Cameron pledges to add £1,000 to pensioners’ income within five years

Cameron1“David Cameron will today claim a Tory government will add another £1,000 to pensioners’ annual income within five years. The Prime Minister will say that, thanks to the Conservative ‘triple lock’, the basic state pension will rise to £6,999 a year by 2019/20 according to current forecasts. This is up from the £6,029 level of the basic state pension in 2015/16, according to the new analysis prepared by the Tories. Mr Cameron will say the huge rise contrasts with the record of Labour, which one year increased the pension by a paltry 75 pence. Launching the Tories’ pensioners’ manifesto, the Prime Minister said if you have worked hard during your life, saved, and paid your taxes, you deserve dignity when you retire.” – Daily Mail

>Today: Julian McCrae in Comment: Four tests for establishing whether the new Government means to keep its manifesto promises

Ask not what you can do for your career, critics tell Prime Minister

“After a campaign that has seen political leaders criticised for not levelling with the electorate, David Cameron appeared to engage in a moment of candour yesterday — as he described the election as a “career-defining” moment. The prime minister, who quickly corrected himself to say it was a “country-defining” election, was immediately attacked by his opponents for appearing to prioritise his own CV over the needs of the country. Mr Cameron is likely to step down should he fail to lead the next government. There may also be calls from within his party to oust him should he miss out on an overall majority.” – The Times (£)

  • The gaffe that could define the Tory leader’s election – Matt Dathan, The Independent


  • The moment Cameron’s Q&A careered out of control – Michael Deacon, Daily Telegraph
  • Cameron and the election’s career-defining moment – John Crace, The Guardian

Matthew Parris: Get Cameron! The Tory right is out for blood

CAMERON knives“David Cameron’s moment of maximum vulnerability will arrive very soon and I find myself this weekend less certain than I was at the campaign’s start that he will make it through, but still hopeful and increasingly fearful of the consequences should he fail. If the Tory right don’t get rid of Cameron within a few weeks of the general election, they know their chances will slip. If they do topple him they may capture, and later destroy, their party. At this stage they will hope to rely on a growing hunger among some Tories for opposition. Dangerous as that is, the prospect has its attractions. It is necessary to look into the intestines of minority government to understand why.” – The Times (£)

>Today: ToryDiary: If the Conservatives win more seats but Labour gains office, over half of party members think Cameron should remain Party leader

Duncan Smith attacks Labour for sneering at low-paid jobs

“Tory welfare chief Iain Duncan Smith has slammed ‘Middle Class’ Labour for “sneering” at the low paid jobs that give Brits a vital way back from a life on benefits. Speaking to the Sun he said all jobs were “good jobs” but Labour’s top team do not understand as “none of them seem to have done a day’s work in their life”. He warned that Ed Miliband will undo all the huge achievements his party have made reforming welfare – and encouraging “Benefits Street Britain” back to work – if they win the Election. And he blasted Labour for resorting to “desperately negative electioneering” by claiming David Cameron will cut tax credits and child benefits if he gets back into No.10.” – The Sun (£)

Tories could lose despite getting a million more votes than Labour

paint-map“Rob Hayward, a polling expert and former Tory MP, said that the spread of the Conservative vote across the country meant that the party could end up with about 40 fewer seats than Labour and the SNP combined, despite winning as many votes. If the Tory party is 3 per cent to 3.5 per cent ahead this time, they will be one million votes ahead of Labour in broad terms,” he said. “If the SNP get 50 per cent of the votes in Scotland, they will get one million votes. In other words, Labour and the SNP could be broadly the same [in terms of] total votes as the Conservatives. The significant thing for the Tories is that they would get roughly 280 to 285 seats. For the same number of votes, Labour and the SNP will be up at somewhere around 320.”” – The Times (£)

  • Conservatives clearly edging ahead in the final weeks – The Guardian

>Yesterday: Lord Ashcroft in Comment: My final round of marginals polling

Reeves claims Tories can’t be bothered to add up how much child benefit is sent overseas

“David Cameron has no idea how much it costs the British taxpayer to pay child benefit to 34,000 children living across the European Union, Labour has claimed. Despite the Prime Minister claiming it is ‘wrong’ that benefits are paid to families outside the UK, the government has admitted it does not keep records on how much public money is being exported each year. Labour’s Rachel Reeves today claims the Tories could ‘never be bothered’ to work out how much the scandal is costing taxpayers, as she vowed to get a grip on the problem if she takes office as Work and Pensions Secretary next week.” – Daily Mail



  • Sister Reeves stalled like a horse before a water jump – Quentin Letts, Daily Mail

Lab-Nat Pact 1) Miliband accused of misleading public as denial of SNP deal unravelsMILIBAND Red Ed

“Ed Miliband was last night accused of misleading voters as his denials over a Labour-SNP deal spectacularly unravelled. Critics said the Labour leader was ‘insulting people’s intelligence’ when he used a TV debate to claim he would not work with Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond. Within hours, a string of senior colleagues confirmed Labour will seek the support of the SNP – on course to win 50 or more MPs and hold the balance of power in a hung Parliament. Shadow health secretary Andy Burnham said ‘of course’ Labour would have a ‘dialogue’ with other parties. He was backed up by Labour’s energy spokesman Caroline Flint and local government spokesman Hilary Benn. Last night, Mr Miliband was greeted by pro-independence supporters in Glasgow shouting ‘Red Tories out’ and ‘traitors’.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour leadership u-turns over cooperation with nationalists – Daily Telegraph
  • Three quarters of top bosses fear ‘toxic’ Lab-Nat pact – Daily Mail
  • Labour would force SNP to vote for its Queen’s Speech or with the Tories – The Independent
  • Ugly scenes in Glasgow as separatists protest Miliband speech – Daily Mail
  • Deal or no deal? Labour pledge collapses – The Sun (£)
  • Tory tactical votes could save Murphy – Daily Telegraph


  • Miliband claims election is a clash of values, not nations – The Guardian
  • Murphy laments Labour complacency – The Scotsman


  • I won’t be voting Tory with enthusiasm, but the alternative is so unbearable I have never felt a stronger duty to do so – Tom Utley, Daily Mail
  • Ed dissembles shamelessly about his plans for the SNP – The Times (£) editorial
  • Labour’s flip-flopping is a taste of the economic and constitutional chaos to come – Daily Telegraph editorial

Lab-Nat Pact 2) How the SNP plan to woo Labour

“The SNP will highlight its positions on the economy, welfare spending and foreign aid in a bid to woo Labour after the general election, internal party documents have disclosed. The briefing papers, made for SNP MPs and candidates and passed to The Daily Telegraph, set out how the separatists will attempt to use their “influence” in Westminster to dictate Labour Party policies after the election. They set out policy areas where the two parties agree, allowing SNP MPs to vote alongside Labour politicians to ensure that laws are passed. However, the documents also set out the policy areas where the two parties disagree, for example over the Trident nuclear deterrent.” – Daily Telegraph

  • The documents showing how the Nationalists will hold Labour to ransom – Daily Telegraph
  • Greater powers will test SNP defences – Financial Times
  • Ed and Nicola: a Jackie magazine special – Daily Mail

>Yesterday: Iain Dale’s column: My hunch is that the Tory message on the SNP is getting through to voters

Party frustrated by leader’s weak defence of Brown’s deficit

MILIBAND Ed red background“Ed Miliband is facing a backlash from his own MPs and party grandees for refusing to apologise for Labour’s borrowing record, amid complaints that he was exposed as “weak and unprepared” when challenged by voters during a BBC debate. In Thursday’s debate audience members turned on Mr Miliband after he refused to accept that Labour spent too much money while in office – a stance senior figures complain risks appearance “incoherent” when the party is pledging to cut the deficit now. George Osborne, the Chancellor, said the exchange was a “watershed moment” and showed Mr Miliband “in utter denial”.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Kinnock is helping lead Ed back to the left, says son – The Sun (£)
  • McCluskey claims Miliband is ‘back on our side’ – The Times (£)

>Today: LeftWatch: Now Labour’s biggest donor backs Lutfur Rahman

>Yesterday: Video: WATCH: Miliband refuses to admit the last Labour government overspent

Ethnic minority voters ‘drop’ Labour

“Ethnic minority voters are deserting Labour in droves, polling indicates. Data from the British Election Study, analysed by BBC Newsnight, shows that Ed Miliband is on course to get just 47 per cent of the black and Asian vote. This is down from the 69 per cent of the ethnic vote that Gordon Brown captured in 2010. Meanwhile the proportion voting Conservative has increased from 16 per cent five years ago to around 23 per cent now. Any indication that Labour may capture less than half of the ethnic minority vote will be of deep concern to party strategists, and will lead to criticism that Labour has simply taken them for granted.” – Daily Mail

Umunna plans to purge Whitehall of business expertise

Umunna on Marr“Labour wants to purge Whitehall of business figures brought in by the Tories to shake up the civil service. Chuka Umunna, the party’s business spokesman, has queried the integrity of some of the commercial and industrial leaders brought in by the Coalition. He said not all of the so-called ‘government non-executives’ may be impartial, and some recent appointments have been ‘party political gifts’. Among the business leaders that have taken up senior Whitehall jobs are Lord Browne, the former head of BP, and Sir Ian Cheshire, former chief executive of DIY group Kingfisher.” – Daily Mail

  • We’ve fought for success, don’t put it at risk – Jo Malone, The Times (£)
  • Business must engage with EU vote soon or be caught off guard – Matthew Elliot, Daily Telegraph

Leaders faced ‘an audience of Gillian Duffys’

“Simon Wilkinson, 27, a barrister from Leeds, challenged Mr Miliband on the live broadcast over his claims that he would not team up with the SNP, accusing him of “misleading the country”. Speaking to The Times yesterday, Mr Wilkinson compared the show to the infamous occasion in 2010 when Gordon Brown was caught on camera describing Mrs Duffy, a voter from Rochdale, as “that bigoted woman”. “There’s a sense this election that the politicians are doing everything they can to avoid another Gillian Duffy moment. They met 160 Gillian Duffys last night, which is no bad thing,” Mr Wilkinson said. Labour cried foul after it was revealed that Catherine Shuttleworth, a Leeds-based business owner, told the producers who chose the audience that she was an undecided voter. This was despite the fact that she signed a small business letter organised by the Conservatives and set up her own company alongside a man who is now a Tory MP.” – The Times (£)

  • Businesswoman who took Miliband to task denies being a Tory – Daily Mail
  • How could I trust him? Audience member was not impressed – The Sun (£)
  • Audience members claim Miliband ‘insulted our intelligence’ – Daily Telegraph


  • We women know you can’t spend more than you earn – Amanda Platell, Daily Mail
  • Zombie politicians are heading our way – Hugo Rifkind, The Times (£)
  • The real voters who nailed Labour’s lies – Daily Mail editorial

Charles Moore: Cameron showed fighting spirit on Question Time, but did it come too late?

charlesmoore“Mr Cameron, who has finally realised that office is not his birthright, had the right air of urgency without slipping into panic. It was notable that no one in the audience questioned his capacities, though many disagreed with his policies. The Prime Minister did “weaponise” his case. He had a good line that the biggest single element in the cost of living is the tax we pay at the end of the month. He conveyed the difference between a country where work is the best welfare and one where living on benefits is a lifestyle choice. Challenged to talk about morality rather than economics, he replied confidently that the right economics – the chance to get a house for your family, start a business, build a career – are moral.” – Daily Telegraph

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: Yesterday evening’s Question Time Special. Cameron won – but will it matter?

Police probe Labour PPC over inappropriate messages to schoolgirl

“A Labour Party candidate has been investigated by police over ‘inappropriate’ social media contact with a 17-year-old public schoolgirl. Richard Garvie, 30, is said to have sent messages to the sixth former after addressing students at Wellingborough School, Northamptonshire, last week. It is believed the girl’s mother alerted the school after discovering Garvie had been contacting her daughter. Allegedly the would-be MP asked the girl whether she was doing anything that night and if she was ‘ready for bed?’. Both the £14,500-a-year co-ed school and the police immediately launched investigations into the matter.” – Daily Mail

  • Lord Janner was still director of his firm three weeks ago, fresh dossier suggests – Daily Mail

Clegg leaves way open to supporting a Lab-Nat pact

CURSE OF CLEGG one“Nick Clegg has left the door open to supporting a Labour-led government propped up by the SNP, despite previously pledging not to back Ed Miliband with “life support” from the Scottish nationalists. His stance came as Alistair Darling, the former Labour chancellor, said that a minority government would not last the course despite a law stipulating five-year fixed-term parliaments… Nick Clegg last week ruled out any “arrangements” with Labour that included the SNP. In a move that appeared to close off Mr Miliband’s most likely route to No 10, the Lib Dem leader said he could not back a government on a “life-support system where Alex Salmond could pull the plug at any time”. However, in an interview with The Times, he said: “I cannot dictate how other parties vote on individual measures, in the same way that no other party can dictate how the Liberal Democrats vote.”” – The Times (£)

  • Coalition colleague reveals Clegg was ‘keen’ to treble tuition fees – The Independent
  • Tories warn candidates of Lib Dem ‘dirty tricks’ – Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dem claims Cameron has ‘effectively resigned’ by making EU a red line – The Independent
  • I’ll make no pact with a party that wants to split the UK, but… – Clegg interview, Alice Thompson and Rachel Sylvester, The Times (£)

The scandals linked to SNP hopefuls

“One has fantasised about head-butting opponents. Another has compared pro-union supporters to Nazis and a third is alleged to have promoted a bogus Labour campaign group. Meet the SNP candidates who are expected to be taking their seats in the House of Commons after the General Election after the nationalists were predicted to win every seat in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, has been warned that an SNP clean sweep would mean some “unknown firebrands” would be among the new MPs, some of whom could “run riot” in Westminster.” – Daily Telegraph


  • It may take an SNP landslide for Scotland to wake up – Graeme Archer, Daily Telegraph

Farage steps up war of words with the BBC

UKIP glass“Nigel Farage declared all-out war with the BBC as he pledged to drastically cut its funding and influence. He has stepped up his attack on the broadcaster, accusing it of bias and claimed it had undermined his party’s chances at the General Election. He pulled out of an interview with BBC Radio 1 later on 1 May and has decided not to “collaborate” with the BBC’s news teams until he is given what he deems as fair coverage. He will only give set-piece interviews to the BBC, such as BBC 2’s Jeremy Vine Show and BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. He told Sky News: “Ukip are the fourth major party in British politics and that is something that has been respected by Sky, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5 but not by the BBC.” – The Independent

Green leader ‘open’ to the prospect of three-way marriages and civil partnerships

“Green party leader Natalie Bennett has revealed she is open to the idea of legalising three-way marriages. Party members could get the chance to formulate policy to permit so-called polyamorous relationships, which would allow more than two people to enter into marriages or have civil partnerships. Ms Bennett said the Greens had already led the way in calling for the liberalisation of marriage laws and is ‘open’ to going further.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief:

  • Riot police clash with leftists around the world on May Day – Daily Mail
  • UK MEPs unite against expenses transparency – The Times (£)
  • Creationism still taught in faith schools despite funding threat – Daily Telegraph
  • Sterling suffers bout of UK poll nerves – Financial Times
  • Bomb ‘targeting police’ exploded safely in Belfast – The Independent
  • Sinn Fein says party will always boycott Westminster – The Guardian
  • Former Labour MP Eric Joyce faces jail for attacking teenage boys – Daily Mail