Press and public split on ‘debate’ result: commentators call it for Miliband as public back Cameron

CAMERON TV“The Prime Minister was forced to defend soaring immigration, putting up taxes and the number of people stuck on zero-hours contracts as he went first in a televised interview and audience Q&A. He was also made to squirm over the company he keeps, including seeing his chief spin doctor jailed and his friend Jeremy Clarkson fired form Top Gear. When Mr Miliband’s turn came, his mauling at the hands of Paxman was so bad that at the end of their bloody encounter, the veteran interviewer was heard asking him: ‘Are you OK Ed? Are you alright?’” – Daily Mail


  • Despite Cameron’s win, Labour will be happy with Ed’s performance – James Forsyth, Coffee House
  • Round one over, and we’re none the wiser – Tom Newton-Dunn, The Sun (£)
  • Four verdicts on the result… – Dan Hodges, Janet Daley, James Kirkup and Mary Riddell, Daily Telegraph
  • …and five more – Polly Toynbee, Matthew D’Ancona, Hugh Muir, Gaby Hinsliff and Aditya Chakrabortty, The Guardian
  • Cameron was defensive with a good case, Miliband aggressive with a poor one – The Times (£) editorial
  • Non-debate is a pathetic show for our ‘democracy’ – Matt Dathan, The Independent
  • Paxman has clearly missed this – Stuart Heritage, The Guardian


  • Miliband came over all Mr Muscle – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • The battle to Make Jeremy Happy – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)
  • You were doing so well, Dave, until the Shredded Wheat question – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • The night’s big winner was Paxman. Oh, how we miss him – Andy McSmith, The Independent

Why did Farage call it for Miliband?

“But we must ask ourselves why Mr Farage was so waxing lyrical over someone so far away on the political spectrum. Despite what everyone says, Ukip’s real targets are Tory voters. The better Miliband does, the worse it makes Cameron look. By arguing how well even someone like Miliband did compared to the Prime Minister, Farage will tempt those voters sceptical of Cameron over to the purple team. As William Hague said after the show, “Farage will say what’s best for Nigel Farage”.” – The Independent

  • UKIP’s angry, left behind voters are going nowhere – Matthew Goodwin, Daily Telegraph


May pledges that Tories will deport first, appeal later

MAY Warhol“Illegal immigrants would be put on a plane before they get the chance to appeal under Conservative plans to rip up deportation laws. Home Secretary Theresa May wants to implement a new regime of ‘deport first, appeal later’. The rules, to be brought in if the Tories are re-elected, would apply to anyone with an expired visa or those living in Britain without permission. The only exceptions would be asylum-seekers or migrants who could suffer ‘irreversible’ harm if sent back to a dangerous country.” – Daily Mail

Osborne rejected diplomatic advice to join China-led bank

“George Osborne overrode strong objections from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office when he made the decision to join China’s Asia Infrastructure Investment Bank, the Financial Times has learnt. Officials in China and the UK have told the FT that the chancellor rejected the concerns of British diplomats, who gave warning that the decision would alienate allies in Japan and the US. Mr Osborne only secured support for his stance by raising the issue at a meeting of the National Security Council, at which the prime minister gave his assent.” – Financial Times

Sour end to Parliament as plot against Speaker is routed

John Bercow“David Cameron has been humiliated after a plot to oust the Speaker backfired amid fury from senior Conservatives. Nearly two-dozen Tories voted against a “shabby plot” to undermine John Bercow by amending parliamentary rules to put his re-election to a secret ballot. Mr Bercow had tears in his eyes as Charles Walker, the Conservative chairman of the Procedure Committee, attacked his colleagues for “playing him for a fool” by keeping him in the dark about an attempt to drive through reforms in the dying hours of the Parliament that he had proposed months ago.” – Daily Telegraph


  • A secret ballot for the Speakership is just basic democracy – Hilary Rose, The Times (£)
  • The Speaker’s position is now untenable – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph


  • An honourable fool brings the House down – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)
  • Hysteria and tantrums as Bercow survives – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail
  • Walker’s eloquent rebuke to Hague’s valedictory skulduggery – Donald Macintyre, The Independent


Javid shows The Sun where he grew up

“A father of three himself now, the 46-year-old agreed to go back to the mean streets where he grew up for the first time in 34 years with The Sun to prove that not every senior Tory MP went to Eton with David Cameron. Sajid Javid’s extraordinary rags to riches life story, based on hard graft and natural wit, is one of the most exceptional the Conservative Party has ever seen. He is now being seriously talked of in Westminster as the Tories’ next leader, and the country’s first Asian Prime Minster.” – The Sun (£)

  • Culture Secretary shares family anguish at Malik quitting One Direction – The Independent

Prime Minister attacks Supreme Court ruling on Prince’s letters

charles“David Cameron has blasted Supreme Court judges for ruling that nagging letters from Prince Charles to ministers should be published. The UK’s highest court upheld a ruling that the private royal correspondence should be released after a decade-long legal battle. Some 27 letters were sent to seven different government departments between September 2004 and March 2005. They are known as “black spider memos” because of Charles’s distinctive handwriting and love of underlining words.” – The Sun (£)

  • Charles wants power without responsibility – Philip Collins, The Times (£)

Tory MPs ordered to pose for selfies with the public

“Conservative MPs have been told to pose for “selfies” with voters to increase the party’s exposure on social media websites like Facebook. A senior Tory source, speaking after a final pre-election meeting of the party’s MPs with the election guru Lynton Crosby, agreed that this could become known as “the selfie election”. Party leaders like David Cameron and Ed Miliband are finding themselves mobbed by voters on the campaign trail asking them to be in “selfie” photographs with them.” – Daily Telegraph

Burley criticises pay and constituents in valedictory speech

Aidan Burley, MP for Cannock Chase (Conservative)“A Tory MP who attended a Nazi-themed stag party has attacked some of his own constituents as “rude and awkward”, condemned Parliament as a “mad house” and suggested he should be paid more. In his valedictory speech as he stood down as an MP, Aiden Burley said that being an MP comes at “great cost” including “being away from home, working very long hours, often for lower pay than you were earning before”.” – Daily Telegraph

Fraser Nelson: Public satisfaction is high but the Tories aren’t getting the credit

“The authors of the Social Attitudes Survey conclude that the appetite for leaner governments might, five years ago, have been regarded as anomalous but is now “part of the fabric of British public opinion”. Those who want more tax-and-spend are firmly in the minority, huddling there with Ed Miliband. Conservative arguments appear to be winning. But that is, alas, more than can be said for the Conservative Party. It is in the strange situation of having achieved rather a lot – record employment, thousands of children in free schools, NHS satisfaction at record levels – while picking up virtually no credit. People are being won over to conservatism without being won over to the Tories.” – Daily Telegraph

Labour fury over alleged plot to parachute Miliband aide into safe seat…

MILIBAND Red Ed“Labour activists were left furious over an alleged plot to install a key Ed Miliband aide in a safe Labour seat. Geoffrey Robinson, MP for Coventry North West, is expected to hand in his resignation over the weekend, just before parliament is dissolved. Sources claim the move will allow Labour bosses to install Greg Beales, a close Mili advisor and former Gordon Brown aide, as Mr Robinson’s successor. Such a late resignation – just days before the campaign kicks off – means the local Labour party has no time to select a new candidate, allowing party bosses in Westminster to install a plum choice for the seat without the usual process – it is alleged. One party source told the Sun: “This stinks. It has all the hallmarks of a grubby little deal.” – The Sun (£)

…as Populus predict him more likely Prime Minister due to wider range of coalition options

“The number of simulations in which each is the largest party is all but equal, however Ed Miliband ends up as Prime Minister 77% of the time against David Cameron’s 23% because of the wider range of coalition partners the Labour leader has to choose from. There is now a greater than one in four chance that the Conservatives will end up as the party with the most votes and the largest number of seats in the new Parliament but not in Government. That hasn’t happened since 1923.” – Financial Times

  • Poll suggests London offers Labour hope for big gains – The Guardian
  • Ed to kick off Labour campaign with hope – The Guardian

Labour hit back at Tory VAT ambush

Tax Take“David Cameron’s Commons triumph over Ed Miliband when he ruled out a rise in VAT after the general election was called into question today. The Prime Minister wrong-footed the Labour leader on Wednesday promising the Conservatives would not increase VAT in the next parliament. But Labour fought back by accusing George Osborne of the “most serious breach ever” of the select committee system, because the Chancellor refused to rule out a VAT hike when questioned by the Commons Treasury Committee only 24 hours before Mr Cameron’s pledge.” – The Independent

Brown claims English votes for English laws will undermine the UK

“Gordon Brown today warned that the survival of the United Kingdom was in jeopardy as he delivered his final Commons speech in a 32-year career as an MP. The former Prime Minister claimed that Conservative moves to introduce English votes for English laws threatened to undermine the UK’s “shared foundations”. Mr Brown, whose late intervention in the Scottish independence battle was widely credited as halting the momentum towards a Yes vote, stressed he was not leaving public life and pledged to “fight and fight again” to rebuild the Union.” – The Independent

  • The man who saved the Union, or the British Nixon? Twitter reacts to Brown’s farewell – The Independent
  • Brown laments the constitutional revolution he started – Robert Smith, Coffee House

>Yesterday: Matthew Sinclair in Comment: To get devolution right, we must work it out now – not in a post-election rush

Liberal Democrat candidate quits in face of abuse allegations

LibDemDead“A Liberal Democrat arrested by police investigating child abuse has withdrawn from a marginal seat the party was hoping to win. Jason Zadrozny, who was standing in Ashfield and Eastwood, Nottinghamshire, rejected the claims. Nottinghamshire police said there were allegations against a 34-year-old man, including gross indecency with a male under 16 in 2003-04 and sexual activity with a child between 2004 and 2007.” – The Times (£)

How an SNP deal with Labour would cost taxpayers £148 billion

“Britain will be saddled with a crippling extra £148billion of debt if the SNP wins a share of power, the Treasury warned last night. The official costing of Nicola Sturgeon’s plans reveals they involve a massive spending spree that would have to be funded by higher taxes or even higher borrowing. The analysis, conducted by Treasury officials and signed off by the Permanent Secretary, show that spending under the SNP would be £148billion higher than forecast in this month’s Budget.” – Daily Mail

  • Sturgeon mocked as she insists Salmond is not in charge – Daily Telegraph

News in Brief:

  • Passport Office made £42 million from summer crisis – Daily Mail
  • Despite Salmond’s claims, study finds ‘Vow’ made little difference to independence vote – Daily Telegraph
  • London City airport slams Mayor’s bar on growth – Financial Times
  • Raid universities to fund teachers in tough schools, urges Milburn – The Guardian
  • Arab allies go to war to prevent Iranian revolution in Yemen – The Times (£)
  • Putin claims Western spies are undermining his Government – Daily Mail