Major warns against the ‘mayhem’ of a Labour government held to Nationalist ransom

SNP logo white background“An Ed Miliband government propped up by the SNP will lead to “mayhem” as Labour faces a “daily dose of political blackmail” that will lead to higher taxes and job losses, Sir John Major is to warn. Making his first intervention of the general election campaign, the former Conservative prime minister will use a speech to warn that all voters in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will “all pay the price” if there is a deal between Mr Miliband and Miss Sturgeon. The SNP will be in a position to “bring down the government at any time” if its demands for increased spending in Scotland are not met, Sir John will say. It came as two of Labour’s most senior figures on Monday opened the doors to talks with the SNP in the event of another hung Parliament.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Former Prime Minister wades into the debate – The Guardian
  • Lab-Nat pact would ‘bleed England dry’ – The Sun (£)
  • SNP manifesto launch as it happened – Daily Telegraph
  • First Minister claims UK is ‘hungry and restless’ for party like hers – The Independent
  • Sturgeon threatens new independence referendum if Britain votes to leave the EU – Daily Mail
  • First Minister eyes welfare powers – The Times (£)
  • SNP try to woo public opinion across the UK – Financial Times
  • Sturgeon unveils £140bn Labour spending list – Daily Telegraph
  • The First Minister’s shopping list for the Nationalist bloc – Daily Express
  • SNP challenged on spending plans as they back Labour proposals – The Guardian
  • SNP rise has echoes of Irish nationalism – Financial Times

Labour’s divided response:

  • Burnham suggests SNP should vote on English health service – Daily Telegraph
  • Murphy claims Nationalists cannot be trusted with the NHS – The Times (£)

Conservatives’ divided response: Forsyth accuses Tories of boosting SNP for short-term gain

“Leading Conservatives are playing a “short term and dangerous” game that threatens the future of the UK by building up the SNP as a way of damaging the Labour party in Scotland, Lord Forsyth, the senior Tory peer, has told the Guardian. In a sign of deep unease among senior Tories at some of the party’s tactics, Lord Forsyth of Drumlean accused the prime minister of having “shattered” the pro-UK alliance in Scotland and stirring up English nationalism after the Scottish independence referendum last year.” – The Guardian

  • Cameron and Boris attack Lab-Nat pact as match made in hell – The Guardian
  • Tory grandees at odds over how to tackle the Nationalists – Financial Times

Iain Martin: Don’t believe the SNP’s lies about wanting to help England

UNION FLAG torn“At her manifesto launch today, Sturgeon has just explained to England that there is nothing to be afraid of in the rise of the Nationalists. Fear not, the SNP is coming to Westminster just to be friendly. Aye, that’ll be right. If you believe her you need your head examined. Just as the Nationalists have so badly divided Scotland (and the atmosphere is deeply unpleasant in Scotland) they seek to divide England, because that is what they do. They create division and set people against each other, for their own ends.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Sturgeon is attempting one of the greatest con tricks in British political history – Chris Deerin, CapX
  • Scottish leftists should stop kidding themselves – a vote for the SNP is a vote for separation – Jenny Hjul, Daily Telegraph
  • Nationalists are the only party with any momentum – Tom Newton Dunn and Kate McCann, The Sun (£)
  • Will the SNP’s dominance of the campaign affect party strategy? – Dan Hodges, Daily Telegraph
  • ‘Independent’ Scotland would be in thrall to Brussels – Norman Tebbit, Daily Telegraph
  • If Sturgeon overreaches, it will mean death for the SNP – Magnus Linklater, The Times (£)
  • Sturgeon is proving that old-fashioned campaigns can work – Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph



  • The SNP faithful worship their leader – Quentin Letts’ sketch, Daily Mail
  • A party climbing the cliff face to power – Ann Treneman, The Times (£)


Philip Johnson: We’re about to see how well the UK handles constitutional crisis

“The collapse of Labour and the transfer of its vote to the SNP has utterly changed the political and constitutional landscape. Issues of legitimacy and democratic accountability are now to the fore in a way that scarcely seemed possible just a year ago. In Whitehall, officials who may have to deal with an almighty political imbroglio after May 7 are gaming a variety of possible outcomes. No one knows what is going to happen and everyone fears the worst because our uncodified constitution (which works well enough when all its component parts are functioning in harmony) could become a millstone around our necks when something totally unexpected occurs.” – Daily Telegraph

Prime Minister suspends campaign to attend crisis summit on Mediterranean migrants

Cameron1“PM David Cameron will break from the Election campaign for an emergency summit on the Mediterranean crisis – as Italy mulls airstrikes against people trafficking gangs in Libya. Downing Street said the PM would meet other EU leaders this Thursday amid growing fury at the human tragedy. The PM said the deaths of up to 950 people fleeing Libya in a fishing boat over the weekend was a “dark day for Europe”. No.10 said he spoke with both Italian PM Matteo Renzi and Malta’s Joseph Muscat – and agreed “all tools” at the EU’s disposal should be used against the human traffickers blamed for the crisis.” – The Sun (£)

Cameron would be ‘heartbroken’ if Jews no longer felt safe in Britain

“David Cameron has said he would be “heartbroken” if Jewish people thought that Britain was no longer a safe place for them amid evidence of growing anti-semitism. Mr Cameron warned that Israel is at risk from an “insidious, creeping attempt” to undermine it as a state. In an interview with The Atlantic, Mr Cameron warned that there is a danger that “anti-Zionism” is becoming a “legitimate form of political discourse”. He said that Jewish communities are being threatened by a “frightening” new form of anti-semitism fuelled by Islamic extremism which is inciting “hatred and violence”.” – Daily Telegraph

Three quarters of voters back Osborne on welfare

MANIFESTO money“George Osborne’s plan to make further cuts to Britain’s welfare bill has the support of 75 per cent of voters, who still think “too much money is being wasted on paying benefits to people who don’t need them”. The chancellor’s decision to put £12bn of further welfare cuts at the heart of the Conservative election campaign appears to be at least partly vindicated by a survey for the Financial Times by Populus. Although voters seem to be tiring of austerity and want to see a future government raise spending in most areas, they draw a line when it comes to benefits and foreign aid.” – Financial Times

Hunt promises to end ‘tax dodge’ by NHS bosses

“Ending the ‘abuse’ of NHS money exposed by the Mail will be a priority if the Conservatives are re-elected, the Health Secretary said last night. Speaking as the Mail revealed how NHS managers were potentially dodging income tax by channelling huge salaries through personal companies, Jeremy Hunt promised an immediate crackdown if his party is in power after the election. He said: ‘The Mail’s campaign has exposed that off-payroll contracts are clearly being abused both at a management level and in the hiring of agency staff. So we will stop the abuse as a priority if we form the next government.’” – Daily Mail

  • Labour issue stark warnings about the NHS under the Tories – Daily Mail
  • Miliband to unveil party’s ‘NHS rescue plan’ – The Independent


  • Every party is talking nonsense on the NHS – Dr Phil Hammond, Daily Telegraph

Wollaston attacks ‘traditional marriage’ campaign in her constituency

Sarah Wollaston“A prospective Tory MP has described campaigners opposed to same sex marriage as “bigots” after they posted more than a million fliers through letterboxes in marginal constituencies. Sarah Wollaston, who is defending a 5,000 majority in Totnes, said she was “proud” of voting in favour of same sex marriage after discovering one of the leaflets. The leaflet says: “Your MP Sarah Wollaston voted for Same-Sex Marriage. Use your vote for true marriage at the general election on May 7.” It says that MPs like her “ignored the views of huge numbers of local people” when she voted in favour. She responded: “Thanks bigots, I’m proud of that vote.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • MP claims having overcome depression makes her better at her job – The Independent

Miliband refuses to admit he was wrong on the impacts of Tory policies…

“Ed Miliband last night repeatedly refused to admit he had got it wrong over the past five years about jobs, crime and the effect of tuition fees. Labour has previously confidently predicted that the Coalition’s austerity programme would see unemployment and crime soar, and the number of poor students going to university fall. But, in each case, the opposite has happened – and last night the party’s leader was challenged over whether this called into question the judgment of him and his team.” – Daily Mail

…as he promises the unions an ‘open door’ to Number Ten

MILIBAND Red Ed“Ed Miliband yesterday offered to throw open the doors of No 10 to Scotland’s union leaders if they helped him to become prime minister. In a passionate old Labour appeal for their support, he told the trade unions — many of which were instrumental in getting him elected — that they could count on him to look after their interests if they helped him to win… In what was an unashamedly left-wing address, Mr Miliband referred to every hero of the Scottish Labour movement from Keir Hardie to Donald Dewar as he tried to win over the unions.” – The Times (£)

  • Labour leads pleads with Scottish trades unions – Financial Times
  • Miliband wants to take us back to the 1970s, warns leading entrepreneur – Daily Telegraph
  • Labour leader has no idea how much the party would borrow – The Sun (£)
  • Miliband ducks questions on borrowing – Daily Express
  • Party accused of hiding leader from official election artist – Daily Telegraph
  • Bookies have Miliband has favourite to be Prime Minister – The Independent

>Yesterday: The Deep End: Ed Miliband – the man who showed up

Labour would roll out mansion tax ‘within weeks’

“A mansion tax on the more valuable homes would be imposed within weeks by a Labour-led government to help to pay for the emergency recruitment of 1,000 extra trainee nurses, Ed Miliband will reveal today. The Labour leader will defy predictions that the new annual levy on properties worth more than £2 million would not be in place for years, as he attempts to heap further pressure on the Conservatives over the NHS. Estate agents say that Labour’s mansion tax proposals are having a chilling effect on the housing market in London.” – The Times (£)



Party sets out plan to woo 12m disabled voters

Rachel Reeves“Labour has set out the policies it hopes will win over the votes of 12 million disabled people. The party thinks disabled people will have a decisive role to play in who wins the election, with research showing that more than 100 marginal seats contain more disable people than the winning majorities at the last election. Scrapping the ‘bedroom tax’, including disabled people in government policy committees, tough new laws on disability hate crimes and reform of the Work Capability Assessment were pledges announced by Rachel Reeves, the shadow work and pensions secretary.” – The Independent

Hypocrisy charge over election chief’s ‘slave wage’ interns on £4 a day

“A Labour election chief has been blasted for “utter hypocrisy” for employing five interns on just £4 per day – despite denying the claim last week. In a flagrant breach of one of Ed Miliband’s flagship new election pledges, The Sun has discovered Toby Perkins – standing for re-election in Chesterfield – even put the interns up in “intern house” for the duration of the election and has asked local party members to donate food to feed them. Mr Perkins denied the claims when approached last week over an advert he’d placed to hire them. But an email leaked to The Sun, penned by own campaign manager Chris Bowen, carried the subject header “the interns are coming” and detailed their 12-hour working days and very low pay. Labour HQ last night stepped in to “clarify” the status of Mr Perkins’s interns, rebranding them “campaign volunteers” – who will no longer be paid at all.” – The Sun (£)

  • Retiring MP claimed tens of thousands in expenses for PR – The Sun (£)

Chilcot Enquiry will not report until 2016

Iraq flag“The findings of a long-awaited inquiry into the Iraq war are unlikely to be unveiled this year. Further delays to Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry into the war were reported by BBC’s Newsnight and will fuel claims those criticised over the war are trying to bury bad news. It was initially thought it would be delayed until after the general election amid claims it could be damning for Labour. But it has now been suggested the findings of the inquiry, which began in 2009, will not be published until 2016.” – Daily Mail

Clegg wants to roll back school reform as part of any coalition deal

“The Liberal Democrats could seize control of the nation’s schools in a coalition deal to erase Michael Gove’s ‘zany’ ideas from the classroom, Nick Clegg signalled today. The Deputy PM said control of the Department for Education would be a key demand of any new power-sharing deal. Mr Clegg said he wanted to avoid a repeat of battling against the ‘ideological gimmicks’ of Mr Gove, who was the first Tory Education Secretary when the coalition was formed in 2010.” – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: John Bald in Comment: Those misleading claims of a 40 per cent teacher dropout rate

Liberal Democrat implosion helps everyone but the Tories

LibDemDead“The decline of the Liberal Democrats, even in terms just of the voter movements to Labour and the Conservatives, is emphatically bad for the blue bloc. It loses 36 Westminster seats, which are all gained by the red team. The growth of Ukip is also unambiguously bad for the blue bloc. By differentially taking more votes from both its parties (more Lib Dem than Labour supporters have switched to Ukip), this voter migration costs another twenty seats. Despite the obvious propaganda in the slogan “vote Ukip, get Labour”, repeated ad nauseam by Tories, it is psephologically correct. Even the surge of the SNP is bad for the blues. Although it seriously weakens Labour, those seats lost by Labour stay within the “red” column.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Candidate claims there will be no second coalition with the Tories – The Guardian
  • The Conservatives are paying a high price for their low reputation – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

Rachel Sylvester: The parties will regret holding guns to each other’s’ heads

“Both main parties are reluctant to consider a formal coalition, preferring the idea of a minority administration. The Tories want to rid themselves of their pesky Lib Dem partners, Labour want to avoid association with Nick Clegg. Although the voters rather like the idea of politicians setting aside their differences for the wider good, the leaders are retreating to their tribes. This is an election that is as much about a rejection of the Westminster establishment as it is about the size of the deficit or our future in Europe — but, even as the smaller parties rise in popularity, the bigger ones remain stuck in an old mindset.” – The Times (£)

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Election sketch: Northamptonshire Conservatives (including Mrs Bone) hope to persuade voters that UKIP is redundant

Could there be a Green upset in Bristol West?

green20party (1)“Given that Stephen Williams, the Liberal Democrat candidate, is defending a majority of more than 11,000, the Greens could be overstating their position with talk of a surge. But five of the Green party’s six seats on Bristol city council are in Bristol West, including two that they won from the Lib Dems last year. Mr Hall says that Green party membership in Bristol has jumped from 300 last year to 2,100 this year. Some of the money he received from the national party came from the designer Vivienne Westwood’s donation to the party. The donation became controversial when allegations about her company’s tax arrangements led to the cancellation of a tour she was making of university Green groups.” – The Times (£)

  • Students fall out of love with the Green Party leader – Daily Mail
  • Cannabis protesters align with Greens – Daily Telegraph

More than 100 bosses endorse UKIP

“UKIP is hailed as a champion of small businesses today with more than 100 bosses declaring their support for Nigel Farage’s party. In an open letter, published in today’s Daily Express, they heap praise on the UK Independence Party’s willingness to stand up to big companies while trumpeting its plan to help small firms. The party’s planned crackdown on late payments by big companies to small suppliers is a “hugely welcome idea”, they write. Ukip’s promise to slash business rates for small and medium-sized companies, improve access to finance and boost local trade are also praised.” – Daily Express

News in Brief:

  • Supermarkets face probe over bogus ‘bargains’ that cost shoppers millions – Daily Mail
  • Quarter of Britons will be from an ethnic minority within decades – The Times (£)
  • UK economy is failing to innovate – Financial Times
  • Fresh questions over whether Lord Janner is fit to stand trial – The Guardian
  • Scientists discover mystertious ‘supervoid’ in the universe – Daily Telegraph

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