1.55am Seats and Candidates: Labour hold Oldham East and Saddleworth with 3,558 majority

11.45pm Seats and Candidates: Live blog on the Oldham East and Saddleworth result

8pm Seats and Candidates: A by-election is now likely in Leicester South

6pm Philip Booth on Comment: Scrapping the "default retirement age" is another nail in the coffin of freedom of contract

5pm Hind Essoussi on Comment reports on how protesting LSE students interrupted an event with Jeremy Hunt last night

3.15pm Election Review: Daniel Finkelstein isn't doing justice to criticisms of the Tory election campaign

2pm WATCH: The BBC's James Landale explains how delaying tactics by Labour peers may stop AV referendum taking place on May 5th

Telegraph12.30pm Parliament: Sir George Young condemns Telegraph sting against Lib Dem ministers as the Press Complaints Commission starts an investigation

10.45am LISTEN: Employment minister Ed Davey explains why the end of the compulsory retirement age will boost jobs

Andrew Lansley 2010ToryDiary: Andrew Lansley, secret radical – and the risks and opportunities of his healthcare revolution (Part One)


Parliament: Martin Vickers calls for the Boundary Commission to be given more flexibility in redrawing the electoral map

Local Government:

Gazette: Aidan Burley appointed PPS to Philip Hammond


The end of the default retirement age is confirmed…

"The Default Retirement Age (DRA) is to be phased out this year, the government has confirmed. It means employers will no longer be allowed to dismiss staff just because they have reached the age of 65. The Department for Business said that as well as benefiting individuals, "the freedom to work for longer will provide a boost to the UK economy". – BBC

…as the Government publishes its Pensions Bill

"Prudent savers face significant cuts in their pensions because government reforms will lead employers to reduce contributions to their retirement funds, experts said yesterday. Ministers will publish their Pensions Bill today, setting out plans automatically to enrol all employees into a retirement scheme. The Coalition believes that the auto-enrolment plan will mean that millions of people with no pension provision will start a fund for their retirement. Many of these are on lower incomes." – Daily Telegraph

First three jails to shut as Kenneth Clarke defies Tory critics of ‘soft on crime’ policy

Ken Clarke square "Three jails are to shut in the first prison closure programme since the Second World War, The Times can reveal. The action signals the determination of Kenneth Clarke, the Justice Secretary, to press ahead with his controversial policy of reducing the prison population by thousands. Further closures are expected to follow if the Government’s sentencing reforms lead to a reduction in the number of criminals sent to prison." – The Times (£)

Lord Adonis rejects Coalition job offer

"David Cameron has made his most audacious attempt so far to bring former New Labour ministers into his “big tent” government by inviting Lord Adonis to become a coalition adviser on energy. The prime minister authorised plans to recruit the former transport secretary, who was also a Downing Street policy chief and one of the Labour government’s key thinkers. However, Lord Adonis has turned down an approach by Chris Huhne, the Liberal Democrat energy secretary, to chair an independent review of fuel poverty." – FT (£)

Voting is underway in the Oldham East and Saddleworth by-electionBBC

Kashif Ali campaign pic "The Oldham East & Saddleworth by-election descended into acrimony last night as Labour accused the Liberal Democrats of launching personal attacks on their candidate in a last ditch attempt to win the seat." – The Independent

"Phil Woolas, the sacked Labour MP, has infuriated sections of his party by claiming that it will storm to victory in today’s by-election in his old constituency because residents are angry about what happened to him." – The Times (£)

"Opinion polls over the weekend suggested that Labour would comfortably win tonight. But a succession of high-profile Labour and Lib Dem figures insisted that the result would be close. The two parties believe that the Tories, who came a respectable third in the general election, will struggle. Kashif Ali, the Tory candidate, has run an energetic campaign, but has received token support from the cabinet." – The Guardian

If you are able to help get the vote out for Kashif Ali today in person or on the phone, please email the campaign or call 07506 028382 or 07939 622561.

There is a GOTV telephone operation being run from CCHQ in London. Email John Moss to volunteer.

There is also a GOTV telephone operation being run from Coleshill. Again, please email to volunteer.

> Click here for all ConHome's coverage of the by-election

Michael Gove exposes the sham of rising GCSE results

Michael Gove happy "In each of the past 23 years, the pass rate in GCSEs has risen; last year's results showed that almost seven out of 10 papers were awarded a Grade C or better. The reality behind this apparently dazzling educational success story was exposed yesterday when, for the first time, league tables were published showing attainment levels in serious subjects… The results confirm what many have suspected for years – that schools have been cynically playing the system by encouraging pupils to take non-academic subjects in order to inflate their results artificially and improve the school's standing in the league tables… Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, who took the brave decision to publish the new data, rightly laid responsibility at the door of the last government." – Daily Telegraph

> Yesterday on ConHome:

Cameron threat to toughen up laws on strike ballots

"David Cameron is threatening to tear up strike laws to prevent militant trade unions holding Britain to ransom. The Prime Minister said yesterday he was considering legislation to set a higher bar before walkouts can be declared lawful. Mr Cameron told MPs that the co-ordinated waves of strikes being threatened by union leaders should not be allowed to go ahead without the backing of a real majority of members." – Daily Mail

Ministers will stress parental responsibility in child support reforms

"Ministers are proposing an overhaul of the current system of child support, saying it too often "drives a wedge" between parents and their offspring. They say more separating couples should be helped to find a settlement on their own in the interests of the child." – BBC

Clegg: People still tell me I'm doing a good job… but they whisper it

"Confronting his stinging poll unpopularity head-on in his most open interview yet, the Deputy PM admits it is no longer "fashionable" to say "I agree with Nick". But the Lib Dem leader believes many Brits still "quietly" back the Coalition stand he has taken with the Tories." – The Sun

Allegra Stratton: David Cameron is riding high but one day he'll need the Tory backbenchers – and they might not be there for him

"Already we have seen a slew of small Tory rebellions. One on Europe this week attracted attention… A bigger problem for Tory management is the move to give the vote to prisoners serving sentences of less than four years. The government says it has been forced by the European court of human rights to do this. But the backbenches don't care why. What chance of being reselected after the boundary changes due in three years, they ask, if they're an MP who voted to give muggers and sex offenders the vote?" – Allegra Stratton in The Guardian

Miliband to admit Labour government mishandled economy

Ed Miliband 2010 "Ed Miliband will admit that the last Labour Government was too slow to use the "language of cuts" as he steps up his efforts to re-establish the party's economic credentials. The Labour leader will also acknowledge that the Brown and Blair governments were wrong to allow the City of London to enjoy "light tough" regulation and to let the economy become too dependent on financial services." – The Independent

"The shift in strategy was agreed by a shadow cabinet meeting on Tuesday that also enthusiastically endorsed his decision to insist that the deficit was not caused by chronic Labour overspending, but by a global financial crisis that resulted in recession and a calamitous collapse in tax revenues." – The Guardian

The Sun launches "a war on fuel prices"

"Pressure was mounting last night on Chancellor George Osborne as The Sun launched a war on fuel prices. We started a campaign and petition as it emerged Britons are forking out £12million more a day to fill up than a year ago. The extra cost is hitting hard-pressed families, stoking inflation by raising transportation costs and threatening to put the brakes on the UK's economic recovery." – The Sun

Britain must help us save the euro, warns French PM

"France will urge Britain today to back deeper European integration in order to save the euro, or face catastrophe for its own economy if the currency fails. François Fillon, the Prime Minister, told The Times that he is taking his message to David Cameron at talks in London that come after a day of respite for the embattled currency." – The Times (£)

Other political news in brief:

  • Bank to keep interest rates on hold despite rising inflation – Reuters
  • Police investigating Nadine Dorries' expenses – Daily Mirror
  • Tony Blair recalled to Iraq Inquiry next week – The Independent
  • Eric Illsley confirms he will quit Parliament, triggering a by-election – BBC

David Blunkett: Ministers who relax controls on terror suspects put rights of those who hate this country above those of the British peopleDaily Mail

And finally… Prince William lobbied Cameron over RAF cuts

"Prince William has been lobbying against Government defence cuts, David Cameron revealed yesterday. The second-in-line to the throne is angry at plans to close four air-sea rescue bases next year in a move designed to save millions of pounds. The 28-year-old buttonholed the Prime Minister in Zurich last month, where the pair were backing England’s bid to host the World Cup in 2018." – Daily Mail

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