Election 2015: 17 April at-a-glance
A daily guide to the key stories, newspaper headlines and quotes from the campaign for the 7 May general election.
The campaign goes on
Day in a nutshell
- UK unemployment has fallen to its lowest rate since July 2008, official figures have shown. The number of jobless people dropped by 76,000 to 1.84 million in the three months to February, the ONS says
- Conservative leader David Cameron is campaigning in the Midlands and in Wales, with a speech on jobs
- Elsewhere, Labour is unveiling its Scottish manifesto in Glasgow. The party also launched its youth manifesto in Lincoln and Ed Miliband called for an end to unpaid internships.
- Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is also in Scotland, where he urged Conservative and Labour voters to vote Lib Dem to defeat the SNP
- Across in Northern Ireland the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) launched its manifesto and outlined tax reductions and extra money for mental health as part of its price for joining a coalition.
- In other news, the head of the International Monetary Fund, Christine Lagarde, has endorsed the UK government's economic strategy
- And a BBC survey suggests nearly a quarter of Asian voters do not know which party they will support at the general election
- The five main Westminster opposition parties took part in a TV debate on Thursday night, where Labour leader Ed Miliband clashed with the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon
- In a poll of 1,013 viewers conducted by Survation for the Daily Mirror, Mr Miliband came out on top in the debate, with 35% judging him the winner, narrowly ahead of Nicola Sturgeon on 31%
Keep up with all the days events on our live page.
On today's unemployment figures:
Speaking in Leeds David Cameron said: "There are now two million more people in work than in 2010 - that's more families with the stability and security of a regular pay packet. This is thanks to the hard work and the determination of the British people, and the Conservatives' strong leadership and clear economic plan."
Labour's Rachel Reeves, shadow work and pensions secretary, said: "Today's fall in overall unemployment is welcome, but with working people earning on average £1,600 less a year since 2010 and the biggest fall in wages over a parliament since 1874, it's clear the Tory plan is failing."
Danny Alexander, the Chief Secretary to the Treasury, said: "Britain is the job creation powerhouse of the Western economies. With record numbers of people in work and the highest employment rate ever, people can see the difference Lib Dems have made in government."
On Thursday's TV debate
UKIP leader Nigel Farage on the audience at the debate: "The BBC chose the wrong people. Am I going to make a complaint? I've got an election to fight. What really matters is not the 200 people in room; what really matters are the millions of people who watched on television."
Conservative leader David Cameron: "I saw the leaders of the red party, the green party, the purple party, the yellow party from Scotland - the SNP, all saying different things but all meaning the same thing, which is they want to scrap the plan that has created two million jobs in our country, that is paying down the deficit and making Britain success story and they all to one degree or another think that the right answer is to install Ed Miliband in Downing Street, backed by the SNP."
Asked by interviewer Piers Morgan why David Cameron had "chickened out", Iain Duncan Smith told ITV's Good Morning Britain: "He didn't. He's done two debates so far, he's done the head-to-head leaders' debate through Jeremy Paxman. You won't say that's an easy debate I don't think?"
Labour leader Ed Miliband on David Cameron: "If you [David Cameron] believe this election is about leadership then debate me one-on-one."
Responding to calls for an alliance with the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, Mr Miliband said: "You have got a very odd approach because you claim you want a Labour government, but you are saying anyone but Labour. In England you are saying 'vote Green', in Wales 'vote Plaid Cymru'..."
SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon: "I want Labour to be bolder and deliver the change we need. Don't turn your back on that, Ed [Miliband], and let David Cameron back into Downing Street."
Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood: "So far I've had very positive feedback. I went to London in order to speak for Wales, I managed to do that and I also managed to put the leader of the opposition on the spot, particularly in terms of his failure to commit to an emergency budget to reverse the Tory cuts..."
Green leader Natalie Bennett: "You [Ed Miliband] want to cap child benefit for two years... You want to, in a classic kind of Labour half-way house, cut university tuition fees by a third, which is better than what we've got now, but just a very modest improvement."
What happens after the election if there is a hung parliament? Which parties might agree to work together and who may hold the balance of power? Play our game to find out.
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