Newspaper headlines: Focus on final push in election campaign

As the general election campaign approaches its frantic conclusion, the papers cover the final pushes and look ahead to the possible fallout.

The Financial Times suggests that David Cameron and Ed Miliband have already started their manoeuvring in anticipation of no outright result.

"Mr Cameron has ordered his policy chief Oliver Letwin to work on a deal with the Liberal Democrats, amid warnings that Nick Clegg will demand 'a heavy price' if his party is to consent to Tory demands for an EU referendum," it says.

"Meanwhile, Ed Miliband indicated that he is resigned to Labour not winning a Commons majority, setting out what aides said was his bottom line if forced into coalition negotiations."

The Independent reports that Mr Clegg predicted a re-run of the election before Christmas if either of the two main parties attempt to "swagger through with a messy and unstable minority government".

Former PM Sir John Major is featured on the front pages of the Telegraph and the Mirror, which have widely different messages.

The Telegraph says he warns against a minority Labour government propped up by the SNP, while the Mirror says Sir John gave a recorded speech in which he said the Conservatives had failed on poverty and education.

The Sun reprises that infamous picture of Mr Miliband struggling to munch his way through a bacon sandwich, and through a series of porcine puns urges its readers to keep the Labour leader out of office.

In the Express, UKIP leader Nigel Farage appeals to its readers to vote for his party, and the Mail certainly isn't sitting on the fence: "For sanity's sake don't let a class-war zealot and the SNP destroy our economy - and our very nation."

Matt's cartoon on the front page of the Telegraph sums it up well - it shows clairvoyant "Madame Zara", who claims to see the future, simply running away from her crystal ball screaming: "Aaaaaarrrrggghhhhh".


Spice route

Ann Treneman in the Times describes Mr Clegg's visit to an Indian restaurant on a hectic day for the party leaders on the campaign trail.

"Nick Clegg in charge of a frying pan is a fire hazard. It was alarming to watch the deputy prime minister, dressed in a pinny, in a tiny kitchen at the Indian restaurant Dabbawalla in Cardiff, trying to get to grips with the basics of a bhuna," she says.

"I know they say that flames 'leap up' but with Nick they do not leap so much as trampoline to the Moon. As I watched him, flames dancing, one word entered my head. Why?

"But then I realised it was obvious. It was a kitchen! He was a politician! Where else would he be but here, almost singeing his eyebrows as the photographers clicked away?"

The Guardian's John Crace also followed Mr Clegg on the spice route.

He writes in his sketch: "'To be honest, I'm not too optimistic,' says Jenny Willott.

Image copyright PA
Image caption Currying favour: Nick Clegg hot on the campaign trail

"The Lib Dem MP for Cardiff Central isn't talking about retaining her seat, though she admits it is going to be tight, but of her party leader cooking a decent curry at the Dabbawalla Indian restaurant, where the Lib Dem battle bus, aka Plucky, is due at lunchtime.

"Every journey has to have a beginning and an end, and the Lib Dems have decided that Plucky's should begin at Land's End at dawn yesterday and end at John O'Groats late today. No-one is too sure whether the journey is more symbolic or futile."

The Telegraph's Michael Deacon tracks the movements of the notorious "I'm afraid there is no money" note, pulled out by Mr Cameron on the BBC Question Time leaders' special last Thursday, left by outgoing Labour Treasury minister Liam Byrne to his successor after the last election.

"Mr Cameron shouted 'I bring this note with me everywhere!'," he says.

"First he paraded the note during a speech in south London; then again during a speech in north London; then he flew it on a chartered plane to Cornwall; then he presented it at a Conservative Party rally in St Ives; then he took it on a trip to Torbay in Devon; then finally, after a stop-off in Bristol, he accompanied it to Brecon in mid-Wales.

"The note is said to be enjoying the opportunity to get out and meet ordinary voters, although it would have appreciated a seat of its own on the plane, as Mr Cameron's jacket pocket is somewhat lacking in leg room and it didn't get a sniff of the in-flight film."


'Princess food'

One has to hand it to the Queen: she is not a woman who hangs around unnecessarily, says the The Times.

The paper explains that the monarch stayed for just half an hour when she visited her new great-granddaughter, Princess Charlotte, at Kensington Palace.

The Times states that this was in distinct contrast to the baby's grandmother Carole Middleton, the first family visitor on Sunday morning, the day after the princess's birth, arriving with her daughter Pippa and staying for six hours.

"Royal protocol dictates that if you have an appointment to meet the Queen, it is she who does the receiving," says the Telegraph. "Unless, that is, you happen to be a baby princess."

Image copyright PA
Image caption The Queen spent half an hour with her new great-granddaughter

The Telegraph reports that the Queen, who had spent the weekend at Sandringham, was driven to Kensington Palace for her first cuddle with the new fourth in line to the throne before being taken back to Buckingham Palace.

"Great Granny's turn!" is the headline in the Mail. "Cuddles for Charlotte from a great granny," says the Express.

The Mail reproduces Charlotte's birth certificate which gives her parents' occupations as Prince of the United Kingdom and Princess of the United Kingdom.

The Sun catches up with another Charlotte Cambridge, a 19-year-old shop assistant from Leigh-on-Sea in Essex.

She tells the Sun that she celebrated the royal birth with a meal at a pub chain restaurant. "I always enjoy ribs but I'm not sure that's princess food," she says.


Straight talking

The Times reports that a new weapon in the battle against binge drinking has been discovered by psychologists: straight glasses slow down the time it takes to sink a beer by a significant amount.

Experts at the University of Bristol worked out that the average time taken to drink half a pint of lager was 11.5 minutes from a straight glass compared with 7.5 minutes from a curved glass.

A second series of experiments, the Times tells us, revealed that pubs swapping curved glasses for straight ones saw their takings plummet by 24% over a series of weekends.

Researchers, suspecting that drinkers were overestimating how much beer was left in a curved glass, found drinking time was slowed down when three-quarter, half and quarter volume marks were put on glasses.

The university's David Troy explains the thinking behind the research, telling the Times: "We felt it was important to determine what environmental factors are contributing to excessive use and how they can be altered to nudge drinkers towards more responsible consumption."

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Regent Street Cinema is the birthplace of public screenings in the UK

And the Independent says a historic cinema is back in the picture 120 years after its original screening.

The 187-seat Regent Street Cinema, closed to the public since 1980, will re-open in a Grade II-listed building, now owned by the University of Westminster, in central London after a £6.1m restoration.

"When the Lumiere brothers brought the first moving picture show to Britain in the late 19th Century, legend has it that audience members were so terrified by the images of an approaching train they fled the Regent Street theatre," remarks the Independent.

"Now 120 years on from that first demonstration, the historic site that marked the birthplace of public cinema in the UK is to welcome filmgoers once again."

The cinema has a rather interesting history, the paper says, being regularly attended by an incognito Princess Margaret. It also showed the first X-rated film.

Anna McNally, assistant archivist at the University of Westminster, says: "It's great to resurrect this bit of cinema history.

"No-one expects there to be a cinema buried in a university building on Regent Street. We hope to see similar numbers to the crowds that queued round the block for the Lumieres' films."


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