Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. There are 39 days until the general election
  2. Iain Duncan Smith said "no decisions" had been made on where spending cuts of £12bn will come from
  3. Labour's Douglas Alexander warned against SNP attempts to drive down his party's vote
  4. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg kicked off his battle bus campaign
  5. Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson discussed his plans in the event of a hung parliament
  6. The SNP said it would support a 50p top rate of income tax across the UK - matching Labour policy

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and Justin Parkinson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Recap

Here's a recap of the main political stories of the day:

  • Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith told the Andrew Marr Show that
    no decisions had been made on where to make further benefit cuts, should the Conservatives win the general election
  • Mr Duncan Smith also said that the party would have to
    choose a new leader before the end of the next Parliament if David Cameron wins a second term as prime minister
  • On the same programme Labour's election co-ordinator Douglas Alexander said
    a Labour majority in the general election would be "difficult but doable"
  • DUP leader Peter Robinson said his party could work with
    either Labour or the Conservatives if there was a hung parliament after the general election.
  • At the party's conference in Glasgow, the SNP said it
    would support the introduction of a 50p top rate of income tax across the UK after the general election

That's it for tonight folks. Good night and we'll be back with all the news, reaction and analysis from 06:00 BST on Monday.

'Maths the same'

The Independent

"Whoever wins the election, the maths remains the same,"

writes Hamish Mcrae at the Independent. "The next chancellor's decisions will be constrained by the cyclical nature of the world's economy," he adds.

Spending row continues

Labour has hit back at the Conservatives, who accused the party of "letting the cat out of the bag" on plans to increase state borrowing. The criticism followed Labour's election campaign vice-chairman Lucy Powell telling the BBC's Sunday Politics that the party "may use some investment borrowing". But a Labour spokesman accused the Conservatives of employing "desperate stuff". He added: "Labour has set out a tough but balanced plan. We will cut the deficit every year, getting the current budget into surplus and national debt falling as soon as possible in the next parliament."

Register to vote

The deadline to register to vote in the general election is 20 April 2015. It takes around five minutes and you will need your National Insurance number. Click

here if you want to take part in the vote.

'High stakes' for PM

"This election will be simple - it's Dave versus all the rest,"

writes James Forsyth in the Mail on Sunday. "The stakes could hardly be higher," he argues. "If Cameron is returned to No10, he'll be on course to be a successful two-term prime minister who reformed education and welfare, revived the economy and renegotiated Britain's terms of EU membership. But if he loses, his political career will be over before his 49th birthday."

Clegg's canine coterie

Dogs were plentiful as Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg launched his battle bus tour.

Dog
Getty Images

This had the thickest fur.

Dog
Getty Images

But this dog was apparently the staunchest of Mr Clegg's own kennel club, proudly sporting the party's yellow rosette.

Dog
Getty Images

Deputy PM revs into action

Nick Clegg
Getty Images

Nick Clegg has launched his battle bus campaign in Oxfordshire, his hardy supporters braving the bad weather to see him on his way.

'Fundamentally stupid'

Alex Salmond
PA

Scotland's former first minister Alex Salmond has used his party's conference in Glasgow to say that Conservative attempts to portray Ed Miliband in being in his pocket are "fundamentally stupid". He told around 3,000 delegates during a question-and-answer session that the party's MPs were already experienced in Westminster "skulduggery". He said: "I think you should never, ever put your political opponents on your posters ... not because it's dreadful, but because it's stupid. I think the Tory campaign is fundamentally stupid. I don't think it's doing Labour any harm and I don't think it's doing us any harm whatsoever because the most important thing for the SNP in every Westminster election is to achieve the thing we failed to achieve since 1974, and that's to achieve relevance in a Westminster election."

Labour spending plans

Lucy Powell
BBC

There is growing debate about Labour MP Lucy Powell's run-in with Andrew Neil on the BBC's Sunday Politics earlier. Conservatives have since accused Labour of "letting the cat out of the bag" on plans to increase state borrowing, after election campaign vice-chairman Ms Powell said the party "may use some investment borrowing". Unlike the Conservatives, who have committed to balancing the overall budget by 2017-18, Labour has promised only to eliminate the current deficit on day-to-day spending by the end of the next parliament, in 2020, leaving open the option of borrowing money to invest in capital projects.

Ms Powell said: "We are going to balance the books for current expenditure by the end of the parliament. We may use some investment borrowing for much-needed investment but not for day-to-day spending. Those figures are other people's figures. It depends on what the books are like." Watch the clip

here.

'Balance of power'

Angus Robertson
PA

SNP Westminster leader Angus Robertson has been asked today about possibly working with Labour after the election. He said: "First off, let's get ourselves into a position where we are able to hold the balance of power. I have no plans to bring down any government. What I do want to do is have a government that is reflective of voters' wishes, and as we know voters in Scotland would prefer to see the SNP working together with the Labour Party if the majority allows that."

Leaving EU 'self harm'

Leaving the European Union would be an act of economic "self harm", Nick Clegg has said. The Liberal Democrat leader, launching his party's election battle bus campaign, said it was "stating the flaming obvious" the UK needed to be at the heart of Europe.

Duncan Smith's Cameron comments

Here's some more on Iain Duncan Smith, himself a former Conservative leader, saying the party would need to choose a replacement for David Cameron some time before the 2020 election.

Dianne Abbott, Labour MP

@HackneyAbbott

Tweets: This shameful mug is an embarrassment. But real problem is that immigration controls are one of our 5 pledges at all

Mug
@HackneyAbbott

'Controlling influence'

Peter Robinson
DUP

Northern Ireland First Minister Peter Robinson has suggested he will not support any Westminster government "in hock" to the Scottish National Party. Speaking to the World This Weekend on BBC Radio 4, the Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) leader said: "I certainly wouldn't be giving support to any party that was giving in to demands for separation.

"So, it's the extent to which separatist parties would have any controlling influence over that national party that would concern me. I am a unionist, by every fibre of my being. I want to oppose those who want to break up the United Kingdom. So I wouldn't like to see a national party in hock to the SNP."

Cameron 'clear' on future

After Iain Duncan Smith's comment that a Conservative leadership contest is likely "at some point" before 2020 because of David Cameron's decision not to stand for a third term as PM, a Downing Street source tells the BBC: "David is very clear he will serve a full five-year second term, every single day of that as PM. In terms of what happens in five years' time, we'll sort that out in five years' time."

'Difficult but doable'

Andrew Marr Show
PA

A Labour majority in the general election would be "difficult but doable", the party's election co-ordinator Douglas Alexander has said. Get the

full story here.

Mike Hancock will stand

Mike Hancock
BBC

MP Mike Hancock has told BBC News he will stand in the general election as an independent candidate. The Portsmouth South MP apologised in June last year for conducting an "inappropriate friendship" with a vulnerable female constituent. He resigned from the Liberal Democrats in September after he had the whip removed but remained an MP. Get the

full story here.

Mark Mardell, BBC presenter

@BBCMarkMardell

Tweets: Who'd make the best PM, Cameron or MIliband ? The SDLP's leader won't say even though party takes labour whip. #tw2 @ 1 R4

James Cook, Scotland correspondent

@BBCJamesCook

Tweets: Question to @alexsalmond: Why didn't we win? Answer in summary: we nearly did. We will yet. #snpconf

'We don't get buoyed'

Responding to the Sunday Times poll - which puts Labour four points ahead - Labour's campaign vice-chairwoman Lucy Powell told Sky News's Murnaghan programme: "Polls go up and down, so we don't get disheartened when they go down and we don't get buoyed when they go up. What is important about that poll is that very clearly it showed that Ed Miliband was the winner of the debate on Thursday night and we can see now why David Cameron doesn't want a head-to-head debate with Ed Miliband."

Ed Miliband, Labour leader

@Ed_Miliband

Tweets: I've written in @TheSundayMirror on
why I will ban exploitative zero hours contracts

'Completely unacceptable'

Rachel Reeves
PA

Labour's shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves has responded to Iain Duncan Smith's appearance on the Andrew Marr Show, saying: "The public have a right to know who will be hit by the Tories' plan and they must now come clean on their £12bn cuts. Iain Duncan Smith's refusal to admit how children, disabled people, carers and working families will be hit by secret Tory plans six weeks before the election is completely unacceptable."

Mark Mardell, BBC presenter

@BBCMarkMardell

Tweets: DUP leader says he wouldn't support party in hung Parliament 'in hock' to SNP demands that would harm the union. #tw2 r4 @ 1

No 'yeah'

Apologies for incorrectly stating earlier that Ed Miliband had said "Hell, yeah" during this week's grilling by Jeremy Paxman. It was, in fact, the more British "Hell, yes".

Update

With Parliament to be dissolved on Monday, it's been a busy old morning of electioneering. Labour has urged voters in Scotland not to back the SNP. SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has said it's "vital" her MPs continue voting on English laws. DUP leader Peter Robinson has suggested his party might work with either Labour or the Conservatives in the event of a hung parliament.

Meanwhile, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said plans on how to make £12bn of welfare savings are not yet finalised. And Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is about to get his battle bus - a familiar sight from all the main parties at general elections - on the road.

Welfare cuts

Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith has said "no decisions" have been made on where a Conservative government would cut the welfare budget by £12bn. Here's the

full story.

SNP 'to lead UK'

Nicola Sturgeon
EPA

The SNP is preparing "to lead the UK", with Alex Salmond expected to be a big voice at Westminster, leader Nicola Sturgeon has said. She told Sky News' Murnaghan programme that predecessor Mr Salmond, who is running to become an MP, could "frighten the life" out of opponents. She said it would be vital for her MPs to vote on English laws that have an impact on the Scottish budget, and said it was "outrageous" for Westminster politicians to dismiss the SNP when urging Scotland to reject independence.

Robinson on post-poll plans

Here's more on what

DUP leader Peter Robinson said earlier on the possibility of working with either the Conservatives or Labour in the event of a hung parliament.

Term talk terminated

Alan Duncan
BBC

Conservative MP Alec Duncan tells the BBC's Sunday Politics, when asked by Andrew Neil about whether David Cameron would serve a full second term in government: "I think we have to get away from this sort of conversation".

Davey dampens coalition talk

Ed Davey
Reuters

A Liberal Democrat Cabinet minister has cast doubt on another coalition with the Conservatives, as a senior figure from David Cameron's party admitted it would be "incredibly difficult" to win a majority at the general election. Ed Davey warned it would also be "very difficult" to get Lib Dem support for Conservative promises to hold an in-out referendum on European Union membership by 2017.

He told the Observer: "The Conservative position on Europe is potentially economic and environmental irresponsibility of the highest order." "Overall our voice in the debate will be dramatically reduced if at the time we are trying to renegotiate our membership of the EU club before a referendum," he added. "I am genuinely worried."

Labour's mug causes stir

A mug branded with the slogan "Control on immigration" that is being sold on Labour's online shop - 29 March 2015
Labour Party

Labour is taking some flak over a series of mugs it released on its

online shop to promote its five election pledges. The fourth pledge - "Controls on immigration" - has caused a bit of a stir, with the New Statesman
saying the vessel has been condemned as "unspeakably naff at best and outright racist at worst". As it stands though, Labour has sold more than
160 of the mugs, while the best performing of the other four is on 11.

Benefits

A frosty exchange between Labour's Lucy Powell and presenter Andrew Neil on the BBC's Sunday Politics. Ms Powell argues that there has been a "huge proliferation of people in work having to claim benefits".

SNP 'can make it happen'

Angus Robertson
PA

The SNP is on the verge of "making history" by winning more Scottish seats at Westminster than any other party, campaign director Angus Robertson has said. Speaking at a pre-election conference in Glasgow, he predicted: "We take nothing for granted - but we know what is possible. Let's make it happen."

John Pienaar

@JPonpolitics

tweets: I'll be doing a Facebook chat on the General Election tomorrow from 1:30pm. You can post your questions
here

Nigel Farage, UKIP leader

@Nigel_Farage

tweets: A horrid, sneering attack on Thanet in the Sunday Times today. Epitomises all that's wrong with the establishment

Newspaper article
@Nigel_Farage

Hunt backs NHS plan

Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said the Conservative Party will spend an extra £8bn on the NHS if it wins the general election, to fund a five-year plan drawn up by its chief executive. Mr Hunt said the government would fully fund the plan drawn up by NHS England boss Simon Stevens, which would see £2bn being pumped into the health service every year until 2019-20. The "Stevens plan" would see a total of £30bn put into the NHS, with £22bn found through efficiency savings and £8bn in extra spending. Until now only the Liberal Democrats had pledged to find the money but Mr Hunt has signed the Conservatives up to the plan.

Paul Waugh, editor of PoliticsHome.com

@paulwaugh

Tweets:
IDS on £12bn welfare cuts: "We may or may not decide it's relevant to put something out there"

'Changing lives'

Earlier on The Andrew Marr show, Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith insisted he believed £12bn pounds of cuts in welfare spending was achievable. Pressed on whether there would be more detail ahead of the election, he said: "When we're right and when we're ready, we'll talk about what we plan to do, but there are lots of things we want to do which are actually about changing lives."

Norman Smith, BBC assistant political editor

@BBCNormanS

Tweets: Marr Q: He (Cameron) has to stand down before next election ? IDS : He does. Oops. @MarrShow

Yes to 'Hell, yeah'

Labour MP Rushanara Ali says it's "brilliant" that people latch on to political phrases, including the "Hell, yeah" offered by Ed Miliband earlier this week, when asked if he was fit and ready to become PM. Labour has started printing T-shirts bearing the expression.