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  1. The general election campaign is officially under way
  2. Parliament has dissolved and MPs have officially reverted to being members of the public
  3. David Cameron urged voters to keep him in power to finish the job of turning the economy around
  4. Ed Miliband launched his party's business manifesto and warns of the risks of an EU referendum
  5. Nick Clegg would not say if his party would block an EU referendum if it entered another coalition with the Tories
  6. There are 38 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Angela Harrison, Marie Jackson, Catherine McGowan and Tom Moseley

All times stated are UK

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Monday recap

The election campaign formally started after Parliament was dissolved.

- The Conservatives defended a claim that working families faced a £3,028 average tax rise under Labour after a leading think tank said the figure was "unhelpful"

- Ed Miliband launched Labour's business manifesto amid a row over corporate backing for its EU policy

- Nick Clegg said the Lib Dems would occupy the "reasoned centre ground" during the campaign

- UKIP leader Nigel Farage unveiled his party's five main election pledges

- The Green Party of England and Wales said it could be in a "decisive" position if there's a hung parliament

- Chancellor George Osborne said details of the Conservatives' planned £12bn welfare cuts would be set out in a spending review after the general election

- Three new polls suggest a Conservative-Labour tie (Populus), a 2%Conservative lead (Ashcroft) and a 4% Conservative lead (ComRes)

We're ending our coverage for the day now - thanks for joining us. We'll be back again at 0600 on Tuesday.

Mike Smithson, political analyst




Tomorrow's Independent



On Newsnight,Tony Blair's former director of communications Alastair Campbell said it seemed as if there was a "post-match analysis" going on, instead of an examination of policies and what the election is about. Of the main leaders, he said only Ed Miliband could "emerge in a different light".

Conservative peer Lord Finkelstein said the question for the Tories was whether they could "project their record forward" and show their vision. He added that he would not advise Labour to focus on the idea of "Ed Miliband over-performing".

Meanwhile, the former Lib Dem press secretary Miranda Green wondered where the parties would find "optimism" against a "background which is really grim". People were worn out by austerity and were hankering after something more, she said.

Tuesday's Mail

Daily Mail
Daily Mail

£3,000 tax bill

On Newsnight, Evan Davis quizzes Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps on the claim that a Labour government would mean working families would pay an extra £3,000 in tax in the next parliament.

Grant Shapps says the Conservatives stick by that calculation and would not impose more taxes themselves, but Evan Davis tells him the claim is "obviously ridiculous" and the Institute of Fiscal Studies has found it to be so.

Tuesday's Times

The Times
The Times

Tuesday's Guardian

The Guardian
The Guardian

Tuesday's Telegraph


'Dramatic battle for Scotland'

BBC Political Correspondent James Cook reports that "last year politics came alive in Scotland".

"Scotland rejected independence but that fervour has not died down..there is a dramatic battle for Scotland's 59 seats."

Tuesday's FT

FT front page

Tomorrow's Express

Express front page

Rory Cellan-Jones, BBC Technology Correspondent


tweets:Politicians, companies, journalists all accused of failing to take the internet seriously by @Marthalanefox#DimblebyLecture

Polls: Telephone versus internet

David Cowling, Editor, BBC Political Research, writes:

"Following the flurry caused by YouGov’s 4% Labour lead this Sunday, we had three polls on Monday telling a different story. Populus had Conservative and Labour tied on 34%; Ashcroft had a 2% Conservative lead (36% versus 34%) and ComRes had a 4% Conservative lead (36% versus 32%).

"Among all four polls, the average Lib Dem rating was 8%; UKIP’s was 13% and the Greens around 6%. We’ve barely started our long road to 7 May but perhaps this campaign will develop into a battle of methodologies – telephone versus internet polls.

"The two telephone polls (Ashcroft and ComRes) had the highest Conservative ratings – 36% each; and the two internet polls (YouGov and Populus) had the lowest – 34% and 32%. YouGov represented a 5.5% swing from Conservative to Labour, enough to give Labour a majority. ComRes suggested a 1.5% swing to Labour, barely a ripple on the election pond."

Round up

On the first formal day of the general election campaign -- the party leaders have begun setting out their positions:

- David Cameron said he wanted to complete the job of turning the country around and that voters faced a "stark choice" between the Conservatives and Labour

- At the launch of Labour's business manifesto, party leader Ed Miliband said the Tories' EU policy threatened business

- The Liberal Democrats said they would keep a future coalition "anchored in the centre ground"

- UKIP leader Nigel Farage unveiled his party's five main election pledges

- Welsh Labour and Welsh Conservatives launched their campaigns

- The Green Party of England and Wales said it could be in a "decisive" position if there's a hung parliament while The Green Party of Scotland launched its manifesto, including a pledge of a £10 minimum wage.

'Crowded field'

BBC Political Correspondent Vicki Young says the crucial difference between this election and the last one is that "it's a much more crowded field", with smaller parties playing a bigger role.

Nick Clegg



Nick Clegg tweet
Nick Clegg

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Julia Tolton: Why oh why can't I simply put an X against 'Coalition' on my ballot paper and keep everyone in their jobs? It has been a very successful coalition with some very good Lib Dems amongst the good Conservatives in the government. We need to keep continuity to keep the progress.

Ashcroft poll

Tory peer Lord Ashcroft's latest weekly survey showed his party gaining three points to 36% on last week - when the two main parties were neck and neck - with Labour up one to 34%. The Liberal Democrats were down two points at 6% and UKIP dropped to 10%. The Greens were up two points to 7%, while the SNP fell two points to 4%.

David Cameron



David Cameron tweet
David Cameron

Labour mug


Shadow justice secretary Sadiq Khan said he would not buy one of Labour's immigration mugs - because the message on them was not clear.

"I personally would not buy the mug," he told LBC radio's Iain Dale. "I think it can be misconstrued and what's important is that we are quite clear what we mean by our policies...Sometimes people misunderstand what the mug means."

No welfare announcement

George Osborne

The Conservatives will not publish details of their planned welfare cuts until after the general election, Chancellor George Osborne has confirmed. Mr Osborne said they would set out how they intend to achieve the planned £12 billion in savings from the welfare budget in a summer spending review, if they are returned to power after the election. He told Channel 4 news: "We will set out our plans as part of a spending review when you can make these balanced judgments."

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BBC News website reader: Why are the SNP being left out of UK polls and forecasts when they are probably the third biggest party? The fact the SNP are based in Scotland will not stop them having real influence across the UK.

Pact would be a 'disaster'

Jon Trickett, Labour’s shadow minister without portfolio, says the idea of UKIP working with the Conservatives in the event of a hung parliament would be a disaster. UKIP leader Nigel Farage says he has had "informal" conversations with Conservatives about working with them to secure an EU referendum in the next parliament - but not with ministers.

Mr Trickett said: "UKIP do not stand for working people because they are too busy planning to join the Tories. They are a party of Tory money, Tory people and Tory policies.

"It is growing increasingly clear that UKIP and the Tories are prepared to work together, which would be a disaster for working families' living standards and British business."



Liberal Democrats



Lib Dem tweet
Liberal Democrats

The Labour Party



Labour party tweet
The Labour Party




Conservative tweet

Jonathan Isaby, Taxpayers' Alliance chief executive


tweets: Probably illegal under election law, but wouldn't it be interesting to subject all party election broadcasts to the @C4Gogglebox treatment?

'Too much like Yoda'

Lib Dem campaign correspondent Chris Buckler is on the party's battle bus. "According to gossip on board it has in the past served as transport for both the French rugby squad and Crystal Palace. The Lib Dem team started the campaign journey with a kind of caretaker manager in Lord Ashdown, while Nick Clegg was busy at Buckingham Palace. The party's former leader was obviously happy to be back on the campaign trail and refreshingly frank with the press pack. In response to questions about the poor state of the party in the polls, Paddy Ashdown pointed out that he led the Lib Dems at a time when their support was marked by an asterisk, indicating something less than 1%. And he confessed he had watched Channel 4's "brilliant" drama Coalition on Saturday, although he thought the film portrayed him a little too much like Yoda."

Yoda, a puppet character from Star Wars


A day for firsts. And here's 16-year-old Ewan Rowe, from Solihull, securing one of the first selfies of the campaign trail with Nick Clegg.

Ewan Rowe from Solihull with Nick Clegg

'Utter garbage'

Labour's Chuka Umunna tells BBC Radio 5Live Drive Conservative claims families will be more than £3,000 worse off under Labour are "complete and utter garbage".

MPs no more

Tim Reid, BBC Scotland political correspondent writes: "At least a dozen former MPs have ignored House of Commons guidance to make clear on their social media profiles by today that they are no longer members of parliament now that it has been dissolved.

"No one is allowed to use the title member of parliament while the official general election campaign is ongoing. But at least a dozen former members who are candidates are still continuing to do so. The House of Commons advised MPs to alter their social media accounts or to add a disclaimer stating that the account was created when the candidate was an MP. The Electoral Commission has said it is not something which it can enforce."

Cameron's rally

Carole Walker, the BBC's Conservative Campaign Correspondent, writes: "David Cameron tells first campaign rally he's fighting on his record, his team and his economic plan for the country.

"Conservative sources say they stand by the claim that Labour would cost working families £3000 in higher taxes but David Cameron did not mention it in his speech to his first campaign rally."

David Cameron

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Tim: It would appear the current rhetoric from the minority parties; the SNP, Sinn Fein, Plaid Cymru - and largely from the Labour Party too - is all anti-austerity. Do these parties not recall what got us into this mess 5 years ago? Are they really suggesting that we pretend we're not in debt anymore & just carrying on sticking everything on the Nation's credit card again. I think history has proved that this is a dreadful idea & at least the coalition has had the balls to tackle this, despite how unpopular they knew it would be.

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Ian Frost, Oldham: Specifically, what are the cuts that Ed Balls will make if he is the Chancellor? He has prevaricated for too long - I would like to know what I'm voting for. I'll tell you after the vote won't do!

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Barry Birch, Staffordshire: I would like to ask Mr Cameron after working 70+ hours a week as a publican and only earning less than 8 thousand a year how can we be in this together.

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BBC News website reader: If the PM said our country is doing so well why have people only been offered a one percent pay rise?

Nick Clegg's seat

The Lib Dem president Sal Brinton says she has "every confidence" that the party leader Nick Clegg will win his seat. Asked by the BBC's Ross Hawkins if she would be the one to negotiate any coalition deal in the event of a hung parliament, she said: "No - and the premise of that question is wrong".

She added: "Nick Clegg is not going to lose his seat. We are pretty confident of that. Campaigning in Sheffield Hallam is going extremely well, despite Labour gains on that." She added that the party had put together a "coalition negotiation team", which was not going to meet until 8 May.

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Jo Scott Swansea: In 2010 the coalition inherited a government debt of 811 billion pounds. The Telegraph recently stated the debt is now 1,451 billion - a 80% hike! Tell us the truth so we can make an educated decision on May 7th.