11.15pm ToryDiary update: Second opinion poll of evening puts Conservatives 5% ahead
9.30pm ToryDiary: Conservatives 5% ahead in YouGov tracker
8pm Tea with Pickles: Don't let Gordon Brown take us back to the future
5.15pm Local government:
- Boris Johnson says St George would have been a Conservative
- Former Labour council leader wins libel damages from Ken Livingstone
3.15pm The Shakespeare Report: What does it mean to 'win' a debate?
2.15pm Election gallery: Photographs of Boris Johnson and David Cameron celebrating St George's Day
Nick Wood's High Noon: Time for Dave to get real
Local government: The battle for Rossendale
Cameron is top choice to be PM in YouGov post-debate poll – The Sun
Cameron, Brown improve in debate but Clegg did not mess up
"David Cameron and Gordon Brown clawed back some much-needed political ground from the Liberal Democrats, in a closely fought television debate that leaves the election wide open. In spite of improved showings by Mr Cameron and Mr Brown, Nick Clegg, the Lib Dem leader, delivered another assured performance, cementing his position as a serious player in the election." – FT
Tim Montgomerie's verdict in The Independent: Cameron steadied the ship
Cameron forces Brown to admit that Labour leaflets are dishonest
"During the debate Cameron scored one of his biggest hits, accusing Brown of "lying" about Tory policy by claiming in official Labour campaign literature that they would cut winter fuel payments, bus passes and prescriptions. He said: "Those leaflets you've been getting from Labour, those letters you've been getting from Labour, are pure and simple lies." Put on the back foot, Brown was challenged to denounce them. "I've not authorised any leaflets like that," he said." – Guardian
> Last night's LeftWatch exposes Gordon Brown's leaflet smears
Coulson blamed for slow fightback to Liberal Democrat surge
"William Hague, the shadow foreign secretary, went on the attack over Clegg's passion for a European super-state. Osborne launched a solo operation on Lib Dem proposals on immigration. They were effective attacks - but short-lived. The reason? Coulson, a renowned control freak, had ordered radio silence.
It was only when Ken Clarke, the shadow business secretary, was sent out on Wednesday with his withering attack on the effect of a hung parliament that it became clear a strategy had been agreed. But that was six days too late." – Andrew Pierce in the Daily Mail
Chris Huhne hits back at Tory attacks on coalition government
"Anybody who tried to explain to a German that coalition government was bound to lead to a “national calamity” would find the conversation surreal, since the country with one of the strongest reputations for sound public finance has never had a formal single-party government since the dawn of the Federal Republic." – Chris Huhne in the FT
"It may take a few days, as after the last hung Parliament, in February 1974, or even a week or two to form a new government. But if the politicians adapt, it should be possible to create an administration that can act to cut the budget deficit.There is no need for the financial markets and the media to panic on the night of May 6 if no party wins a majority." – Peter Riddell in The Times
"It is plain as a pikestaff that a government based on compromise and horse trading, as any coalition by necessity is, will be much less capable of administering the pain than one formed by a single party." – Jeremy Warner in The Telegraph
John Redwood uses his blog to argue the other case: "A hung Parliament might simply end up delaying any difficult decisions, thinking they could carry on spending and borrowing too much and pretending there is no deficit problem to be tackled. Ask politicians to compromise and they usually do so at the expense of the electors – compromise will probably mean spending more, regulating more and passing more power to Brussels and quangos, given the views of the Lib Dems."
Tories target extra Labour seats as it becomes third party in polls
"The Tories have put more resources into Labour marginals they hadn’t thought of targeting. But they are also having to shore up some of their own seats against localised Lib Dem surges. As long as Mr Cameron is unable to distract our attention away from Mr Clegg that will continue." – Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph
The Times hopes that Oliver Letwin will survive the LibDem surge.
Liam Fox is burgled… and then Charles Kennedy nicks his BlackBerry
"Thieves who broke into the home of a top Tory MP while he slept scattered knives to use if they were disturbed, it was revealed yesterday. Shadow Defence Secretary Liam Fox, 48, was confronted with the scene when he came down to his kitchen for breakfast at 7.20am." – Daily Star
"Fox, whose wife Jesme is still stranded in Hong Kong because of Iceland's volcano, eventually made it to the TV studios where, in a BBC waiting room he saw Charles Kennedy, the Lib Dems' nearly-man, struggling with a BlackBerry for several minutes. Kennedy had picked up Fox's phone, so Fox leant across and politely asked for it back. Was Kennedy confused, or was it a sneaky attempt to read Fox's emails? – Daily Mail
Economy grew faster under the Tories, says National Institute of Economic and Social Research – City AM
Councils and hospitals which serve up foreign food will be named under Tory plans to back British farmers – Plymouth Herald
Nick Clegg admits £20,000 was paid into his account – Telegraph
The FT reviews the attacks on Nick Clegg.
Clegg flew economy but took business-class fares from EU – Daily Mail
Tory Mark Pritchard criticises Clegg's support for UK mosques to broadcast calls to prayer – Express
The maker of Marmite is threatening legal action against the British National Party to stop it from using a jar of the spread in a party broadcast – BBC
And finally… Ken Clarke didn't watch first TV debate
"Tory business spokesman Kenneth Clarke promised he'd watch last night's debate, say Conservative officials. He didn't watch the first leaders' TV debate, he said, because he was 'on the train to Nottingham'. Couldn't he have delayed his journey – or, gone to his Nottingham home sooner? Of course." – Daily Mail
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