Midnight LeftWatch: Ed Miliband can't even win in Labour's old heartlands

9pm ToryDiary: The Tories' boom years in local government are over

4.30pm David Skelton on Comment: Elected mayors could make the North less reliant on Whitehall and Westminster for jobs and growth

2.15pm Simon McVicker on Comment: It’s time for the Government to stand up for the UK’s smallest businesses

ToryDiary: Write it out 100 times, Sir Ian Kennedy: Being an MP isn't a job and shouldn't be a job


Eric Pickles MP on Local government: FIVE reasons to vote Conservative today

Columnist Andrew Lilico: Vote Conservative because better is good enough

Alex Deane on Comment: Are you a Londoner? Make sure you vote for Boris – it will be closer than you think

Elizabeth Truss MP on Comment: Shared parental leave can be good for parents and for business

David Cameron and Nick Clegg are planning a joint appearance next week in what will be seen as a ‘renewal of vows’ as the Coalition enters its third yearDaily Mail

  • Cameron draws up a post-elections reshuffle, suggesting that Clarke, Spelman, Young, Gillan and Lansley might all be axed – Sun
  • In The Times (£), Anushka Asthana argues the Lib Dems have delivered "not inconsiderable achievements"

James Landale reports that legislation that may have been dropped from next week's Queen's Speech in order to make room for Lords ReformBBC

  • "Next week’s Queen’s Speech will commit the Government to “put before Parliament” proposals for an elected Senate. However, the wording falls far short of a promise to legislate, which is the usual template for the list of Government Bills announced by the Queen." – Times (£)

Cameron At LecturnDavid Cameron caused dismay among Conservatives yesterday by suggesting that they may not win outright victory at the next election

"During an interview, the Prime Minister referred to the choice between Labour and a “Conservative-led Government”. This prompted a swift clarification from Downing Street, which told the ConservativeHome website that Mr Cameron was still working for an outright majority in 2015. The Prime Minister was drawn on whether he would go into coalition with the UK Independence Party. “I don’t think that is what is going to happen. When it comes to the next election, do you want a Conservative-led Government or to go backwards with Labour or waste your vote on one of the other parties, that is the key question.” – Times (£)

"The Tories say they are braced for losses of 450 seats and Liberal Democrats for 350 as voters across Britain go to the polls: Labour says both parties are managing expectations and will not do as badly as they claim"FT (£)

Poll puts Boris Johnson ahead by six points in race for Mayor

Johnson Boris Pointing 2

"A final poll revealed the Mayor is six points ahead and preparing to deliver a 53:47 win, after an astonishing two in ten Labour voters rejected Ken Livingstone. As the capital goes to the ballot box, a YouGov survey for the Standard mirrored exactly the election result four years ago which gave Mr Johnson the keys to City Hall. One in ten Labour supporters who are certain to vote today said they would back him. The same number again said they would not vote for either of the main candidates. But if they all voted for Mr Livingstone he would win the race by 54 points to 46 points." – London Evening Standard

Cameron asks voters to give Boris four more yearsTelegraph

The FT inserts seven words into one of its leaders today to Back Boris – "Mr Johnson has the more sensible programme".

  • Dogged by the tax row, Livingstone has fallen behind Johnson in the personality stakes as London prepares to vote for its mayor – Guardian
  • London will be a better city if Ken Livingstone has another four years in charge – Steve Richards in The Independent

Nick de Bois MP highlights problem of illegal immigrants on the electoral register

Debois-nick"Fears of widespread vote rigging in today’s elections were raised after an MP discovered one in five migrants with no right to be here was on the electoral register. Nick de Bois cross-checked the names of constituents seeking his help to stay in the UK and found 21 out of a sample 100 had signed up for voting rights. The Tory backbencher is calling on ministers to tighten registration rules, claiming it is harder to get a library card than a ballot paper." – Express

City mayors could get a much bigger regional remit with powers over several councils

"In an interview with The Times (£), Mr Clark said that regional mayors “could happen” if neighbouring boroughs agreed to give a city mayor a larger base. Asked whether he would back plans for such mayors, Mr Clark said: “If people in an area make a united case next time round to embrace a mayor over a larger area, then of course that is something we would consider and want to facilitate.” This would mean that mayors could have powers over areas such as Greater Manchester and Greater Birmingham, covering ten or so authorities rather than just the city council."

  • A mayor in every city would bring dynamic leadership but the Government has let opponents of the idea make the running – Times leader (£)

Cameron's dilemma: to stand by Murdoch – or to desert himIndependent

"Nick Clegg waded into the political row over Rupert Murdoch’s fitness as a businessman on Wednesday when he said a parliamentary report left “very, very big question marks” about corporate governance of News Corp." – FT (£)

  • Peter Oborne, reflecting on the Murdoch saga, says Cameron is surrounded by "amoral strategists" – Telegraph
  • David Aaronovitch in The Times (£): "This newspaper is the best run and most collegiate of any media organisation that I’ve worked for, and I’ve worked for a few. Mr Murdoch, therefore, is eminently fit enough to run us. As for TV, Uncle Rupert, as none of us call him, bought a loss-making satellite operation in the 1980s and, against the background of derision and opposition, turned it into BSkyB. He believed in it, invested in it, made the losses and came through. Is he fit to run it? The question is almost ludicrous."

Screen Shot 2012-05-02 at 06.30.55Louise Mensch launches attack on sites after she is bombarded with abuse

"Louise Mensch, a member of the Commons culture, media and sport committee, was targeted with a stream of violent and sexist abuse on the social networking site Twitter after defending Rupert Murdoch on television." – Daily Mail

> Yesterday's Comment from Frank Manning: Why do Conservative women like Louise Mensch, Nadine Dorries and Margaret Thatcher receive such vitriolic abuse?

"David Cameron has been forced to abandon a long-promised probe into bravery medals. The Tories had pledged to investigate why more gongs for gallantry were not being awarded to our troops on the Afghan frontline."The Sun

‘The time has come for gay couples to marry’ – David Cameron reaffirms his commitment to same-sex marriagePinkNews

Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman says families should use bath water to flush toilets despite record rainSun

Germany should put aside the legacy of World War II and be more wiling to “deliver firepower” for NATO and the West, Philip Hammond has saidTelegraph

Cameron's party has a terrible image in the North, but there is surprisingly wide agreement with its policies – Ed Jacobs for The Guardian's Northerner blog

2,000 top civil servants may be 'avoiding' millions in tax by being paid through private companiesDaily Mail

Changes enacted last year to Working Tax Credits and implemented last month have had a shockingly disproportionate impact on already hard-pressed familiesTelegraph leader

Romney on FoxMitt Romney's aides unhappy at Cameron's lavish praise of Obama

"Romney’s advisers are said to have bitterly criticised the flattering tone of the Prime Minister’s toast to the president at a Washington banquet in March. Mr Cameron had described Obama as “someone with moral strength, with clear reason and with fundamental decency”. But a Romney adviser complained to a newspaper: “You don’t take sides in an election year.”" – Telegraph

The USA's Daily Beast looks at David Cameron's "Toff" problem

In the Daily Mail, Quentin Letts thinks the Class War stuff will hurt Labour in the end: "Mr Miliband also needs to park the class warfare. It may have taken some of the shine off the PM but it is taking Labour away from the centre ground, further to the Left, at a time when it needs to go in the other direction."

Ed Miliband "neither looks nor sounds" like a PM-in-waiting

Miliband Ed Hands Out

"Awkwardly, the test Miliband most consistently fails is that cursory inspection for signs of readiness as a prime minister-in-waiting. He neither looks nor sounds the part. His own media handlers know he cannot replicate the stagy charm of Blair or match Cameron’s Blairesque tribute act. The hope is that the new political era might feature a more generous view of candidates lacking conventional media showmanship." – Rafael Behr in the New Statesman

The Express urges the Coalition to crack down on health tourism

"New figures showing our NHS hospitals are owed at least £40million in outstanding fees are shocking, although they will probably not come as a massive surprise to anyone who has found themselves in a hospital waiting room lately. Even more staggering is the finding that the average unpaid debt is £230,000. This kind of expenditure on foreigners who have never paid into the kitty while healthcare is being vigorously rationed for Britons who have paid in is disgraceful." – Express

The English are remarkably ill-equipped to understand or engage with changes in Scotland and Wales that are driving the future of the union – Martin Kettle in The Guardian

Sir Mervyn King tells George Osborne: you must act now to tame the City; 'Vested interests' are trying to kill reforms, warns Governor of the Bank of EnglandIndependent

David Cameron has admitted to sticking posters of Cheryl Tiegs, a scantily-clad American model, and the bare-bottomed Athena tennis girl on his wall as a teenagerTelegraph

"The Prime Minister also spoke of his family’s struggle to deal with the death of his father in 2010. Mr Cameron was asked about the impact of the unexpected death of his father Ian two years ago on his mother Mary and the family. 'It was a very big shock to everybody, obviously, and to mum, because they were married for more than 46 years,' he said. 'I think mum still feels lonely. But the good thing is that she’s got lots of grandchildren. She’s a pretty active granny. If you want any support with childcare, you’ve got to book in pretty early.'" – Daily Mail


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