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10.15pm 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

10pm ToryDiary update: Tory lead is 5% in YouGov daily tracker

9.30pm Seats and Candidates: David Cameron visited Bolton and Cardiff today

9pm Seats and candidates: Let's raise £1,000 for Mark Coote in Cheltenham

8.30pm ToryDiary update: Tory lead is 7% in latest Populus poll

Eric Pickles 2 20107.15pm Eric Pickles: Whatever the polls are saying during the campaign, the election will be won on the doorsteps of this country

6.45pm LeftWatch update: WATCH THE VIDEO of Gordon
Brown's ignoring a parent's concerns about education outside campaign event in London

6.30pm ToryDiary: Tory lead remains 11% with Angus Reid

6pm 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

5.30pm WATCH:

4.15pm Send us interesting photographs for our election gallery

4pm Parliament update: Parents will retain the right to withdraw children from sex education after Tories block key aspects of Ed Ball's education bill

Picture 263.15pm WATCH: Sky News' highlights of today's exchanges at PMQs

3pm Seats and Candidates: The Voluntary Party's tour of marginals hits Warwickshire

2.15pm ToryDiary: Another thirty senior business leaders back the Conservatives on national insurance

1.30pm WATCH: Sky News catches David Cameron cycling without his helmet 

12.30pm ToryDiary: David Cameron probes Brown about army
helicopters, raiding pension funds and the national insurance rise in
the final PMQs of this Parliament

'High Noon', Nick Wood's daily look at the General Election campaign: Gordon Brown's mutinous Cabinet colleagues have to be wheeled out like a parade of the Politburo to take some of the heat off the liability that is their leader

11.15am ToryDiary update: The Conservatives unveil details of the procedure by which MPs guilty of misconduct could be recalled

Picture 2110.30am WATCH: Gordon Brown repeats on GMTV his claim that people have been "deceived" by the Tories into opposing the rise in national insurance

ToryDiary:

Bernard Jenkin MP on Platform: Can the UK afford to play a global defence role?

Parliament:

LeftWatch: Gordon Brown "bottles" next week's nuclear summit in Washington

Local Government:

WATCH: David Cameron talks to Sky News about how the "great ignored" have been punished by Labour

The starting gun has been fired: how the papers view the election

Picture 14
This election is a battle between hope and fear

"The general election campaign will be a “battle of hope and fear” as the Tories call for change and Labour warns against risking the recovery… David Cameron said the public had a choice between a “fresh start” under his leadership, offering the country a vision of “hope and optimism” rather than five more years under Mr Brown. The contrasting tone of the party leaders’ messages was used by George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, to set the scene for the fight ahead in the closest election campaign for almost 20 years. “Britain wants change but it’s going to be a big, hard-fought election,” said Mr Osborne." – Daily Telegraph

David Cameron: let's fight for the nation we love

DSC07249 "David Cameron yesterday pledged to fight for "the country we love" after Gordon Brown finally named election day as May 6… “It’s the most important General Election for a generation,” Mr Cameron told cheering supporters. “It comes down to this. You don’t have to put up with another five years of Gordon Brown. There is a modern Conservative alternative.” – Daily Express

"It's D-Dave"

"In a direct appeal to Sun readers, he said: "This is your moment for change. You can make it happen." Determined Mr Cameron declared the election battle to be between his "steel" and Gordon Brown's "rust". – The Sun

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Cameron launches Tory campaign, with Big Ben in the background, surrounded by PPCs and supporters

It's class war as Labour target's David Cameron's background

"The election campaign descended into class warfare last night just hours after Gordon Brown fired the starting gun. The Prime Minister spoke of his 'ordinary middle class' background while his Labour attack dogs launched spiteful assaults on David Cameron's privileged upbringing." – Daily Mail

The battle for Middle England

"Gordon Brown and David Cameron raced across Battleground Britain yesterday revealing starkly differing campaign styles as they vied for momentum and authenticity. They opened election hostilities by heading straight for the suburbs, towns and old industrial fringes that will decide the 2010 result, with the Prime Minister appealing directly to middle-class voters and Mr Cameron asking people to vote for “hope, optimism, change”. The Tory leader travelled to the heart of the country and the contest — Yorkshire and the Midlands, home to the largest concentration of marginal seats." – The Times

> Yesterday's ToryDiary: Rolling blog recording David Cameron's campaign visits 

Leader prepare for final PMQsBBC

Third batch of business leader back Tories on National Insurance

"A third group of business leaders has come out in favour of the Tories over proposed rises in National Insurance, Sky News can exclusively reveal. Peter Simon, the founder of fashion group Monsoon, is among the latest senior business figures to back the Conservatives' stance on the proposed increases, which are due to come into effect next year. Other members of the group include Bob Wigley, the former chairman of European operations for Merrill Lynch, Ocado chief executive Tim Steiner, and Nick Robertson, founder and chief executive of the successful dotcom retailer Asos." – Sky News

YouGov poll has Tory lead at 8% this morningThe Sun

> Last night's ToryDiary: Tories 8% ahead in Sun/YouGov tracker

> Stephan Shakespeare last night explains the three types of swing

Recession’s casualties are key battleground

"If there is one trait that marks out the constituencies forming this election’s main battleground, it is their emergence as some of the recession’s big losers. From Copeland in the north to Portsmouth in the south, the seats David Cameron must win to build a Conservative majority stand apart – both in their social make-up and their experience of economic hardship. So while Gordon Brown claims political credit for averting a depression, that message does not appear to have reached all of the inhabitants of the market town of Dudley, a crucible for the coming election." – FT

John Rentoul predicts a Tory victory

Rentoul John "The televised debates are going to be over-hyped, over-prepped and over-analysed and I bet they won't shift many votes. Yet something else might. Ask the Editor. Something else might disrupt my perfectly reasonable certainty, like Lehman Brothers going under or John Smith dying. So I'm not going to bet with any serious money, you understand. But put me down for a Cameron majority of 16 in the office sweepstake."- John Rentoul in the Independent

Daniel Finkelstein: Do you trust David Cameron? That’s the question for votersThe Times

Brown makes early overture to Lib Dems

"A far-reaching package of constitutional reforms which could form the basis of a deal between Labour and the Liberal Democrats if the general election results in a hung parliament will be announced by Gordon Brown today." – The Independent

Nick Clegg spearheads election strategy of 'northern offence, southern defence'The Guardian

And finally… Tony Blair decides now is the right time to go on safari

"Labour MPs facing the most difficult election of their careers are fuming that Tony Blair has booked a family holiday, believed to be a safari, to coincide with the start of the campaign. The former Prime Minister has told friends that he wants to spend time with his son Leo, who is now almost 10." – The Times

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