7.45pm LeftWatch: GILLIAN DUFFY BREAKS HER SILENCE:
2.45pm Election gallery: More spoofs of Labour's latest poster
12.45pm Sir Andrew Green on Platform: The cost of an amnesty for illegal immigrants would be astronomical
Noon Melanchton on CentreRight: "Labour is down, and its throat is exposed. Finish it."
BANK HOLIDAY YELLOW TO BLUE CAMPAIGN
As of 9am we have raised £705 of our £3,000 bank holiday target for Conservative candidates fighting Liberal Democrats. Please give what you can.
Tory lead at 1% at 6% in two overnight polls – ToryDiary
"Some Tories are asking themselves, "What can go wrong now?", but even that is a complacent question, since it assumes that things are going right enough. The truth is that they have to go a lot righter yet. The Tory recovery has to double its pace." – Charles Moore in The Telegraph
The 1983 election shows peril of splitting the anti-Tory vote – Andrew Grice in The Independent
Conservatives simplify message for final lap of election
"The Tory rank-and-file remains uneasy about the failure of Mr Cameron’s “big society” idea to win backing on the doorstep. Conservativehome, the activists’ website, attributed the Tory leader’s stronger performance on Thursday night – when he mentioned the “big society” just once in the 90-minute debate – to his tough rhetoric on immigration, the euro and welfare benefits. “I’m a big admirer of the big society as a governing philosophy, but it lacks bite on the campaign trail,” said Tim Montgomerie, editor of Conservativehome. “With the contract the Tories are finally setting out their key policies in a way that will resonate with voters … it’s good stuff.”" – FT
Conservatives and Liberal Democrats launch deeper raids into Labour territory
"Mr Brown vowed to “dig deeper” to avert a Labour election defeat, but his political opponents believe his campaign is collapsing and that Labour morale is close to breaking point. Mr Clegg, the Liberal Democrat leader, declared the election was a “two-horse race” with the Conservatives. Both he and the Tory leader went hunting for votes in traditional Labour strongholds in the Midlands." – FT
"David Cameron has warned the Conservative Party not to behave as if a general election victory is now "in the bag", after polls suggested the Tory leader had "won" the final of the three televised leaders' debates. He added that the Conservatives have six more days to "make the argument" that will win over the high number of electors who do not appear yet to have decided how they will vote. One of his staff admitted: "We don't feel that we have 'sealed the deal' with the voters yet."" – Belfast Telegraph
Clegg has said that the Liberal Democrats have supplanted Labour as the party of progressive politics – Telegraph
Hague hopes to win four seats in NE England
"We followed Mr Hague in former Labour strongholds Stockton South, Middlesbrough South & East Cleveland, Sunderland Central and Tynemouth. Before Labour's poll collapse, Tory chiefs only realistically hoped to take one. But all four are now expected to go from red to blue. Sunderland Central has a notional Labour majority of almost 8,000. But Tory candidate Lee Martin, 34, said: "Why should this have to be a Labour city? It isn't. The biggest challenge is persuading people we can win. Once we've established that credibility, we can do it. And I believe we will. People here have always been big on social mobility and getting on with hard work – and that's what our campaign is all about." – The Sun
Blair says a vote cast for Clegg is 'not serious' – Times
Clegg was wrong on immigration and the Euro
"In Thursday night's TV debate, the Liberal Democrat leader claimed 80 per cent of immigrants come from EU countries and therefore cannot be denied entry into Britain. However the real figure is less than 40 per cent. Mr Clegg, who appeared uneasy throughout much of the clash, also raised eyebrows by insisting: 'I am not advocating joining the euro. Yet he has repeatedly spoken in favour of euro entry over recent years and his election manifesto declares: 'We believe it is in Britain's longterm interest to join the euro.' The party's constitution, meanwhile, says: 'Within the European Community we affirm the values of federalism and integration and work for unity based on these principles.'" – Daily Mail
Mr Cameron was right to stay his hand on immigration – FT
Illegal immigrant is helping on the Hazel Blears re-election campaign – The Sun
Tories to bring all troops home from Afghanistan within eight years, says Cameron – Daily Mail
Tories urged to call in IMF for audit of UK’s debts if they win election – Telegraph
In The Telegraph, Simon Heffer backs a call to the IMF: "I cannot see, from the incoming government's point of view, what the downside to this course of action would be. The real culprits get the blame; the new tenants of Whitehall get the credit for clearing the mess up, but claim that, in terms of the painful strictures that have to be taken, their hands were tied. The recovery starts on day one. And if, possibly in short order, the new rulers have to fight another election, they would have a chance of winning it."
Western Mail: Who is David Cameron?
"Cameron’s political achievement, say his admirers, has been to ‘detoxify’ the Tory brand, hosing the anti-immigrant, EU-obsessed blotches away and earning the party the right to be heard again on things that voters care about, like schools, hospitals, the environment and the economic management of the country. But rivals, inside and outside the party, say that this is just a re-spray. Cameron himself says that he is “Conservative to the core of my being”. And there are those who believe his instincts, once in Number 10, will reveal themselves to be Thatcherite. To a great degree – Cleggmania and Bigot-gate notwithstanding – the election hinges on one crucial question: Has David Cameron fundamentally changed the Conservative Party?" – Western Mail
Alistair Darling has "absolutely no ambition" to be an interim Labour leader should Brown stand down – BBC
The marketing in this election has been spectacularly negative – Steve Henry in The Guardian
TV is still the kingmaker in British politics – Jon Snow in The Times
Bikers plan mass fuel protest outside Manchester – Express
> Matt Sinclair on CentreRight: "The protests in 2000 worked; the lorry drivers’ bold action led to an extremely valuable real terms fall in Fuel Duty. With the raw deal motorists are getting at the moment, it is hard to argue that new protests aren’t justified."
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