11.30pm (Late) Tea with Pickles: We are winning the banner and poster war

11.15pm WATCH: Sky News' two-minute highlights of the clashes from tonight's debate 

11.00pm Harry Phibbs on Centre Right: Nick Clegg's Euro allies are the real nutters

10.45pm WATCH: The opening statements from tonight's leaders' debate
Vicki-Pollard 10.30pm LeftWatch: Gotcha Gordon! You say you didn't approve lies about Tory plans for pensioner benefits…

TV Debate Panel photo
10.15pm ToryDiary: ConHome's panel of expert commentators give their take on tonight's debate

10pm ConHome's Election Gallery: Photographs of Warsi, May, Gove, Osborne, Hunt and Gove briefing the media on Cameron's Bristol performance

10pm ToryDiary update: ComRes and AngusReid call tonight's debate for Clegg by a whisker

9.45pm ToryDiary: YouGov poll reporting that Cameron won tonight's debate

9.30pm LeftWatch: Labour mock disabled in new poster

From 8pm
Live blog of the second leaders' debate

Flag of St George7pm ToryDiary: Help us to celebrate St George's Day tomorrow!

6.30pm LeftWatch: The media scrutiny of the Lib Dems continues – as the party dismisses Mandelson's claims that Tory HQ is smearing Clegg as as "utter nonsense"

Picture 45.45pm Seats and Candidates: Conservative candidate Ben Gummer confronts Harriet Harman over Labour lies outside an Ipswich Sure Start Centre

5.30pm Seats and Candidates: Election postponed in Thirsk and Malton after death of UKIP candidate

5pm ToryDiary: Lib Dems back in third place in new YouGov poll

4.45pm Melanchthon on CentreRight notes the latest Ipsos-Mori poll of marginals: "What counts is the gap between the Conservatives and Labour.  And the Clegg surge has made no difference to the Conservative-Labour gap."

Michelle Donelan and Shapps4.15pm Seats and Candidates: Shadow Housing Minister Grant Shapps campaigns against his opposite number, Housing Minister John Healey, in Wentworth and Dearne

2.45pm Local government: The battle for Leeds

2.15pm Jonathan Isaby on CentreRight: Hundreds of parents write to The Guardian in support of Tory education plans

1.45pm ToryDiary: Conservatives launch Armed Forces Manifesto

Nick Wood's High Noon: Labour is now in the greatest peril as Gordon Brown appears to have become the "Great Ignored"

BALLOT BOX 112.30pm Seats and Candidates: A record number of candidates are fighting this election

Noon WATCH: Grant Shapps, David Miliband and Sarah Teather debate the issues of the day on GMTV in advance of tonight's leaders' debate

11.15am Lee Rotherham on CentreRight: Despite enjoying an opt-out from EU policy on Justice and Home Affairs, the UK has quietly signed up to 53 asylum and immigration measures and 15 civil judicial measures

11am Bernard Jenkin on Platform: It is time for some honesty from Nick Clegg on Trident

10am Seats and Candidates: Help stop Nick Clegg by donating to the campaign of John Lamont, the Conservative challenger in Berwickshire, Roxburgh and Selkirk

ToryDiary: Fleet Street mauls Nick Clegg as David Cameron and Ken Clarke put the case against a hung parliament

LeftWatch: Meet the honest Lib Dem candidate who explicitly advises voting Conservative if you want Labour out of government

Shane Frith on Platform: Lessons from New Zealand on the dangers of hung parliaments, coalitions and PR

Local Government:


Fleet Street mounts an operation to burst Clegg's bubble

TV Debate Nick Clegg "Nick Clegg received a series of payments from party donors directly into his private bank account, The Daily Telegraph can disclose. The Liberal Democrat leader was paid regular monthly sums by three senior businessmen during 2006. The same account was used to pay his mortgage, shopping and other personal expenditure, documents seen by this newspaper show… Sir Alistair Graham, the former chairman of the committee of standards in public life, described the arrangement as “irregular”. – Daily Telegraph

> Last night's LeftWatch: LibDem donors paid money into Nick Clegg's private account

"Nick Clegg has claimed that the British people have ‘a more insidious cross to bear’ than Germany over the Second World War. In an astonishing attack on our national pride, the Liberal Democrat leader said we suffered from ‘delusions of grandeur’ and a ‘misplaced sense of superiority’ over having defeated the horrors of Nazism." – Daily Mail

"Controversial Lib Dem plans to allow illegal immigrants to stay and work in Britain were exposed as madness yesterday as unemployment hit a 16-year high." – Daily Express

"On the eve of the leaders' debate which will feature questions on foreign affairs, Mr Clegg was slammed by military top brass as a cynical crowd-pleaser – who is happy to flip-flop on defence." – The Sun

"The Liberal Democrats will add up to £14,000 in tax on the cost of buying a new home, it was revealed yesterday. The party, riding high in the opinion polls, wants to get rid of the exemption from VAT on newly built properties." – Metro

Clegg's ultimatum on proportional representation The Independent

The no-win nightmare of a hung parliamentThe Sun

Peter Oborne: The Lib Dems are the real nasty party

OBORNE "At the core of Nick Clegg’s message is the very powerful claim that his Liberal Democrats represent a new honesty and decency – in stark contrast to the corruption of the two main political parties. Yet this claim is cynical. The truth is that Clegg is the leader of a profoundly dishonest party that is prepared to lie, cheat and on occasion issue outrageous smears on its opponents in order to win power." – Peter Oborne in the Daily Mail

Benedict Brogan: The Tories have a fortnight to save themselves from disaster

"At one level, there is plenty of evidence to steady Tory nerves. Across the country, canvassers report a collapse in Labour support. Voters motivated by a fierce desire to get rid of Mr Brown and his party are switching straight to the Tories. One of the untold stories of this campaign is that the Government is heading for a calamitous defeat, at least in terms of share of the vote. Labour marginals way down the scale are suddenly in reach… However, in Lib Dem marginals, and in vulnerable Tory seats, the story is different. Last week, a poll for The Daily Telegraph found a swing away from the Conservatives in the Lib Dem seats they need to win." – Benedict Brogan in the Daily Telegraph

Nick Herbert to attend gay rights march in Warsaw

HERBERT NICK NW "David Cameron is to dispatch the most senior gay member of his frontbench team to Poland to encourage the Tories' rightwing allies in the European parliament to abandon their homophobic views. In a move designed to defuse criticism in tonight's leaders' television debate that the Tories have allied themselves with extremists in the EU, Cameron has revealed that the shadow environment secretary, Nick Herbert, will attend a gay rights march in Warsaw in July. Cameron told the Guardian that Herbert's trip to Poland is designed to persuade the highly conservative Law and Justice party to embark on a "journey" to moderate its views on sexuality." – The Guardian

Cameron urged to sack MP who questioned age of consentThe Independent

The leaders prepare for tonight's leaders' debate

Leader debates logo "Gordon Brown, Nick Clegg and David Cameron are preparing to face each other in the Sky News Leaders' Debate in Bristol. It is the second of three historic television debates, with a focus on foreign affairs." – Sky News

"David Cameron will speak direct to the camera in tonight’s crucial second live television debate rather than try to address the studio audience, senior Conservative advisers have disclosed." – Daily Telegraph

"In last week's debate, Mr Cameron was over-scripted, cautious and lacking in passion. Tonight, let him stand up and be counted. The Clegg bandwagon must be halted, or on May 7 the party that most people voted for – according to current polls – will be the only one with no say in governing the country." – Telegraph editorial

"The overall strategy for Mr Cameron must involve two things. First, he must define what 'change' means. For example, he must tell viewers that a Conservative government will cap immigration, freeze council tax and provide drugs to cancer care sufferers from day one. Second, he must contrast his positive vision with the danger of a hung parliament that won't deliver anything quickly." – Tim Montgomerie's advice for David Cameron in The Independent

Today's YouGov daily tracker poll The Sun | Last night's ToryDiary

Tories attack Labour for the "legal shambles" that could see paedophiles removed from the sex offenders' register

"Sex attackers could soon wander Britain’s streets un­­checked after two convicted paedophiles yesterday won the right to challenge their inclusion on the sex offenders’ register – because it breaches their human rights… Last night the Conservatives blamed the Government for creating a legal shambles. Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling said: “It beggars belief that ministers have managed to get themselves into this position.” – Daily Express

I can't promise not to cut police, says Alan JohnsonDaily Telegraph

Liam Fox warns of the potential indirect electoral consequences of the travel chaos caused by the volcano 

"Dr Jesme Fox, the wife of Liam Fox the shadow defence secretary, is also stranded in Hong Kong and has been told to wait until May 11 to get a flight – five days after the election. Mr Fox said: "She's very worried that she might not be able to vote in the general election, and frustrated at not being able to get home. We are talking potentially about 100-200,000 UK citizens. This is now potentially an electoral as well as a humanitarian problem."- Daily Telegraph

Stanley Johnson among those rescued by HMS AlbionBBC

The Times carries a ringing endorsement of Oliver Letwin

LETWIN OLIVER NW "Oliver Letwin understood earlier than most in his party the need to recast Conservatism for a modern age. He also grasped, before many of his fellow MPs did, the need to raise the intellectual pitch of political discourse… But what marks him out in Westminster every bit as much as the rigour he brings to crafting policy are his courtesy and urbanity. Here, too, he was running ahead of the pack, having never succumbed to Westminster’s Punch and Judy politics." – Times editorial

Steve Richards: Brown looks ever more like King Lear

"Now Brown is like King Lear wandering from place to place with his entourage, having been removed from the centre that he once ruled. The dynamics of the election campaign echo those that shaped his most recent months as Prime Minister, when cabinet ministers became more assertive and he had no choice but to obey. Brown was more powerful and influential when he was Chancellor, in terms of running the country and in determining the course of election campaigns." – Steve Richards in The Independent

Tim Bale: How the electorate has been getting more volatile

"Changes of government in the 1960s saw about 15 per cent of people switch, rising to 20 per cent in the 1970s and 25 per cent in 1997 – a figure repeated, incidentally, in 2005. People seem increasingly likely to switch during elections as they do between them: estimates gleaned from polling over the past three elections suggest that about a third of all voters “churn” between the parties during the campaign." – Dr Tim Bale in the FT

And finally… William Hague is mistaken on the campaign trail for a Labour MP

Picture 4 "William Hague, on a campaign shopping jaunt to Kent, was yesterday mistaken for bald Labour MP Jonathan Shaw. We were upstairs in Chatham’s Asda, between the frocks and the romantic novels, having just inspected the bakery and chemist’s counter by way of the fruit juices. Life is full of fascinations. Chatham voter Kevin Connell spotted Mr Hague hurtling down the alley, accompanied by TV crews, Asda executives and one yawning sketchwriter. ‘Mr Shaw!’ cried Kevin in greeting. Mr Hague ignored him. ‘Mr Shaw!’ tried Kevin once more. Mr Hague’s fixed grin weakened an eighth of an inch. Some may regard the incident as regrettable bald-ism, for the one thing Messrs Hague and Shaw have in common is that they are short on top." – Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail


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