Cameron 1) Tories will create two million new jobs

ConManifesto_jobs“A Conservative government will create 2 million new jobs in the next five years, David Cameron has said, as he warned that Britain will go back to “square one” and the days of “big unemployment” under Ed Miliband. In his latest manifesto pledge, the Prime Minister said that he will create more than 1,000 jobs a day during the next Parliament. It will take Britain close to Mr Cameron’s target of having “full employment” and mean that the UK would have a higher employment rate that Germany and Japan.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Prime Minister urges voters to give him five years to finish the job – Daily Mail
  • Cameron kicks off tightest British election in a generation – Financial Times


  • He leapt on stage like a horse at a water jump – Quentin Letts’ sketch, Daily Mail
  • Show us the Tories can finish the work – Daily Mail editorial

Cameron 2) Prime Minister leads crackdown on data sales

“Rogue data firms were warned by David Cameron last night that they could face serious penalties after the Mail exposed an astonishing trade in private information. The Prime Minister led furious calls for any companies found guilty of selling personal data without consent to face the toughest consequences. He suggested the law would be tightened if loopholes are being exploited by unscrupulous cold callers.” – Daily Mail

Cameron 3) Boost for Tories as he and Farage are nowhere near each other in Thursday’s debate

CAMERON TV“David Cameron has been handed a boost at Thursday’s seven way television debate by being drawn to stand on the far right of the party leaders. To the delight of Tory strategists, the Prime Minister will be far away from Nigel Farage, the leader of the UK Independence Party and a strong performer in the format. Instead, the draw for places has left the Ukip leader figurehead sandwiched between the Liberal Democrats’ Nick Clegg and Labour leader Ed Miliband.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Prime Minister draws poll position – The Sun (£)
  • Marr mauls Paxman over interview style – Daily Mail


Polls put the Tories in the lead

“Two opinion polls put the Tories ahead yesterday and a third put them neck and neck with Labour, helping to calm Tory nerves after suggestions that Thursday night’s interviews had benefited Ed Miliband. A ComRes telephone poll for the Daily Mail and ITV showed the Tories four points ahead, on 36 per cent, and Labour down three on 32 per cent. A telephone poll for Lord Ashcroft, the Tory peer, put the Tories ahead by a smaller margin of two points. It had the Conservatives on 36 per cent, Labour on 34 per cent, the Lib Dems on 6 per cent, Ukip on 10 per cent and the Greens on 7 per cent.” – The Times (£)

  • Slim Tory lead but Miliband is closing the gap – The Independent
  • New poll suggests Tories might take consolation prizes from Lib Dems in London – The Guardian
  • Only one third of voters back Right to Buy extension, poll finds – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: The Conservatives are two points ahead in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll

Level of job hunting migrants has fallen 16 per cent under the Coalition

Britain shield“The number of migrants coming to Britain in search of a job tumbled by 16 per cent under the Coalition, a think tank has claimed. The Migration Observatory said the number of recently-arrived migrants working full-time in Britain was 608,000 – down 117,000 on Labour’s last full-year in office in 2009. There has been a 40 per cent increase in jobseekers from recession hit ‘old’ EU countries such as Italy, Spain and Portugal… Meanwhile there has been a 25 per cent fall in migrants from outside the EU following curbs introduced by Home Secretary Theresa May.” – The Sun (£)

Blackwood overcomes illness to fight the campaign

“A brave female Tory MP is fighting the election despite having a rare syndrome made famous on Coronation Street. Ministerial aide Nicola Blackwood revealed she has been diagnosed with Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome… Ms Blackwood told The Sun: “The NHS have been fantastic helping me get on top of this. “I can go into the election without any uncertainty, in control of my health, and hope that my constituents will see from my record how much I love representing them.” The 35-year-old MP for Oxford and West Abingdon is defending a tiny majority of just 176, which is one of the smallest in the country.” – The Sun (£)

Philip Johnstone: This election is sure to leave the shires fuming

Curse of Clegg 2“The two polls that have been published so far this week confirm that the Tories and Labour are effectively neck-and-neck on about 34 per cent of the vote. But this is not level-pegging. While such an outcome would put Labour within striking distance of power it would leave the Conservatives well short of an overall majority because of the inherent imbalance in the electoral system. This should have been rectified in the last parliament but, in the words of Mr Cameron, the Liberal Democrats “ratted” on a deal to redraw constituency boundaries and even-up the urban and rural electorates.” – Daily Telegraph

As Farage holds ‘informal’ talks with Eurosceptic Tory backbenchers…

“Nigel Farage has held secret talks about working with anti-European Union Conservative MPs in preparation for a hung parliament. The UK Independence Party leader disclosed the contact when he was unveiling the party’s general election pledge card outside the London offices of the European Commission in London. Mr Farage said: “It is likely that the next government in this country it won’t be a two way party coalition or deal it will be a three way party coalition or deal.”” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Which parties could a deal be done with? Take our special pre-election survey

…hard-line Labour MPs could ally with SNP to drag Miliband left in office

MILIBAND Red Ed“Dozens of hardline Labour MPs will work with the SNP to hold Ed Miliband to ransom and stop him making any cuts to public spending, it was claimed today. The left-wingers have pledged to vote against any Budget that includes austerity measures to tackle the deficit. John McDonnell, chair of the Socialist Campaign Group of Labour MPs, said ‘a bloc of 30-40 left MPs’ in Labour will ensure Mr Miliband will not be able to ‘ignore’ their demands.” – Daily Mail

At party’s business launch Labour angers businesses by quoting them in advert without permission…

“Labour faced a new business backlash last night after publicly claiming a string of major companies backed its stance on Europe. Siemens, Kellogg’s and Nomura all protested over a Labour advert that suggested they were supporting Ed Miliband and his refusal to hold a referendum on Britain’s EU membership. The full-page advert in the Financial Times quoted senior figures from a series of companies warning about the dangers of withdrawal from Europe. At the foot of the page was the slogan: ‘Vote Labour’.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Miliband launches Labour’s business manifesto

…as Balls hints at tax rises for companies and households…

BALLS Ed Spend can“Labour today hinted at hefty tax rises for people earning more than £80,000 a year. The party also indicated that profitable companies could be hit as Labour attempts to tackle the deficit without trimming Britain’s bloated welfare budget or imposing deep spending cuts. Ed Miliband has been deliberately vague about Labour’s plans to raise taxes to deal with the deficit, identifying only his proposal to reinstate the 50p tax rates, which experts warn may raise nothing.” – Daily Mail


  • We need to know who Ed is going to clobber – Paul Johnson, The Times (£)

…and Miliband faces a dilemma over his Chancellor

“They appeared on stage together at the launch of the party’s business manifesto at Bloomberg’s headquarters in the City on Monday. But would Mr Miliband give the other Ed the job he craves: letting him control all tax and spending decisions as chancellor of the exchequer, commanding Britain’s Treasury? The question may seem redundant given the pair have maintained a functional partnership while working together in neighbouring offices as opposition leader and shadow chancellor for four years. Yet the leader has never confirmed that Mr Balls would be chancellor if Labour wins the general election on May 7.” – Financial Times

Hunt wants teachers to assess each other

SIllyHunt“Teachers will be able to mark each other as part of a radical overhaul of Ofsted school inspections if Labour comes to power. Tristram Hunt, Labour’s shadow education secretary told teachers he wants Ofsted, the education watchdog, to recruit teachers and head teachers to undertake accredited peer to peer reviews.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Labour promise legislation to boost apprenticeships and vocational learning – The Independent

Rachel Sylvester: It’s head or heart in this Wizard of Oz election

“What is so striking, as the campaign officially launches this week, is the conventionality of each mainstream party’s identity. This is the most unpredictable – and therefore exciting – election for years but the two men who could be Prime Minister are behaving entirely predictably. Neither Mr Cameron nor Mr Miliband has been able to throw off the stereotypes surrounding their parties. In fact they seem to be almost deliberately seeking to reinforce them, in an attempt to shore up their core support, even though an outright majority is only possible by reaching out beyond the political tribe.” – The Times (£)

Clegg refuses to rule out supporting an EU referendum…

EU Exit“Lib Dem chief Nick Clegg has held out the chance of another Tory Coalition – by refusing to say he would torpedo an EU referendum in the next Parliament. The Deputy PM repeatedly refused to say the referendum would be a ‘Red Line’ for his party in any Coalition talks after May 7. He said: “You can’t ask me to do more than set out my stall, and publish our manifesto, as we will. “And then then the British people can decide between the different propositions put forward.”” – The Sun (£)

  • Clegg to extract steep price for supporting a plebiscite – Financial Times
  • Norovirus forces Lib Dem leader off the campaign trail – The Independent

>Today: Tom Tugendhat in Comment: The ECHR must no longer apply to our armed forces in wartime

…as Ashdown turns fire on nationalists who want to make Britain ‘dysfunctional’

“Paddy Ashdown has accused the SNP of wanting to “burn Westminster down” by causing a Balkans-style conflict in the UK. The former Lib Dem leader said the Nationalists – who have vowed to bring down a minority Conservative government and prop up Ed Miliband – wanted to make Britain “dysfunctional”… Lord Ashdown, a former High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina, said: “The SNP has got one aim. They’re not coming south to help Westminster work, they’re coming south of the Scottish ruling party to burn Westminster down and to make the thing dysfunctional.” – The Sun (£)

  • Scottish Nationalists delight in Westminster discomfort – Financial Times
  • Lab-Nat pact would place fresh strain on Union, warns O’Donnell – The Independent
  • Plaid Cymru vow to secure more powers and end austerity – The Independent

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Ashdown, Howard and Livingstone discuss the issues

Liberal Democrats seek mental care improvements

NHS_Logo“Pregnant women and mothers dealing with depression would be given specialist treatment in 40 new community outreach centres, under plans to be included in the Liberal Democrat manifesto. Nick Clegg announced that the party would commit to spending £3.5bn more over the next parliament on mental health care in England.” – The Independent

  • Party to pledge £2bn extra to mental health – The Guardian

UKIP 1) Carswell snubs launch

“UKIP MP Douglas Carswell snubbed his party’s election launch, reviving rumours of a rift with his leader Nigel Farage. He chose to go canvassing in his Clacton seat rather than appear alongside Mr Farage in London. The Ukip boss unveiled a new campaign poster featuring his party’s five key election pledges. They include withdrawal from the EU, controlling Britain’s borders, cutting foreign aid and spending an extra £3 billion on the NHS. Ukip’s other MP, Mark Reckless, along with a raft of other key Ukip figures, were present at the launch.” – The Sun (£)

UKIP 2) No room for immigration on pledge card

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage unveiled Ukip’s five-point pledge card today but there was a glaring omission: the word ‘immigration’. There was plenty of room for his face though and he was surrounded by pictures of himself as he launched Ukip’s election campaign in central London. There was also a notable absentee – Ukip’s first elected MP Douglas Carswell. The party rolled out its other big stars – its other MP Mark Reckless and a number of its MEPs, including Patrick O’Flynn and the party’s deputy chair Suzanne Evans.” – The Independent

News in Brief:

  • MI6 chief warns of online arms race – Daily Mail
  • Conflict in Middle East puts Saudi oil infrastructure at risk – Daily Telegraph
  • Crunch talks on Iran’s nuclear future hang by a thread – The Sun (£)
  • Choudary tells young Muslims it is a sin to vote under Islamic law – The Independent
  • Tell us your election policy priorities – The Guardian
  • Calais mayor savages UK and blames welfare for migrant chaos in city – Daily Mail