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11.15pm The Shakespeare Report: The value of daily polling is we can pick up trends more quickly

6a00d83451b31c69e20120a7b9bb99970b-800wi 11pm Seats and candidates: Please help raise £1,000 to make Philip Milton the next MP for North Devon

10.15pm ToryDiary: Cameron says richest public sector worker should not get paid more than twenty times poorest public sector worker

10pm ToryDiary: Tory lead up to 9% in YouGov/Sun tracker

8.30pm WATCH: Who is Nick Clegg? An ITN profile.

7.45pm Tea with Pickles: Labour look and sound rattled

6.15pm Parliament: MPs line up to say goodbye to John Bercow as Parliament is prorogued

Picture 304.15pm WATCH: Martin Bell calls on voters to back Independent candidates at the election

4pm ToryDiary update: Another thirteen business leaders back the Tories on National Insurance

3.45pm Matthew Sinclair on CentreRight announces the launch of the TaxPayers' Alliance Debt Clock

3.30pm LeftWatch: Labour has given Unite's Charlie Whelan a parliamentary pass

2pm WATCH Two videos from this morning's Conservative press conference:

1pm Seats and Candidates: No more Tory MPs expected to retire

12.45pm Lee Rotherham on CentreRight excavates a piece of treasure from political archive

Picture 29 'High Noon', Nick Wood's daily look at the General Election campaign: Brown is in a hole on National Insurance and is still digging

11.30am ToryDiary update: David Cameron explains how the National Citizen Service would work – with the support of Sir Michael Caine

ToryDiary: Conservatives to put plans for National Citizen Service centre stage

Tim Montgomerie on Platform: Cameron is more of a Thatcher than a Heath

LeftWatch:

Seats and Candidates:

Parliament: Michael Ancram focuses on our obligations to the next generation in final Commons speech

Local Government:

Take a look at ConservativeHome's Election Gallery and email us your own photos

WATCH: The BBC's Rory Cellan-Jones reports on how the parties are using the internet during the election campaign

More business leaders back Cameron over national insurance

Picture 15 "Furious business leaders last night savaged Gordon Brown as "economically illiterate" over his plans to increase National Insurance payments. The onslaught came after the PM claimed top bosses had been "deceived" into backing the Tories' call to axe the 1p hike. Another 30 leading executives then joined Tory leader David Cameron's campaign against the increase as Labour's relations with business sank to an all-time low." – The Sun

"David Cameron’s move to put his £5.6bn plan to cut Labour’s proposed “jobs tax” at the centre of his election campaign was boosted on Wednesday by a new wave of business support… The Tories seized on a surge of corporate support for its policy of partly reversing Labour’s plan to raise national insurance in 2011 as evidence that the business backing enjoyed by New Labour for 13 years in power was now swinging decisively their way." – FT

"Gordon Brown has been accused of “waging a war against business” after he claimed that the senior executives backing the Conservatives’ National Insurance plans had been “deceived”. The Prime Minister faced angry criticism from the bosses of some of Britain’s biggest companies after suggesting that they had fallen victim to Tory deceit over proposals to scrap the bulk of Labour’s planned tax rise and pay for it by cutting government waste." – Daily Telegraph

Labour launches fightback over NI increasesThe Guardian

Labour will pledge to freeze income tax at 20pReuters

Simon Wolfson: No, Gordon Brown, we have not been deceived

Simon Wolfson "For the Prime Minister I have words of comfort: do not worry, your captains of industry have not been deceived. Nor do we blindly accept the words of your opponents that they have all the answers today. However, we are convinced that efficiency savings are possible and we are encouraged that the Opposition is determined to try to implement them rather than impose yet another damaging tax increase." – Next chief executive Simon Wolfson in The Times

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Another thirty senior business leaders back the Conservatives on national insurance

> Yesterday's video: Gordon Brown repeats on GMTV his claim that people have been "deceived" by the Tories into opposing the rise in national insurance

Polls still showing a Tory lead – though many voters remain undecided

"The poll, carried out on Tuesday and yesterday, puts the Tories on 39 per cent, against 32 per cent for Labour and 21 per cent for the Liberal Democrats… Roughly a third of voters are either undecided or say they may yet change their minds. Two fifths of voters believe that while it is time for a change from Labour they are not sure that it is time for a change in favour of the Tories." – The Times

YouGov's daily tracker pollThe Sun

> Last night's ToryDiary: Tory lead at 11%, 7% and 5% in latest polls

> Stephan Shakespeare: In order for people to vote for change, they must either (a) really dislike what they already have, or (b) really love the new offer

David Cameron says abortion limit should be lowered

David Cameron 2010 open neck serious "David Cameron has called for the abortion limit to be lowered in a pre-election interview with a Roman Catholic newspaper. David Cameron has pledged to review Britain’s abortion laws and stop assisted suicide in moves designed to place religious issues at the forefront of the Conservative election campaign. The Conservative leader said that he would personally favour reducing the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 or 22 weeks." – Daily Telegraph

Brown heckled by furious father over school places for his children

"Gordon Brown found himself face to face with parental anger about the state of schools yesterday. As he left the Centrepoint building in central London, he was heckled by 31-year-old company director Ben Butterworth. 'Gordon, can you tell me why my children can't get into any of the state schools of our choice in our area….hello Gordon!' he called out… It was in stark contrast to Mr Brown's rose-tinted first day of campaigning, when Labour Party minders were accused of surrounding him with a 'rent-a-mob' hand-picked crowd of the Labour faithful who cheered as he boarded a train at St Pancras Station." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's LeftWatch: Gordon Brown's desire to meet "real people" proven to be a sham as he ignores ordinary voter with education concerns outside campaign event in London

Amanda Platell: Have "Cameron's Cuties" really got what it takes to transform politics?

Picture 16
"As a study of female ambition it's worthy of a Vanity Fair picture spread: the Tories proudly parading their latest clutch of female candidates in a glossy photoshoot. These are Dave's Dolls, the real women he's promoted and, in some cases, selected, to fight and win safe Conservative seats in the General Election. And what a fascinating bunch they are. No twin sets and pearls here. Some blue blood, but not a blue rinse in sight, they are his new fighting force; the secret weapon with which he believes he will win the war." – Daily Mail

> Last summer in Seats and Candidates: ConservativeHome research highlights the likely surge in female Tory MPs at the next election

Labour's betrayal of British workers: Nearly every one of 1.67m jobs created since 1997 has gone to a foreigner

"Immigration was at the centre of the election campaign today as it emerged that virtually every extra job created under Labour has gone to a foreign worker. Figures suggested an extraordinary 98.5 per cent of 1.67million new posts were taken by immigrants… Damian Green said the official figures were 'the final proof that Gordon Brown was misleading the public when he promised British jobs for British workers'. He added: 'Instead he has presided over boom and bust and left British workers in a worse position than when he took office 13 years ago'." – Daily Mail

Where the Mail's cover story came from – Fraser Nelson on Coffee House

Parties unveil plans to clean up politics following expenses scandal

"Almost a year after Westminster was convulsed by the expenses crisis, the political parties are vying to take the toughest line on dealing with corrupt MPs. Their rival visions for overhauling the political system in the face of widespread public disillusionment and hostility were thrust yesterday to the centre of the election campaign. The Conservatives announced that their manifesto, to be published next Tuesday, would include a promise to give the public the right to "recall" MPs found guilty of fraud or misconduct and to slash the size of the Commons." – The Independent

Gordon Brown's constitutional reform speech paves way for Lib Dems agreementDaily Mirror

> Yesterday's video: Gordon Brown promises "the most comprehensive programme of constitutional reform in this country in a century" 

Benedict Brogan highlights Antony Calvert's campaign to oust Ed Balls in Morley and Outwood

Antony Calvert 2 "Mr Calvert is a Tory, but his pitch is local – he was born and raised there – and is aligned with the thriving tradition of Morley Borough Independents, so much so that a prominent one came out of retirement to back his campaign. His candidacy is part of a wider movement to seize the council from Labour. His fundraising video evoking the defeat of Michael Portillo has been an unlikely hit. His tone is authentic, and has helped him tap into local resentments against Mr Balls. When he introduces himself at Labour doors, he is invited in for a cup of tea. The bookies predict an upset." – Daily Telegraph

> Seats and Candidates: Antony Calvert launches new fundraising website in his bid to give Ed Balls a "Portillo moment"

Sex education and primary curriculum reforms abandoned

"Plans to introduce statutory sex education and a new primary curriculum were abandoned today after the Tories blocked Labour's latest education reforms in the rush to pass the last remaining bills before parliament is officially dissolved." – The Guardian

> Yesterday in Parliament: Parents will retain the right to withdraw children from sex education after Tories block key aspects of Ed Ball's education bill

Michael Brown: Candidates who say they like elections are definitely lying

Michael Brown 2009 "At first I kidded myself – justifiably in 1979 – that the more constituents saw of me the more votes I would garner. In subsequent elections I did everything to skive: late starts, early and long lunches. I prayed for rain to stop play, and claimed (rightly) that I would lose more votes if I knocked during the TV soaps. So long as the swing was in my party's favour I'd have done as well if I'd gone abroad." – Michael Brown in The Independent

Cameron puts vanity before safety on helmet-free cycle to workDaily Mail

> Yesterday's video: Sky News catches David Cameron cycling without his helmet

Aircraft donors give David Cameron flying start to election campaignThe Times

Tory adviser's firm stands to benefit from cutsThe Guardian

Ministers accused of stitch-up over digital economy bill BBC

Clegg struggles to be heard above noise of coalition rumours The Times

And finally… a great billboard site yards from the office of Pudsey Labour Party

Picture 11

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97 comments for: Thursday 8th April 2010

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