidate was under fire today for performing a Nazi salute while speaking at a students’ debate. Daniel Zeichner, 53, was appearing at the Cambridge University Union to discuss whether the Conservatives were ready to return to power. During his speech, when he accused the Tories of associating with ‘fascists’ such as the Polish Law and Justice Party, he made the ‘Heil Hitler’ salute." – Daily Mail
Lib Dems use fake nurse in election leaflets
"Desperate Liberal Democrats used a fake nurse in election leaflets, it was revealed last night. Researcher Sian Cliff donned a uniform to be photographed with a party candidate. The row came hours after Nick Clegg stunned Westminster by seemingly trying to boost his credibility by claiming he was a Northerner." – The Sun
Some ordinary northerner! How Nick Clegg is really a man of extraordinary privilege whose family own a chateau – Daily Mail
George Osborne say he'll nail robbers in pinstripes and prosecute rogue banks…
"Banks which rip off their customers face multi-million-pound fines under dramatic plans for a ‘robbers in pinstripes’ law unveiled today by the Conservatives. Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said white-collar fraudsters were costing the economy an estimated £30billion a year but getting off ‘scot-free’ because of Labour’s lax regime." – Daily Mail
…and attacks Labour for "jobless recovery"
"Brown narrowly avoided a double-dip recession yesterday – as the UK limped towards recovery. Figures showed national output (GDP) rose by a tiny 0.2 per cent from January to March. The rise confirmed the end of the worst slump on record – but it was HALF the size expected in the City… Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said: "After the longest recession we have a jobless recovery from a weak Government." – The Sun
Parties trade blows over 'fragile' economic recovery – BBC
Cameron dismisses claim Tories would put up VAT
"David Cameron has dismissed claims the Conservatives would put up VAT if they won the general election, insisting his first Budget would focus on cutting spending." – Daily Telegraph
David Cameron targets north-east and Northern Ireland for spending cuts – The Guardian
David Cameron wants the English to reclaim St George's Cross from BNP
"In a speech in Leadenhall Market in the City of London, Mr Cameron said it was vital that English people “properly celebrated” their National Day. He told a crowd of 200 cheering supporters: “Today we are celebrating St George's Day, and we are reclaiming St George's Day as an important day I think for good reasons. And one of the most important reasons is that we should be reclaiming the flag from the BNP and saying the flag belongs to the English people, all of them." – Daily Telegraph
Michael Gove: My birth mother knows who I am, but I'll never try to track her down – Daily Mail
For once, Polly Toynbee writes something which is indisputably true
"Nick Clegg has no chance of becoming the next prime minister. None, zilch, zero." – The Guardian
And finally… Meet the "mini-Hague"
"This week I found Britain's youngest canvasser. Conservative campaigner William Liefting Moore is ten. Going on 35. William was knocking on doors in Richmond Park, South London, where Tory heart-throb Zac Goldsmith hopes to unseat honking Lib Dem Susan Kramer. Owing to his tender age, William has to be chaperoned by older volunteers, although he is so grown-up it is almost vice versa. 'I have always liked the Conservatives' ethos,' he said, his piping treble mulling over policy matters with the gravitas of a Jeremy Paxman. 'They are more business orientated. I am less attracted to Gordon Brown. Labour's record is unsatisfactory. They have been in power for 13 years.' Three years more than our William has been on the planet." – Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail
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