Gove rules out any deal with UKIP

telegraphgove“The Conservatives will not “get into bed” with Nigel Farage by making a deal with the UK Independence Party after the general election, Michael Gove has said. In an interview with The Telegraph, Mr Gove became the first senior Tory to rule out any kind of deal with Mr Farage’s party in the event of another hung Parliament. He said that Ukip has now “peaked” and suggested that the party could even be left with no MPs after the election.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Miliband used to be a blancmange in a hurricane – now he’s dangerous – Michael Gove interview Daily Telegraph
  • Error strewn UKIP leaflet – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour compares UKIP to the BNP – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: The death of the two-party system is much exaggerated

Unemployment falls to seven year low…

“David Cameron has hailed new figures which show unemployment is at a seven-year low – but Labour says too many jobs are part-time. The prime minister said the coalition had overseen a “jobs miracle” and the UK had created more jobs since 2010 than the rest of the EU put together. Unemployment fell by 76,000 to 1.84 million in the three months to February, official statistics show. Labour welcomed the fall, but accused the Tories of ignoring low pay growth.” – BBC

  • The number in work is at a record level – Daily Mail

…as the IMF praises the long term economic plan

“The head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has endorsed the UK government’s economic strategy. Speaking at an IMF meeting in Washington she said: “It’s obvious what’s happening in the UK has worked.” Ms Lagarde played down differences between the IMF calculation of the future deficit and the more optimistic one provided by the Office for Budget Responsibility.” – BBC

  • Osborne has done a “wonderful job” says German Finance Minister – Daily Telegraph

Pensions campaigner Ros Altman to be made Tory peer and Minister

rosalt“PENSIONS campaigner Ross Altmann is to be made a Tory minister in a new role to clamp down on unfair mortgage and pension deals. If he is re-elected, David Cameron will make the older people’s savings champion and TV commentator a peer so she can join the government. Her first task will be to carry out a major review of financial products to ban sharp practices that leave consumers trapped, such as excess charges.” – The Sun(£)

Daily Telegraph demand the return of the soapbox

“In 1992, when the polls put Labour ahead a week or so into the election, John Major threw away an overly cautious battle-plan and engaged in some old-fashioned soapbox stump oratory. “People say that you cannot do it these days,” Sir John said. “It is fashionable to say, for security and other reasons, that you cannot get up on a soapbox. I think you have to – and I am going to do it.” Mr Cameron should do the same.” – Leader Daily Telegraph

Labour dismay at new Ashcroft polling in Scotland…

Opinion Poll graphic“SCOTTISH Labour leader Jim Murphy and election campaign chief Douglas ­Alexander are poised to lose their seats as the surge in SNP support intensifies, a poll has found. The Nationalists are also on course to seize former Liberal Democrat leader Charles Kennedy’s Highland seat and employment minister Jo Swinson’s East Dunbartonshire constituency, according to the survey of key Scottish seats…Mr Murphy is now nine points behind the SNP in his East Renfrewshire seat, having been one ahead two months ago, according to polling by Lord Ashcroft.” – The Scotsman

  • “In a blog analysing his poll, Ashcroft…suggested that some Conservatives could vote tactically for Murphy to keep the SNP out.” – The Guardian

>Today: Andy Morrison on Comment: Why I’m relishing the chance of making the moral case for conservatism in Glasgow

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft on Comment: My latest poll of marginals shows Jim Murphy losing his seat to the SNP

…not an earthquake – a cataclysm

“Conor Pope, of party supporters’ website LabourList, said: ‘If previous Ashcroft constituency polling in Scotland could be described as an earthquake, the poll the Tory peer had dropped this afternoon will require an entirely different word. A cataclysm perhaps. ‘If this is an earthquake it’s certainly not the kind that rattles the windows in the middle of the night, it’s the sort that razes whole cities.” – Daily Mail

  • YouGov has Conservatives and Labour still tied – YouGov
  • Conservatives take narrow lead in Survation poll – Mirror
  • Robert Hardman meets Scottish voters – Daily Mail
  • Patrick Kidd meets voters born in May 1997 – The Times(£)

Sturgeon says SNP MPs will vote on English only legislation

STURGEON debate“Politicians who begged Scotland to stay in the Union should not complain if the SNP calls the shots at Westminster after the election, Nicola Sturgeon said last night….She said her MPs – who could number as many as 50 after May 7 – would vote to roll back reform of the NHS in England. Traditionally, Scottish nationalists have not voted on health and matters that do not affect their constituents, since they are controlled in Scotland by the Holyrood parliament…‘Our MPs will vote for a bill to restore England’s NHS to its founding principles, ensuring it remains the accountable public service it was always meant to be.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour and SNP could do a deal says Shadow Scottish Secretary – The Sun(£)
  • How the Tories can stop Red Ed and the SNP – Leader Daily Mail
  • Beware this cynical brand of left wing populism – Dominic Sandbrook Daily Mail
  • Deadlock would mean a battle over Miliband’s legitimacy – The Guardian

Parris: The Sturgeon/Miliband courtship

“On Thursday night on the BBC a similar courtship ritual could be observed taking place between two politicians, but with this striking difference. It was the lady in the dove-grey jacket coo-cooing with a puffed-out chest, and the gentleman in the dove-grey tie who was being coy. Nicola Sturgeon pranced; Ed Miliband pouted; she strutted; he tutted; but sticks are being gathered for a nest.” – Matthew Parris The Times(£)

Wales shows the damage Labour can do warns Cameron

“People in Wales know “more than most the damage Labour can do”, David Cameron has warned. The prime minister attacked the Labour Welsh government as he launched the Tories’ Welsh manifesto in Powys. “The dragon on our flag may be red, but our country will always be better off blue,” he told members in Builth Wells. Mr Cameron added that 52,000 jobs had been created in Wales in five years and the employment rate had risen faster than anywhere else in the UK.” – BBC

Boris to move centre stage in the campaign

Boris“Boris Johnson will move centre stage in the Conservative election campaign next week as the party struggles to open up a consistent poll lead over Labour. The London Mayor, who has been largely invisible at a national level despite being the second best known Tory in the country, will make a high-profile joint appearance with David Cameron, sources said. There have been growing calls from Conservative MPs for Mr Johnson to be ‘weaponised’ as the party seeks to break away from Labour.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Tory Diary: Boris. Out and about in Finchley. And Chiswick. And Chippenham. And Stroud. And…

Miliband promises a new unit to stop immigration “dragging down” wages

“A unit to prosecute gangmasters who exploit workers and “drag down” others’ wages would be set up under a Labour government, Ed Miliband is to announce. In a speech on immigration, he will also say all healthcare professionals should speak good English.” – BBC

  • Only 12 per cent of Labour candidates have Miliband’s face included on their leaflets – The Sun(£)

Labour want to “get rid” of Trident says Shadow Minister

trident“Labour wants to scrap Trident but is being held back because of the dangerous times Britain currently faces, a shadow cabinet minister has told voters. Owen Smith, the shadow welsh secretary, said Labour wants to “get rid” of the nuclear deterrent but there is “fear” about the reaction. The comments will trigger fears that Labour will reverse its public opposition to scrapping Trident if it wins office and circumstances change. Labour has committed to maintaining the continuous at sea deterrent in its manifesto but a review of Trident is due to take place in 2016.” – Daily Telegraph

Falconer briefs civil service on Labour’s plans

“Ed Miliband will reinstate the 50p rate of tax within weeks and grab more powers for Downing Street if he becomes prime minister, The Times has learnt. The measures are among a list of draft bills already handed to Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, as Labour makes plans for a new administration. Mr Miliband wants strengthen the Downing Street machine as he seeks to assert his authority over Whitehall and the Treasury in particular, according to Lord Falconer of Thoroton, his adviser on a transition to government.” – The Times(£)

Axelrod says the Conservatives are “increasingly panic-stricken”

axelrod“An overconfident Tory campaign has lost its energy and momentum, with Ed Miliband proving resilient under pressure, according to Labour’s US political guru. David Axelrod, a former campaign strategist for Barack Obama and now Labour’s hired hand, said the Tories “keep pushing buttons that are not working”, which is leading them to “lurch from tactic to tactic”. In an interview with the Guardian, Axelrod said Labour’s principal opponents had entered the year with “a kind of cocksuredness predicated on the belief they could caricature Miliband and caricature the Labour party” and “their failure to do so had left them “increasingly panic stricken”.” – The Guardian

Ulster Unionist Party calls for tax cuts

“The Ulster Unionist Party has said tax reductions and extra money for mental health will be part of its price for joining any coalition government. The party will seek VAT rate cuts for property repairs and the hospitality industry. However, it insisted there would be no “begging bowl” approach to negotiations during a hung parliament. Leader Mike Nesbitt said he would be prepared to work with the Conservatives or Labour.” – BBC

BBC TV debate audience was unbalanced

Biased BBC“The BBC initially refused to disclose the political make-up of the audience but eventually released figures late yesterday. Of the 200-strong audience, about 58 were Conservative or Ukip supporters while about 102 backed left-leaning parties – Labour, the Lib Dems, SNP, Plaid Cymru or the SNP. The rest – 40 – described themselves as undecided.” – Daily Mail

  • I’m voting Conservative says Charlotte the TV questioner – The Times(£)

Keir Starmer challenged over CPS shambles

“The collapse of yesterday’s Old Bailey trial will raise question marks about the judgment of the Labour darling who took a central role in the disastrous and misguided prosecutions of journalists. Keir Starmer, who ran the Crown Prosecution Service for five years, was in charge when Operation Elveden began its tainted ‘witch hunt’ into tabloid journalists. Starting with dawn raids on suspects’ homes, mass arrests and long periods of bail, it ended in not guilty verdicts – and will now prompt a fresh examination of the tenure of the most controversial DPP of modern times.” – Daily Mail

Call to do more to help the Kurds defeat ISIS

ISIS“A British volunteer fighting against Isis forces in northern Syria has called on David Cameron to do more to help the Kurds in their push against the extremist jihadists. Macer Gifford, from Oxford, said Britain needs to help the Kurds because they are willing to put “boots on the ground” to take on Isis and because “it is the right thing to do”. He urged the Prime Minister to waive concerns about upsetting Turkey, which has been struggling against Kurdish separatist forces for decades, and to provide hardware and political backing to the Kurds.” – The Independent

  • Former Conservative councillor fighting for the Kurds – Daily Telegraph

“Don’t vote” Muslims are told

“Dozens of posters urging Muslims not to vote in the general election have been removed by council workers after they appeared on city lampposts and bus stops overnight. The yellow, official-looking warning posters posted in Cardiff carried a large exclamation mark and the hashtag #DontVote4ManMadeLaw. They state: “Democracy is a system whereby man violates the right of Allah.” The posters went up across Grangetown, the suburb of the Welsh capital which is home to at least three teenagers who have travelled to Syria to fight with Islamic State.” – The Times(£)

  • 24 per cent of Asian voters undecided – BBC

Moore: Conservatives must champion opportunity

MOORE Charles blue background“Opportunity is not growing in modern Britain. It costs about three times more to buy your first house, in real terms, than it did 30 years ago, and it takes longer to find one. It is harder to get well-educated if your parents cannot afford to pay for it (though Michael Gove improved this situation before being punished for his courage and moved on). My generation was the first of which a sizeable percentage owned shares. Now we look as if we shall be the last…The Tories are talking, rightly, of security. But security is earned by opportunity taken, and opportunity is stuttering.” Charles Moore Daily Telegraph

News in brief

  • Christian Peoples Alliance launches manifesto – BBC
  • HSBC launch mortgage war – Daily Mail
  • Janner continued speaking in Lords after dementia diagnosis – Daily Mail
  • Another increase in number using food banks expected – The Independent

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