Stephan Shakespeare 10.15pm The Shakespeare Report: Can we expect a different swing in the marginals?

10pm ToryDiary update: Tory lead at 5% in ComRes poll and 8% in YouGov poll

9.30pm David T Breaker on CentreRight on the Conservative manifesto: "In the pages of this unassuming book, bound in deepest blue, are what
are I believe to be the most radical blueprints for reform ever
published by a major political party"

8.30pm Tea with Pickles: Today we published a serious manifesto for serious times

8pm ToryDiary: Tory lead at 10% and 3% in first two polls of the evening

7.45pm ToryDiary: Ten (male) pundits react to the Tory manifesto

7.30pm Ben Rogers on CentreRight: We're all in this together – at home and abroad

7.15pm Seats and Candidates update: UKIP deputy leader gets confused about the party's plans not to challenge certain MPs

Picture 426.30pm WATCH: Chris Grayling is interviewed by Adam Boulton at Battersea Power Station after the Conservative manifesto launch

6.15pm Martin Parsons on CentreRight: Two Labour ministers caught 'red handed' using parliamentary expenses for party political campaigning

5.30pm Platform update: Ronald Stewart-Brown responds to comments about his piece on Sunday baout UKIP and the European Union

4.15pm WATCH: In a BBC report on UKIP's manifesto launch, its leader Lord Pearson admits he gets "completely lost with the squillions and the billions and the trillions" of public spending

4pm Local government: Tory manifesto pledges to pass power down to Town Halls.

3.45pm Parliament: Post-election parliamentary schedule finalised

2.15pm Election gallery: Photographs from the manifesto launch

Picture 62pm WATCH: Launching the Conservative manifesto, David Cameron says that people working together can change Britain for the better

1.45pm ToryDiary: This is not so much a Tory manifesto as a Californian manifesto

1.30pm ToryDiary update: Brown pledge on legal aid for charged ex-MPs "a hollow promise" he has no power to deliver

1.15pm Seats and Candidates update: Full list of Conservative candidates for whom UKIP will actively campaign

12.45pm Nick Wood's High Noon: David Cameron's vision of a Big Society is a genuinely radical idea which is in tune with Tory traditions

12.30pm WATCH: In a new WebCameron video, David Cameron highlights examples of the millions of people he wants to see getting involved and "joining the government of Britain" 

Picture 36
12.15pm ToryDiary: The Conservative manifesto has been launched (includes link to download the document)

10.45am Julia Manning on CentreRight: The Tories have moved from 'giving us a hand-up' to 'enabling us to step-up'

10.30am ToryDiary update: Brown says he thinks charged expenses MPs will have to pay back their legal aid

10.15am Local government:

10am Seats and Candidates: UKIP will actively campaign for the re-election of six Conservative MPs and one Labour MP


Nigel Jones on Platform: How the Tory leadership could emulate Stanley Baldwin in sugaring the austerity pill

LeftWatch: Labour MP splutters and stumbles as he struggles to justify Gordon Brown's gold sell-off

Local Government:

Graeme Archer on CentreRight: Someone else's sigh

WATCH: Conservative candidate Gavin Barwell makes his pitch to the people of Croydon Central

David Cameron: Individuals and families will turn the country round – not politicians or bureaucrats

David Cameron speaking blue 2010 "I don’t want to win the election for my sake, so that I can sit in the driving seat of power in Downing Street. I want to win the election for your sake — to put you in the driving seat, so you have the power to take the decisions that affect the life of your family and your community. This is the philosophy that underpins everything we have done for the past five years since I became leader of my party, and it underscores everything I want us to achieve over the next five years. " – David Cameron writing in The Times

Labour's manifesto reveals the scale of its failure

"This is a threadbare manifesto. Governments of such long duration never find it easy to reinvent themselves so as to appear fresh and energised to a jaded electorate… The trustworthiness of the document, particularly on tax, must also be in doubt. In the 2001 general election, Labour promised no increase in income tax rates – so pushed through a big increase in National Insurance instead. In 2005, that same pledge was repeated and this time Labour did not even go through the pretence of sticking to it… Mr Brown insisted yesterday that his party is "in the future business". The reality is that Labour's future is behind it." – Daily Telegraph editorial

"Mr Brown desperately tried to justify Labour's decision to hold the manifesto launch in a hospital. Cabinet Office rules make clear that "election meetings should not be permitted on NHS premises". But the PM said the new building will not be handed to the NHS for several weeks. Shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley accused him of "exploiting a loophole". – Trevor Kavanagh in The Sun

Tories spell out Labour's broken pledgesDaily Express

> Yesterday's LeftWatch posts:

Rachel Sylvester: A clear divide is opening up between the parties

Picture 6 "A genuine ideological divide is opening up between Gordon Brown and David Cameron over the role of the State. Yesterday Labour published its manifesto called A Future Fair for All. On the front is a picture that looks like a Maoist propaganda poster. Inside, the clearest message is that government is best placed to create the level playing field that the party desires… By contrast, David Cameron’s defining belief is that individuals are better than the Government at running their own lives. He wants to promote “people power” and his favourite catchphrase is that “there is such a thing as society, it’s just not the same as the State”. – Rachel Sylvester in The Times

Polls still point to David Cameron becoming Prime Minister

"Voters expect David Cameron to win the election, even though many are unenthusiastic about the prospect, according to today's Guardian/ICM poll. Asked, regardless of personal preference, who they expect to be in No 10 after the election, 58% say Cameron against only 28% who say Gordon Brown will still be in power." – The Guardian

"His [David Cameron's] attempt to outflank Labour came as a ComRes poll for The Independent and ITV News reveals that the Tories are winning the battle for public support over their decision to reverse the rise in National Insurance contributions (NICs) due to take effect in April next year. However, the survey suggests Mr Cameron is not yet heading for outright victory. The Tories are on 37 per cent (down two points since the last ComRes poll for The Independent on Sunday), Labour 30 per cent (down two) and the Liberal Democrats on 20 per cent (up four)." – The Independent

YouGov's daily tracker The Sun

Latest poll of London voters suggests 12 Tory gains in the capital – Yesterday's Evening Standard

New polling analysis points to Tory overall majorityPoliticsHome

> Last night's ToryDiary thread on the polls

> Stephan Shakespeare: What to make of a 6% poll lead?

New seat of Sunderland Central is Tory "wild card"

Lee Martin 2 "Sunderland's appearance in the marginal battleground, albeit at the outer edge, is intriguing for a place long pigeonholed as solid Labour and hitherto regarded as interesting only for its obsession with being first to declare its result in each general election. That administrative triumph is reckoned to be safe on 6 May, but things are not so certain in the city's new Central seat, where the Conservative challenge has substance as well as spin. Boundary changes began the makings of a blue centre in a red doughnut. It's a very outside chance – David Cameron calls the seat his "wild card" and there is no sign of Ashcroft money – but one with other sources of momentum. Unusually in the north-east, the city has a residual "Tory workers" tradition which has been revived in Lee Martin, the party's challenger this time." – The Guardian

> Seats and Candidates: Coverage of Lee Martin's campaign in Sunderland Central

Tory plan on foreign workers under fire

"The Conservatives came under fire on Monday night from business for the first time in the election campaign. On the eve of the party manifesto launch, London First, the City lobby group that represents many of London’s biggest companies and banks, warned that Tory plans to curb economic migrants threatened Britain’s position as a global commercial centre." – FT

Expenses scandal MPs get legal aid

"Outrage greeted the news yesterday that taxpayers face a £1million legal bill for three Labour MPs accused of cheating their expenses. The Tories said it was a “slap in the face to every decent Briton”. David Chaytor, Elliot Morley and Jim Devine were granted legal aid to fight their case, having already hired some of the best – and most ­expensive – lawyers in the country." – Daily Express

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Tories pledge that they would stop MPs facing charges over expenses from accessing legal aid

Inquiry is launched into Labour's "cancer" postcards…

Liam Fox Daily Politics "Allegations that Labour has 'cynically' targeted cancer sufferers with an election leaflet are being investigated by the Information Commissioner, Christopher Graham. The Commissioner's office said it had called Labour officials to find out the facts after protests were reported by cancer patients who received Labour election postcards warning them that the Tories would cut cancer services if David Cameron won power on 6 May… Shadow Cabinet Minister Liam Fox said Labour should be "ashamed of themselves" for peddling "the politics of fear". – The Independent

… as doctors revolt over Labour's poll stunt to enlist them

"Doctors are outraged after Labour's botched attempt to enlist them in an election stunt. The party was caught out approaching senior clinicians and other health staff – via their personal NHS addresses – asking them to sign a letter in support of Labour's health policy." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's LeftWatch post on both those stories

My son's death almost made me quit politics, reveals tearful David Cameron

"In an emotional interview for ITV's Tonight show, he said the loss of six-year-old Ivan, who was born with a rare condition which caused epilepsy, was 'very tough' and made him question the future. 'To start with I thought, to hell with everything,' said Mr Cameron. 'You do, it's just such a shock you can't really come to terms with it to start with'." – Daily Mail

> WATCH: David Cameron talks to the Tonight Programme about the loss of his son Ivan

Nick Clegg walks into Jeremy Paxman’s den

"Nick Clegg is a man who will do almost anything. Last night he went where other party leaders have so far feared to tread, by submitting himself to half an hour with Jeremy Paxman. Gordon Brown and David Cameron have failed to respond to invitations from the BBC, issued months ago, to take part in half-hour interviews with Paxman in the run-up to the election." – The Times

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: David Cameron should say no to Jeremy Paxman

EPP leaders in Brussels claim Tories will be seeking a returnThe Independent

And finally… Privatisation reaches Cuba's barber shops and hair salons

Picture 7 "Cuba is turning over hundreds of state-run barber shops and beauty salons to employees in what may be the start of a long-expected privatisation drive. All barbers and hairdressers in shops with three seats or fewer will be allowed to rent the space and pay taxes instead of getting a monthly wage. The retail sector has long been derided for poor service and rampant theft. The country's former President, Fidel Castro, nationalised all small businesses in 1968. Now his younger brother and successor Raul Castro is trying to modernise the system without jumping to full-scale capitalism." – BBC


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