For a strong government and Union, The Independent backs the Coalition

CAMERON Lib-Con“A hung parliament is certain this week. For all his talk of no deals with the SNP, Miliband is bound to rely on that party to get his legislative programme through. This would be a disaster for the country, unleashing justified fury in England at the decisive influence of MPs who – unlike this title – do not wish the Union to exist. If that were to be the case while Labour were the second biggest party either in terms of vote share, or seats – or both – how could Labour govern with authority? They could not. Any partnership between Labour and the SNP will harm Britain’s fragile democracy. For all its faults, another Lib-Con Coalition would both prolong recovery and give our kingdom a better chance of continued existence. This title casts no vote. But we prize strong, effective government, consider nationalism guilty until proven innocent, and say that if the present Coalition is to get another chance, we hope it is much less conservative, and much more liberal.” – The Independent editorial


Coalition 1) Lib Dem peer tweets alleged admission that Tories can’t win a majority

“David Cameron privately admitted to Nick Clegg that the Tories could not win a majority at the election, one of the Deputy Prime Minister’s aides claimed this morning. The Lib Dem peer Lord Scriven said Mr Cameron was ‘lying’ by claiming the Tories are targeting 23 seats to achieve a Tory majority. The allegation drew a furious denial from Tory aides who insisted it was ‘100 per cent untrue’ and showed that the Lib Dem campaign was in a state of panic. Mr Clegg refused to deny Lord Scriven’s comments but said there was ‘quite a gulf’ between what Conservatives were saying publicly and privately and that claims they could get an overall majority were a ‘big, fat fib’.” – Daily Mail

  • Conservative fury over Lib Dem claim – Daily Telegraph
  • Lib Dems resort to dirty tactics in Brecon and Radnorshire – Daily Telegraph
  • Aidan Turner leads Tory charge into Lib Dem South West heartlands – The Sun (£)
  • Sunny skies on polling day an ill omen for the right – The Times (£)


Coalition 2) Tactical vote may give Clegg lifeline

Nick Clegg 16-04-15“Nick Clegg is on course to be spared a humiliating election defeat by Tory supporters voting tactically to keep out Labour, a new poll has suggested. Previous polls carried out in his Sheffield Hallam constituency had revealed a small lead for Labour thanks to an energetic local campaign, which has been assisted by senior MPs hoping to topple the deputy prime minister. The latest poll by ICM for The Guardian found that Mr Clegg had 42 per cent of the vote, seven points ahead of Oliver Coppard, his Labour rival, who was on 35 per cent. Ian Walker, the Tory candidate, was a distant third on 12 per cent. Widespread tactical voting appeared to be behind Mr Clegg’s lead.” – The Times (£)

  • ‘I did not go into government to look for mates’, says Lib Dem leader – The Independent
  • ‘Breathtaking’ surge of Tory tactical voters could save Deputy Prime Minister – The Guardian
  • At last, some good news for Clegg – The Guardian


Iain Duncan Smith describes UKIP vote as national ‘suicide note’

“Voting for UKIP is like writing a “suicide note” which will “not be forgiven” if it denies Britain the chance to vote on whether to remain a member of the EU, Iain Duncan Smith warns today. In a heartfelt intervention just 48 hours before polling day, the former Conservative leader urges those considering voting UKIP not to jeopardise a decades-long campaign he has waged to change Britain’s relationship with Brussels. The Work and Pensions Secretary describes a vote for Ukip as “unfathomable” as it risks allowing a weak minority Labour government – backed by the SNP – to seize control of Downing Street. Mr Duncan Smith’s comments, in an interview with The Daily Telegraph, come as senior Conservative figures prepare to fan out across Britain today and tomorrow in a last ditch attempt to win around voters.” – Daily Telegraph

  • Interview with the Work and Pensions Secretary – Daily Telegraph
  • The seats where a vote for UKIP will most help Red Ed – The Sun (£)
  • Esther McVey: “the jaunty Tory Scouser who, with her boss Iain Duncan Smith, has made it harder for benefits skivers to suck off the state.” – Quentin Letts’ sketch, Daily Mail

Javid heckled over detention of asylum seekers

JAVID Sajid black background“A Tory cabinet minister was dramatically confronted by a woman who escaped genocide in Bosnia at an election rally after he refused to commit to ending indefinite detention of asylum seekers. Sajid Javid, the culture secretary, was heckled at the pre-election Citizens UK assembly on Monday, where he took the prime minister’s place at the podium in front of thousands of community activists. David Cameron had been due to appear at the rally, having promised to return at the last one, five years ago. However, he pulled out of this event, sending one of his most junior cabinet ministers in his place.” – The Guardian

Andrew has a fight on his hands in Pudsey

“Polls suggest a dead heat and there are signs the campaign tone is souring. Mr Hanley on Friday reported on Twitter sightings of a man in a motorcycle helmet removing Labour placards and replacing them with Conservative ones. Mr Andrew says Labour has “bussed in” activists. Mr Andrew has given residents a six-point pledge. One is to protect the greenbelt, while others focus on job creation, with unemployment halving since 2010, and defend the cuts. “Every Labour government has cost us a fortune. We have to get our house in order. It’s just like my mum having to stretch the family budget,” he told the Financial Times in his crowded office in Horsforth.” – Financial Times

Labour can’t ‘grab power’ after finishing second, claims Prime Minister

Cameron1“David Cameron last night warned voters will have ‘serious questions and problems’ if Labour tries to seize power having come second in the General Election. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Mail, he appealed to undecided, Lib Dem and Ukip voters to swing behind the Conservatives to avoid the ‘chaos of Miliband plus the SNP’. He issued his strongest warning about the legitimacy of a minority Labour government propped up by the SNP’s Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond. They have vowed to try to install Ed Miliband in No 10 even if Labour wins 40 fewer seats than the Tories.” – Daily Mail

  • Osborne warns of ‘fallout Friday’ if Miliband takes office – Daily Telegraph
  • Tory leader makes 36-hour dash for finish line – The Times (£)
  • Tory leader hops on campaign bus for one last ride – Financial Times
  • PM’s appeal to UKIP waverers in final blitz – The Sun (£)
  • Miliband’s plot to take office despite defeat – Daily Telegraph
  • Kinnock’s daughter in law shows how to win from second place – The Times (£)
  • Dave is finally working his energy up – Jane Fryer, Daily Mail

>Today: ToryDiary: From 2020 an historian writes: How they missed Cameron once he was gone!

Rachel Sylvester: Ed knows he can be the loser who wins

“Although some in his party are nervous, it is clear from people I spoke to yesterday that the Labour leader has absolutely no intention of agreeing to the definition of “legitimacy” being put out by the Conservatives. His allies have been studying the cabinet manual — the “guide to laws, conventions and rules on the operation of government” that Sir Jeremy Heywood, the cabinet secretary, will follow in the event of an ambiguous result. This makes absolutely clear that legitimacy is based on an ability to get votes through the House of Commons, not on winning the largest number of seats.” – The Times (£)

Miliband accuses Cameron of ‘constitutional outrage’ if he ‘squats’ in Number 10

MILIBAND Ed red background“Labour will accuse David Cameron of “a constitutional outrage” if he tries to “squat” in Downing Street after Thursday’s election without being able to muster a Commons majority with the help of other parties. Ed Miliband’s allies are worried that Mr Cameron will attempt to hang on as prime minister if the Conservatives win more seats than Labour but Labour would have more chance of seeing the Queen’s Speech approved by MPs with the backing of the Scottish National Party and other parties. The new government’s programme will be unveiled on May 27, with a vote due on June 4. Tory insiders suggest Mr Cameron would stay on in the hope that the public would regard the party with the most seats as the winner, while seeing a deal put together by the runner-up as a “coalition of the losers.”” – The Independent

  • Labour fear Tories may stay on even if Coalition loses majority – The Guardian

>Yesterday: ToryDiary: If he has a chance of forming a government on Friday, Cameron should stay on

…as he asks the unions to save his bid for Number 10…

“Ed Miliband is set to hold talks with union bosses within 48 hours of the polls closing as he tries to shore up support for entering No 10 without a Commons majority. As a row broke out yesterday over the legitimacy of a government led by the “losing” party, it emerged that Mr Miliband would seek union backing at an emergency meeting of the national executive committee (NEC), which could be held as soon as Saturday, according to a member of Labour’s ruling body. Under new internal rules, Mr Miliband also needs to consult Labour MPs before trying to form a government without an overall majority. Shadow cabinet members admitted that he would need to “build legitimacy” if the opinion polls are correct and he wins fewer seats than Mr Cameron.” – The Times (£)

>Today: LeftWatch: Russell Brand’s endorsement will be a net loss for Labour

…again denies that Labour overspent in office…

MILIBAND Red Ed“There was uproar yesterday when Ed Miliband insisted the last Labour government did not spend too much taxpayers’ money and he was ‘proud’ of its record. The Labour leader, pressed on why Britain had entered the financial crisis with one of the biggest structural deficits in the industrial world, refused to accept his party had been profligate. ‘On the increase in public spending, I’m proud that we increased spending in hospitals, in schools,’ he told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme. ‘There was a financial crisis – and the financial crisis drove the deficit upwards. The debt and the deficit before the financial crisis were lower than those we inherited and that’s clear.’ Labour’s critics say that had it not allowed public spending to run riot in the years before the crash, it would have meant less austerity – which has come mostly in the form of public spending cuts – to repair the damage.” – Daily Mail

  • The £200bn bombshell in Labour’s manifesto – Daily Telegraph
  • Hospitals face £1.9bn black hole, claim Labour – The Independent
  • Security staff at Labour HQ don’t earn the living wage – Daily Mail
  • Party’s second slave-wage gaffe – The Sun (£)
  • Cameron won’t take lectures from Miliband on low-wage workers – The Guardian


  • The choice in this election is Labour chaos or Tory stability – Daily Telegraph

…and defends the tens of thousands spent on the ridiculed ‘Edstone’

“Ed Miliband yesterday defended his bizarre plan to erect an 8ft monument to his manifesto pledges in the Downing Street garden, as David Cameron vowed to make it a ‘tombstone for Labour’. The Labour leader insisted the limestone sculpture, said to have cost tens of thousands of pounds, was designed to show his pledges were literally ‘carved in stone’. It was unveiled at the weekend to near-universal ridicule and mocking images on the internet, many depicting Mr Miliband as Moses with the Ten Commandments. He said ‘working people’ would be able to see the piece and hold his government to account, until it was pointed out that members of the public would not be able to view it over the No 10 wall. Mr Miliband was accused of hubris ‘on a biblical scale’ after appearing in front of the stone and suggesting he would gaze out on it every day as prime minister.” – Daily Mail

  • Labour leader could be jailed for raising the Mili-lith – Daily Telegraph
  • Why Obama rejected this stone stunt – Andrew Pierce, Daily Mail
  • Plan demonstrates a lack of seriousness, claims Clegg – The Independent
  • British Jews ambivalent about Miliband win – Financial Times

Comment and Editorial:

Janan Ganesh: Good riddance to a carnival of nonsense and futility

Janan Ganesh“If Britain’s political class had spent the past five weeks digging a hole in the ground and filling it up again, they would have more to show for their work than they do now. Let us not be coy about this: the general election campaign, which concludes on Thursday, has been a carnival of nonsense and futility. At best, it has washed over the public, whose voting intention has not changed all year… At worst, the campaign has embarrassed this country with its studious avoidance of little things such as fiscal reality and the state of the world. We have seen politicians of the left propose price interventions and politicians of the right suggest banning tax increases by law. A country that has not balanced a budget since 2002 has developed the bravado of a country with a sovereign wealth fund, forever arguing with itself about how to use surplus revenue that does not exist.” – Financial Times

Balls admits whoever wins most seats ‘likely’ to form the next government

“The largest party after the election should form the next government, Ed Balls as signalled. Labour’s shadow chancellor told MailOnline that ’all the evidence’ points to whichever party wins the most seats taking power. It comes amid claims the Tories could end up with most MPs after Thursday’s election, but could be locked out of power by an alliance between Labour and the SNP. Polls continue to show the result is too close to call, by the electoral mathematics means it is likely that the Conservatives will have most MPs, while Labour faces near-wipeout in Scotland.” – Daily Mail

  • Activists bussed in to save the Shadow Chancellor – The Sun (£)

Labour accuse SNP of setting mob on Murphy

LABOUR holes“Labour tonight accused the SNP of tipping off a mob of nationalist campaigners – after the party’s leader in Scotland Jim Murphy was forced to abandon a planned rally when he was confronted by dozens of angry campaigners. A group of around 30 separatist activists hurled abuse at Mr Murphy, who was campaigning in Glasgow with the comedian Eddie Izzard, eventually forcing the pair to flee in a getaway car. In scenes reminiscent of some of the confrontations during last year’s independence referendum – when Mr Murphy was egged, spat at and abused during a 100-day tour of Scotland – then chased the pair as they attempted to leave. A young girl was left in floods of tears by the aggressive scenes, which also saw a photographer and TV reporter pushed to the floor, and several activists caught up in a violent scrum.” – Daily Mail

Norman Tebbit: Labour’s Scottish doldrums are a game changer

“In England, certainly, the Lib Dems have lost a bit to the Greens and to “none of the above”, whilst the Tories and some Labour supporters have dallied with Ukip. But Scotland is different; Salmond and Sturgeon have capitalised brilliantly on that remoteness of the Westminster establishment which is compounded by the geekiness and suburban character of Mr Milliband. There are parallels here with the blow suffered by Edward Heath in the early 1970s, at which time the Ulster Unionists had for years taken the Conservative Whip. Indeed, Robin Chichester Clark (the Member for Londonderry) had served as a Minister in the Heath government. But they were wiped out at the 1974 election, costing the Tories 12 seats. Mr Milliband could well be hit four times as hard as that.” – Daily Telegraph

SNP 1) Sturgeon refuses to rule out second referendum

SNP logo white background“Labour last night put a six-year ‘moratorium’ on another independence referendum at the heart of its struggling election campaign as Nicola Sturgeon refused to rule out a fresh constitutional battle. In a desperate attempt to persuade pro-Union supporters to stop an SNP landslide on Thursday, Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy used a live TV debate to challenge the First Minister to put separation on hold. The debate came as a new poll shows only 36 per cent of Scots want another referendum within the next decade. But Miss Sturgeon said she – and not her party’s 110,000 members – would decide whether or not to include plans for a second referendum in next year’s Holyrood manifesto, despite promising voters that last September’s contest would settle the issue for at least 15 years.” – Daily Mail

  • …but concedes that winning every seat in Scotland would not be mandate for one – The Independent
  • First Minister claims UK government ‘illegitimate’ without Scottish support – Daily Telegraph
  • Unionists struggle to pull together tactical voters – Financial Times
  • Greens and SNP tap into grassroots with election fundraising – Financial Times

SNP 2) Holyrood Cabinet members ordered straight to London on May 8 to begin negotiations

“Nicola Sturgeon has ordered key members of her Holyrood cabinet, along with nationalist MPs with experience of Westminster, to be in London immediately after the election to “begin negotiations”, according to senior sources. The Scottish National Party is preparing for post-election talks despite Labour leader Ed Miliband ruling out a formal deal with the party. Ms Sturgeon has stated that she will personally lead any negotiations if her party holds the balance of power after the arithmetic of the election is known. Alongside the SNP leader herself, key members of the negotiating team will include the deputy leader Stewart Hosie, and Angus Robertson, the current group leader at Westminster and spokesman on defence and foreign affairs.” – The Independent

>Today: ToryDiary: Election Sketch: Mundell has a better chance than most of surviving the SNP tsunami

>Yesterday: Lord Flight’s column: In Scotland, the Conservatives, Labour and the Liberals should merge into a single Unionist Party

UKIP looks north to double its council seat score

UKIP glass“Ukip is poised to gain up to 400 new councillors on Thursday, while the Conservatives expect a drubbing in the local elections, experts have predicted. The eurosceptic party may pick up only two or three parliamentary seats, but it could be compensated by ­doubling its army of councillors to 750. A chunk of these seats is likely to be picked up in northern cities at Labour’s expense, which could prove highly damaging in the next parliament. “We will remind Labour of their mortality in the north,” said a Ukip spokesman. “In Westminster Ukip may pick up 12 to 15 per cent of the vote but get less than 1 per cent of the seats. The local elections will be the proof of the pudding that we are on the march.”” – The Times (£)

  • Party launches Scottish manifesto – The Independent
  • Bow Group plunged into infighting as Chairman of ‘oldest Tory think tank’ backs UKIP – Daily Telegraph

Bennett claims she is being victimised for being a migrant

“Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has complained that she is being “demonised” in the immigration debate because she is from Australia. Miss Bennett, who was born in Australia but is a British citizen, made the claim as she said the Greens would end immigration detention, and change immigration rules which mean that only those with a salary above £18,600 can apply for spousal visas. She said: “I’m standing here today as a migrant, as someone who came to this country and chose to make my life here. And today I’m here to take a stand against those who seek to demonise me and those like me for making that choice.”” – Daily Telegraph

  • One in five university staff plan to vote Green, says survey – The Independent

Galloway could face probe over PA’s claims about his work ethic

GALLOWAY George“George Galloway could face an investigation by the Commons expenses watchdog after his former parliamentary secretary claimed that he wasted public money on personal chores. Aisha Ali-Khan has lodged an official complaint alleging she spent more time on Mr Galloway’s personal errands than she did on parliamentary duties when she worked for the Bradford West MP. Ms Ali-Khan said she was asked to carry out a list of non-parliamentary tasks during her six months working for Mr Galloway in 2012, including shopping for his underwear and planning his wedding. Solicitors acting for Ms Ali-Khan have now filed an official complaint with the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority (IPSA), claiming Mr Galloway breached his obligations to use parliamentary funds only for parliamentary functions and activities.” – Daily Mail

News in Brief: