Tory Campaign 1) Cameron urges UKIP supporters to ‘come home’ to the Conservatives…

Cameron1“David Cameron yesterday made a last-ditch plea for Ukip supporters to ‘come home’ to the Conservatives. In a direct appeal to voters who have shifted allegiance to Nigel Farage’s party, the Prime Minister vowed to ‘do more’ to respond to concerns about immigration. With the election on a knife-edge, he warned that it is ‘not the time to send a message or make a protest’. Doing so could put the economic recovery at risk by allowing Labour back into power, said the Tory leader.” – Daily Mail

  • Prime Minister: I won’t stop being posh to win votes – Daily Telegraph
  • It’s easy being the Prime Minister’s wife, reports Samantha – The Times (£)
  • Another day, another peek at the Prime Minister’s family life – Daily Mail



  • Dave feels the Easter heat – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Tory Campaign 2) …as he outlines his plan to ‘destroy’ the Liberal Democrats

“The Mid Dorset and North Poole seat is held by Liberal Democrat Anette Brooke with a majority of just 269. It is one of the key seats being targeted by the Tories as part of a “decapitate the Lib Dems” strategy which they believe can win them the general election. Senior Tory strategists now believe that the party’s path to electoral success is by taking a “couple” of Labour seats and “destroying” Nick Clegg’s party in the south, south west, parts of London and even a few seats in the north.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The Prime Minister ridicules ‘desperate attention seeker’ Nick Clegg – Daily Telegraph


Tory Campaign 3) Osborne hits back at Balls over tax rise claims

OSBORNE non-broken sword“Taxes on earnings went up by nearly £1,900 under 13 years of Labour, figures have revealed – as George Osborne warned ‘they’ll do it all again’. The Chancellor said Labour had ‘form’ on jacking up income tax and National Insurance and insisted Ed Balls and Ed Miliband would do the same if given the chance after May 7. ‘Ed Miliband and Ed Balls have done it all before – and they would do it all over again,’ he said.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour’s “£2k tax bill hike” revealed – The Sun (£)
  • Campaigns trade dire warnings on tax – Financial Times
  • Shadow Chancellor stumped by basic maths question – Daily Mail
  • Stock market performs better under the Tories – Daily Mail


>Today: LeftWatch: Five reasons Labour can’t be trusted with the economy

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Money-back Monday? Or just another miserable start to the week?

Tory Campaign 4) Last-minute manifesto rewrites as Tories hunt for positive vision

“While Tory MPs are reluctant to criticise the tone of the campaign in public – some have appeared to come quite close. In an article for the Tory website Conservative Home yesterday Nadhim Zahawi, a member of the party’s policy board, appeared tacitly to criticise the campaign’s lack of vision. “In this campaign our message to the electorate is, ‘Stick with us and we’ll finish the job’,” he wrote. “It’s a good opening line but we also need to say why we want to finish the job: to create work for all who want it, a better life for our children and security for families.”” – The Independent

>Yesterday: Nadhim Zahawi MP’s column: We must not only say we must finish the job – but explain why we want to finish it

Tory Campaign 5) Tory bosses seek to exploit Lib Dem collapse in Scotland and target two seats

Scottish Conservatives“Tory chiefs believe they can gain at least two seats in Scotland because of the total Lib Dem collapse there, The Sun can reveal. Our exclusive YouGov poll today reveals the Lib Dems are down to just 3% of support north of the border, from a high of 19% at the 2010 general election. Since going into coalition with the Tories, Nick Clegg’s party has hemorrhaged an astonishing 85% of all their previous Scottish votes… But the Tories have held onto almost all of their 17% share of the 2010 vote, with our poll revealing they are on 16% today. Conservative bosses are now pouring resources into Berwickshire and West Aberdeen and Kincardine in particular, The Sun can reveal.” – The Sun (£)

  • Cameron urges Scots to avoid Labour-SNP ‘nightmare scenario’ – The Guardian

>Today: Majority: Manifesto Ideas 1) Home Rule for Scotland and England

Seb Coe: As I learned in 1992, the public mood can shift quickly

“Cold, hard data are playing an ever greater part in our elections, as parties learn more and more about what makes us tick, and focus with increasing precision on swing voters in swing constituencies. But we should never forget good old gut instinct – the way electorates can sniff the air and determine if things smell right politically. I have a sneaking feeling that the olfactory sense will prove decisive in the forthcoming election – that while party strategists will be crunching the numbers and working on timings, voters will be directed by what feels right, which another five years of a Cameron premiership.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The average voter is immune to romance and rhetoric – Janan Ganesh, Financial Times

Tories attack NUT over threat of a national teachers’ strike

On strike“She told delegates: ‘This amendment is saying that in the autumn statement, whoever gets into power, we will clearly know at that point what their funding plans are for education. If there’s no change, if they’re going to carry out these 12% cuts, that’s the trigger for the NUT to take action. That’s the trigger to call members for a ballot.’ A Conservative Party spokesman said: ‘The NUT leadership’s irresponsible motion shows how out of touch they are with parents and children across the country. We have had to make difficult decisions to tackle the record deficit we inherited, but we have protected spending on schools in real terms and spending per pupil has gone up over the course of this Parliament.” – Daily Mail

  • Teachers forced to act as ‘front line stormtroopers’ against radicalisation – The Independent

Miliband prepares to gamble as he prepares for ‘risky’ challengers’ debate

“Labour is taking a gamble by focusing heavily on the four televised debates in a bid to appeal directly to voters at the expense of deploying Ed Miliband on the campaign trail ahead of next month’s general election. Party chiefs have calculated that it is better to give him “unmediated” coverage in the forum of the four leaders’ debate events despite criticism from members of his own party that the strategy is too risky. A number of Labour MPs have privately complained that Mr Miliband’s participation in the third television event – dubbed the “Challengers Debate” as it will not feature the Prime Minister or his Deputy, Nick Clegg – is a mistake.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The party backlash against ‘insane’ debate – The Times (£)
  • Labour leader finds The Thick of It ‘too close for comfort’ – The Times (£)

Labour pleads with Scots not to turn to the SNP out of anger…

LABOUR dead rose“The Scottish Labour leader is to urge voters not to abandon his party out of anger and protest but imagine the positive change an Ed Miliband government could bring. Jim Murphy is expected to imply that disaffected former supporters are being lured into supporting the Scottish National party on a wave of apathy and a rise in cynicism. Faced by a continuing surge in SNP support, leaving Labour trailing heavily in the polls, Murphy is to launch a new pledge card promising a Labour government will produce substantive change, at an event in his East Renfrewshire constituency.” – The Guardian

  • Murphy challenges the Nationalists to back Labour in England – The Scotsman
  • New Labour candidate hopes to fight off SNP in Dundee West – The Guardian
  • Lab-Nat pact would be best for renewable energy, claims private investor – The Guardian

…as Sturgeon and McCluskey push Miliband ever farther to the left

“Britain’s biggest trade union chief is ganging up with SNP firebrand Nicola Sturgeon to demand Ed Miliband bin austerity. In a memo seen by The Sun, Len McCluskey and Unite heads praise Red Ed’s war on zero hours contracts and vows to scrap the bedroom tax, freeze fuel prices and cut tuition fees. But union leaders then reveal in the meeting: “Of course we will press for much more and in particular more radical action to end austerity.” It comes as the Labour leader faces growing pressure from Scotland’s First Minister to lurch further to the left. At the weekend, Ms Sturgeon challenged Ed to lead Labour into an anti-austerity alliance to “lock” David Cameron out of Downing Street.” – The Sun (£)

>Today: Dr Liam Fox in Comment: It’s time for us to nail the great anti-austerity lie

Labour recycle famous Tory employment line poster over GP appointments

Labour GP poster“Labour will today accuse the Tories of making it harder to see a GP as they attempt to put the NHS back at the centre of the election campaign. The party will launch a billboard advert using the image from the famous 1979 ‘Labour Isn’t Working’ poster, but instead it will warn: ‘The doctor can’t see you now’. The poster features the same long line of people used to illustrate dole queues under Jim Callaghan’s ailing government, but this time places them outside a waiting room.” – Daily Mail

  • Number of surgeries open evenings and weekends has fallen by 600, claim Labour – The Independent

Blair enters the campaign

“Tony Blair will make a dramatic intervention to help Labour’s Election campaign today – as party leader Ed Miliband shakes hands on the other side of the country. The former PM will issue a rallying cry to voters on the importance of Europe from Newton Aycliffe, the largest town in his former constituency of Sedgefield, Co Durham. Meanwhile Ed Miliband will be campaigning near Bristol, nearly five hours away by car. Tony Blair’s move comes with just one month left until Polling Day. And it follows a series of interviews where the former PM has appeared to criticise Ed Miliband’s leadership.” – The Sun (£)

  • Former Prime Minister warns of the Tory risk to business – Financial Times

Clegg heckled as he attacks Osborne…

Libdem bird vs TORY“Nick Clegg was heckled over his broken tuition fees pledge today as he ramped up his attack on George Osborne – with a stark warning that the Tory Chancellor is ‘a very dangerous man’. The Deputy Prime Minister was met by protesters in Surbiton, south-west London, who chanted: ‘Nick Clegg lied to me, he said uni would be free’. Mr Clegg ignored the protesters as he stuck to his message that only the Lib Dems can be trusted to balance the budget without hitting the poor.” – Daily Mail

…and Alexander is accused of lying about damaging Tory quote

“Danny Alexander was called a liar yesterday after he claimed that an unnamed senior Tory had said to one of his Liberal Democrat colleagues: “You take care of the workers and we’ll take care of the bosses.” The chief secretary to the Treasury said that the Conservative cabinet member made the comment in his presence in 2012 and that it was accompanied by “nervous laughter”. Sajid Javid, the Conservative culture secretary, seized on Mr Alexander’s reluctance to name the individual, alleging that his former Treasury colleague was well aware that the comment had never been made.” – The Times (£)

UKIP 1) Party forced to admit Tory ‘defector’ had already been sacked by the party

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage today insisted the Tories had suffered a ‘hammer blow’ after a former parliamentary candidate defected to Ukip – only for it later to emerge that he had already been sacked from the party last week. Mike Whitehead, who was standing against Labour’s Alan Johnson for the Tories in Hull, claimed he was joining Ukip after becoming ‘disgusted’ at the behaviour of the ruling Conservative group in his area. But the Tories this morning revealed they had already dropped Mr Whitehead as their candidate after he revealed he was planning to stand as an independent against a Tory councillor.” – Daily Mail

  • It must be an election! Farage poses with families in Thanet – Daily Mail
  • Aker hires a former National Front activist – The Times (£)

UKIP 2) As the party finds it has lost a quarter of its support in five months…

“UKIP has lost a quarter of all its voters in the last five months, The Sun can reveal – sending the party into panic. The revelation comes as David Cameron will today warn there is “just one month” left to save Britain from Ed Miliband’s “economic disaster”… Analysis by experts of YouGov opinion polls for The Sun reveals that support for the anti-EU party has fallen from an average of 16.75 per cent in November last year to just 12.25 per cent by the end of last month. The rate of haemorrhaging is also speeding up, meaning UKIP could drop below 10 per cent by polling day.” – The Sun (£)

UKIP 3) …Farage calls for activists to help him in Thanet

FARAGE laughing head“An embattled Nigel Farage has issued an appeal for help from Ukip supporters around the country, after it emerged that he is no longer favourite to the South Thanet seat in the general election. Messages posted to Mr Farage’s official Twitter and Facebook profiles asked his followers to “please do me a personal favour” and travel to the parliamentary seat in Kent to canvass on his behalf. Despite his combined Twitter and Facebook following of almost 350,000, the Ukip leader has been struggling to win over the voters he needs to ensure he becomes an MP in May.” – The Independent

Sturgeon claims that raising the pension age is unfair to Scots

“The SNP demanded the retirement age be frozen – in a move which would cost billions of pounds – as the latest price of propping up Ed Miliband in Downing Street in the event of a hung Parliament. Miss Sturgeon said the rising retirement age was particularly unfair for pensioners in Scotland because they don’t live as long as their counterparts in the rest of the country. At the same time, she issued a demand for a huge inflation-busting increase in the State pension, which would cost billions of pounds more.” – Daily Mail

  • First Minister claims memo is part of a ‘dirty tricks’ campaign – Daily Mail
  • View that Sturgeon wants me in Number 10 ‘widely held’, says Cameron – Daily Telegraph
  • Why did Douglas Alexander delete tweets attacking the First Minister over memo? – The Independent

Rachel Sylvester: Cynical Tories should stop collaborating with the SNP

CAMERON and SALMOND“There is a cynicism to the Tory strategy that puts short-term party political advantage over the long-term future of the UK — particularly extraordinary from the leader of what was once the Conservative and Unionist party… Now, as the election nears, senior Tories are beginning to worry about the short-termism of their leader’s approach to the campaign. One former cabinet minister told me: “I don’t think there’s a bone in Cameron’s body that wants to put the Union at risk but he also wants to do as much damage as possible to his political opponents. We have to be very careful — this is a card that can be over-played. The danger is that the Tory party becomes simply an English party when one of our great strengths has always been to aim to represent the whole nation.”” – The Times (£)

News in Brief:

  • Snowden reveals he never read the intelligence he leaked to the world – Daily Mail
  • Isolated Greece pivots east to Russia, China, and Iran – Daily Telegraph
  • Yorkshire teens slip through the net into Syria over Easter – The Times (£)
  • Belfast unionists must shout ever louder to assert their identity – Financial Times
  • Scientist claims to have ‘virtually unequivocal’ evidence of Christ’s remains – The Independent

And finally…Team2015 curry and hotel inducements to young activists complained of as ‘unfair’

Team2015“A resident also contacted the vote’s returning officer – who oversees the election – to complain they had been approached by an unnamed party activist in the polling station as they went to cast their ballot paper. And another complained that Tory donors allegedly supplied junior members with food and lodgings in exchange for hitting the campaign trail. The complainant said: ‘I feel sure other candidates in this election must have felt that this was completely unfair.’” – Daily Mail

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