11pm Stephan Shakespeare: The three types of swing
1.15pm WATCH: David Cameron's full eight minute campaign launch speech
'High Noon', Nick Wood's daily look at the General Election campaign: For the first time since Margaret Thatcher's
1987 election victory, the Conservatives are going into a campaign with
a clear poll lead
11.15am Local government:
- Stoke Central constittuency returned no Labour councillors in 2008
- Cllr David Meikle on Lib-Lab pact veto inquiry into Glasgow City Council
- Cllr Edward Lister on People power victory on Heathrow
Five years of ConservativeHome: Margaret Thatcher sends letter of congratulations
In yesterday's Independent Professor John Curtice warned: "This apparent Liberal Democrat advance will worry David Cameron. An eight-point lead over Labour might just be enough to secure the Tories a narrow overall majority if, as several polls suggest, they secure an above-average swing in marginal seats held by Labour. But it will not be sufficient if at the same time the Liberal Democrats manage to fend off the Conservative attack on their key marginal seats."
Help raise £1,000 for Tory candidates fighting Liberal Democrats…
Seats and candidates: We raised over £1,300 yesterday for Philippa Stroud in Sutton and Cheam. At the time of posting we are £405 of the way to raising £1,000 for our Southport candidate, Brenda Porter. Please donate via this page.
Tory lead at 4%, 10% and 10% in latest opinion polls – Yesterday evening's ToryDiary
George Osborne wins backing of business leaders in survey quoted in The Telegraph: "The majority of businesses polled also backed Tory George Osborne as the best candidate to be the next Chancellor, winning 31pc support. He was closely followed by former Chancellor Ken Clarke with 25pc Alistair Darling won 19pc backing, while the Liberal Democrats' Vince Cable, widely regarded as the victor in last week's televised debate on the economy, was supported by 20pc."
This is the Big Government versus Big Society election – Telegraph leader
In its extended leader, The Times sets out its hopes for 2015.
David Cameron to appeal to gay voters in his first speech after Brown calls election – PinkNews
Read Cameron's election rallying cry: I will fight for The Great Ignored.
Cracking down on banks, keeping the 50p income tax band and limiting carbon emissions were least popular policies with Tory candidates – FT
"Karl McCartney is in many ways the face of the new Tory party. As a 41-year-old, rugby-playing, eurosceptic former councillor who used to work in the City, he embodies many of the characteristics that define the group of probable first-time Conservative MPs." – FT
Francis Maude accuses Labour of pre-election advertising blitz with taxpayers' money
"Figures showed Government spending on advertising and marketing hit a record £30million in January, then rose to £35million in February. Shadow Cabinet Office Minister Francis Maude urged Cabinet Secretary Sir Gus O’Donnell to halt all ads apart from essential public-safety campaigns." – Express
Nick Clegg accuses Tories of 'treating people like fools' over NI – Telegraph
The wash up; Which bills will pass before this Parliament ends?
"Proposed amendments by the Conservative Party to the UK’s bribery bill have been withdrawn as Parliament prepares to pass new anti-corruption laws making it harder for UK businesses to get away with mis-conduct." – City AM
"Opponents of the controversial Digital Economy Bill have urged MPs to give it "the debate it deserves" when it is discussed in the Commons later. The bill includes plans to give Ofcom powers to cut off internet connections of persistent net pirates and measures which could see some websites blocked." – BBC
The left-wing Compass group publish their 12 manifesto hopes – Belfast Telegraph
In an intriguing piece Boris' Deputy wants "hefty" VAT to replace income and corporation tax – Kit Malthouse in The Times
Union leader says Brown/Blair governments were worse ever
"Mark Serwotka, general secretary of the Public and Commercial Services Union, said the government’s poor treatment of public sector workers meant it was a worse employer than the Conservatives under Margaret Thatcher or John Major. In a bitter attack, he called for unions to take “united industrial action” as a last resort to defend jobs, pensions and services." – Telegraph
The mainstream parties are accused of not confronting the BNP
"Mr Bethell [of NothingBritish.com] praised Mr Cameron for taking social issues seriously but said he had been "overly cautious in confronting the extremism and racism of the far right". Anti-BNP campaigners think Tories with northern roots such as party chairman Eric Pickles have taken a more proactive stance against the BNP than the "Notting Hill" set around Mr Cameron, who favour a low-key approach to immigration after the Tories were branded "the nasty party" for raising it during the 2005 election." – Independent
Taxpayers are facing a £1trillion “black hole” in funding to cover the generous pensions of Britain’s army of public sector workers – Express
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