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  1. Nicola Sturgeon denies a newspaper claim she told a French diplomat she would prefer David Cameron in No 10
  2. The Daily Telegraph says a memo details Ms Sturgeon privately saying Labour's leader wasn't PM material
  3. Ed Miliband is unveiling a Labour plan to encourage banks to fund 125,000 new homes for first time-buyers in England
  4. The Lib Dems set out plans for a £2.5bn healthcare fund to reduce pressure on hospitals in England
  5. The Conservatives unveil plans to prevent children from viewing pornographic websites
  6. There are 33 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Adam Donald and Tom Moseley

All times stated are UK

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Saturday Summary

Here's a quick digest of all today's developments:

Election polls: the story so far

David Cowling, editor, BBC Political Research

Runners on track
Press Association

An average of a dozen campaign polls so far suggests the Conservatives are on 34%, three points down on their vote share in May 2010 – an election they lost; Labour also on a 34% average, some four points up on their dire 2010 performance; the Lib Dems on an average of 8% - one-third of the support they received in 2010; UKIP’s average was 14% (up 11 points on 2010) and the Greens were on 5% (up 4 points). How these dozen individual poll results play out in 650 individual constituency contests on 7 May will doubtless be a joy to behold; but until then we mere mortals have to make what we can of the evidence. At present it appears like the finish of the 10,000 metres, where no-one has the momentum to break from the pack and everyone is bunched, waiting for the bell signalling the final lap.

Tomorrow's front pages

Sunday Times

Sunday Times political editor Tim Shipman has shared on Twitter some of the political tidbits to be found within the paper tomorrow. Among them:

  • Nigel Farage says six Tory MPs will defect to UKIP if David Cameron tries to enter into coalition with the Lib Dems - especially if it gives Nick Clegg "control of the referendum question"
  • Paul Nuttall, UKIP deputy leader, and Suzanne Evans, UKIP deputy chairman, are Mr Farage's preferred successors if he loses in Thanet South and resigns the party leadership
  • Vince Cable is being urged by senior Lib Dems to become a caretaker leader and take the party into coalition
  • Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt says Labour will make sure every headteacher has a leadership qualification
  • And Nicola Sturgeon and Leanne Wood are set to co-ordinate an assault on Ed Miliband in the upcoming "challengers' debate" on the BBC

The paper's main story is the result of a poll which finds that the Conservatives are trusted to get a better deal for workers in large companies, while Labour have the edge in helping workers in smaller firms.

Mike Smithson, polling analyst


tweets :

YouGov/Sunday Times poll: Tories lead by 1 point. Con 34% Lab 33% LD 10% Ukip 13% SNP/PC 5% Green 4%

Tomorrow's front pages

MoS front page
Mail on Sunday

The Mail on Sunday reports on an internal UKIP poll which it says shows Nigel Farage is on course to lose in Thanet South - with the UKIP leader currently on 30%, behind the Conservatives' Craig Mackinlay (31%) and just ahead of Labour's Will Scobie (29%).

Tomorrow's front pages

ST front page

Osborne plans 'housing revolution'

The Sunday Telegraph has an interview with Chancellor George Osborne, who is outlining plans for a "1980s-style housing revolution". Mr Osborne tells the paper one million home-buyers will be given direct government assistance - but that in an early Budget in the next parliament he would propose measures aiming to double that number of new buyers by 2020. On another note, the Chancellor says David Cameron is his "best friend" in politics.

SNP/Labour 'anti-austerity' alliance

Leaders debate

Tomorrow's Observer carries an article by Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, in which the SNP leader offers to "help make Ed Miliband the next prime minister". It comes in the aftermath of allegations - which she strongly denies - that Ms Sturgeon said David Cameron was a preferable prime minister to the Labour leader. In tomorrow's article, she repeats that she said no such thing, and extends an offering to Mr Miliband: “If together our parties have the parliamentary numbers required after 7 May, and regardless of which is the biggest party, will he and Labour join with us in locking David Cameron out of Downing Street?”

Campbell campaigning

Sol Campbell

It's been the day to wheel out celebrity endorsements. Here's ex-England footballer Sol Campbell, on the campaign trail with Conservative candidate Craig Mackinlay in Thanet South. Comedians Ben Elton and Eddie Izzard spoke at a Labour rally.

BBC election coverage past and present

1964 pre-election coverage
Before the 1964 election, Harold Wilson talks to the BBC's Robin Day

The 2015 Politics Live page debuted with 100 days to go until polls open on the 7 May - and it's just the latest in a long line of innovations in our election coverage. Earlier we linked you to the BBC's new Timeliner, but for even more information and video, check out our collaboration with the University of Sussex outlining the history of BBC coverage here.

Matthew Goodwin, academic and UKIP expert


tweets :

Ukip average now 14.8 Where it was last summer. No major squeeze. Been saying this for a yr. Been criticised in process. Resilient core base

Blasts from the past

Michael Howard

Earlier we highlighted the political interview series on theBBC's Election 2015 Timeliner- but that barely scratches the surface. Head over to the website to see brief clips on all manner of election-related history: the gaffes, the upsets, the surprise victories, all the way down to some footage of contemporary senior politicians in their younger days.

Toby Helm, Observer political editor


tweets :

Op/Obs poll. It's neck and neck yet again. Lab 33 (n/c). Con 33 (-1) Ukip 14(+1), Green 7 (n/c), LD 7 (-1), SNP (Sturgeon Surge!) 4 (+1).


The holiday weekend has seen no let-up from politicians across the country, with a seemingly endless number tweeting about their canvassing activities. But what's been the major political news today?

Dan Johnson, BBC News reporter


tweets :

Lighter moment in Rochdale - LibDem activist tries to put election leaflet through door of Labour Councillors house being searched by police

Has the PM lost interest?

David Cameron
European Photopress Agency

At the New Statesman, Ian Leslie wonders if David Cameron's "oddly recessive" performance in the debates shows that the prime minister has lost his desire for the job: "On that night and during the debate, Cameron has performed like an animatronic, lacking in animus. It’s sad to see. Most of us have been in jobs where we end up just going through the motions, and it doesn’t feel good."

Beer and selfies on the campaign trail

Nigel Farage posing for a selfie

The BBC's UKIP campaign correspondent, Robin Brant, has been in Margate on Nigel Farage's trail today:

As he toured tables at the event and shared in the booze there were numerous requests for selfies. There were some who strongly disagree with his comments about HIV sufferers who come here from abroad. One man told me that he thought Nigel Farage "did racism" well. There are no signs though that UKIP will change its message come the next TV debate. In fact, framing the issue in that way combines two key issues that are central to the party's strategy - immigrants and the NHS.

James Cook, BBC Scotland correspondent


tweets :

What an extraordinary level of vicious abuse I have received today for simply reporting the news. Is this the country we want folks? Is it?


OF COURSE there are some SNP strategists - I know, I've spoken to them - who say in private a Tory victory would hasten independence.


OF COURSE I won't identify the SNP folk who said to me in private conversations that they could see the attraction/would prefer Tory govt.


OF COURSE I should ask tough questions of politicians. This is a democracy. This is my role in it. We're the poorer without challenge.

Downing Street clash

The UK branch of German group Pegida, which campaigns against what it calls the "Islamisation of Europe", has been marching to Downing Street this afternoon. According to the Independent :

Around 100 supporters waving the Union Flag and St George's cross were met by anti-fascist counter demonstrators as the two groups were separated by a heavy police presence.

The SNP: Labour - not Tory - bedfellows

Conservative Home

At Conservative Home, Harry Phibbs says it doesn't matter who Nicola Sturgeon would prefer as prime minister: "What matters is what the SNP MPs at Westminster would do in the event of a hung Parliament. There have made it clear that, should there be enough of them, they would put Ed Miliband into Downing Street. It doesn’t matter how useless they might say he is."

Matt Chorley, Mail Online political editor


tweets :

This is what we've come to: "PA: Ben Elton took a swipe at Myleene Klass over her criticism of Labour's mansion tax plans"

Peter Hunt, BBC Labour campaign correspondent


Ed Miliband
Press Association

“I have to wear this lipstick,” Eddie Izzard told the crowd, “because it’s the Labour Party’s colours”. The comedian, who described himself as “straight transgender”, was one of the warm up acts at a rally for the faithful. In a long election campaign, like this one, these are the moments when the supporters are fired up and reminded of the messages they need to repeat on the doorstep. The loudest cheers were when Ed Miliband spoke about zero hours contracts and the NHS. There was a more muted response when he talked of the need for controls on immigration. Mr Miliband called the Liberal Democrat leader, “Calamity Clegg”; and the Conservative Party “the political wing of the hedge fund industry”. He also used this gathering of about a thousand people in Warrington to outline Labour’s plans to build new homes if elected. Over Easter, the man who wants to be prime minister will largely disappear from view. Politicians know that we, the electorate, have our limits.

Political Interviewing 101, with Jeremy Paxman

Jeremy Paxman
Jeremy Paxman looking unimpressed on his old turf at BBC Newsnight

Jeremy Paxman's decades-long tenure at Newsnight produced some of the most memorable - and YouTube-worthy - moments in recent political history, and his return to the interviewing game at the Channel 4/Sky News leaders' Q&A two weeks ago was eagerly anticipated. In the Times today (behind a paywall),the veteran broadcaster offers an answer to a question we're sure he's wrestled with for years: how do you get a politician to tell the truth?

Some of Mr Paxman's finest moments can also be found at the BBC's Election 2015 Timeliner - where you can also watch some gems from the previous doyen of the political interview, Robin Day.

Meanwhile, on Twitter...

George Galloway
AFP/Getty Images

George Galloway, the Respect candidate in Bradford West has been in something of a Twitter spat with Bradford Brewery, a bar, pie shop and - of course - brewery in Yorkshire. The company tweeted asking the famously bullish Mr Galloway if he was "still a thing", and relations deteriorated from there. Now, he's vowed to return to the matter after the election.

Leak inquiry - more

Sir Jeremy Heywood said he had been asked to:

Investigate issues relating to the apparent leak of a Scotland Office memo that forms the basis of this morning's Daily Telegraph story. I can confirm that earlier today I instigated a Cabinet Office-led leak inquiry to establish how extracts from this document may have got into the public domain. Until that inquiry is complete I will not be making any further comment either on the document or the inquiry."

Breaking'Leak' inquiry announced

The head of the Civil Service, Sir Jeremy Heywood, has launched an inquiry into the alleged leak of a Civil Service internal report to a newspaper. The report - of Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon's private meeting with the French ambassador - purportedly says that Ms Sturgeon told the ambassador she would prefer to see David Cameron as prime minister , rather than Ed Miliband - something she has denied saying.

Thanet Beer Festival

Thanet Beer Festival

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has been sampling the ales at a beer festival in Thanet.

'Call on me'

Sunday Times deputy political editor James Lyons is the first - of many, we're sure - on our Twitter feed to note that the passionate rhetoric of 'call on me' in Ed Miliband's speech - advocating leadership and responsibility - shares the refrain of Eric Prydz's 2004 dance song 'Call On Me'. If the music doesn't immediately leap to mind, perhaps the renowned video will jog your memory (YouTube link).

Miliband speech

Ed Miliband is on the stage. He starts by thanking his celebrity guests and inviting a round of applause for local Labour candidates. Now he's on to familiar Labour talking points: workers are too poorly paid, zero-hours contracts need to be ended - and the "Promise of Britain" needs to be restored. He vows to fight for the British people against "powerful, vested interests".

Joey again

Realty TV star Joey Essex (centre) sat next to Guardian columnist Owen Jones at a Labour event in Warrington - 4 April 2015

The BBC's Peter Hunt has spotted another celebrity in the audience in Warrington today - reality TV star Joey Essex (centre) is sat next to Guardian columnist Owen Jones.

Essex, who is fronting an ITV programme about the election and has been popping up a fair amount during the first week of campaigning, described Ed Miliband as his "bezzie" after meeting the Labour leader last year.

'One rule for the rich' wrong

Another famous face preceding Ed Miliband behind the podium at Labour's Warrington event today. The actress Sally Lindsay - Shelley Unwin on Coronation Street - says she's voting Labour as she doesn't want her two young sons to grow up in a society where there's "one rule for the rich" and another for everyone else. She wants the NHS expanded too - because it's the "jewel in the crown" of our public services.

Other parties' housing plans

UKIP has pledged to change planning rules to make it easier to build on brownfield sites as a means of increasing housing and protecting the green belt.

The party has also said houses on brownfield sites would be exempt from stamp duty on their first sale and that it would relax VAT for the redevelopment of brownfield sites.

The Green Party has pledged to build 500,000 social rented homes by 2020.

It also wants to bring empty homes back into use, cap rent and introduce longer tenancies to provide greater protection for renters.

'A British-European transvestite'

Eddie Izzard declares his support for the UK's EU membership and describes himself as a "British-European transvestite": "I'm passionate about Europe - we have to learn to work together in some shape or form." Europe is not perfect, he says, with too much bureaucracy - but UKIP's "simplistic politics" is about running and hiding, rather than working to try to solve problems.

Recap on housing plans

Ahead of Ed Miliband's speech, a quick recap on Labour's housing proposals. Labour has said it intends to encourage banks to use the funds in first-time buyer ISAs to invest in new housing developments in England. The £5bn it would generate would help Labour reach its target of building 200,000 new homes a year by 2020, the party has said.

The ISAs were announced by George Osborne in the March Budget and sees the government top up money people save towards a deposit to buy their first house.

The Conservatives have pledged that 200,000 homes will be made available to first-time buyers in England by 2020 if they win the election, and have branded the Labour plan "ill thought-through".

The Lib Dems have pledged to help first-time buyers get on the property ladder through a "rent-to-own homes" scheme, in which young people in England would make monthly payments equivalent to rent to build up a share in their home, without requiring a deposit.

Celeb endorsements

Ed Miliband's party isn't the only one showing celebrity endorsement today - former England defender Sol Campbell has been snapped campaigning for the Conservatives.

Peter Hunt, BBC Labour campaign correspondent


tweets :

Eddie Izard at Labour Warrington party: I have to wear this lipstick because it's the Labour Party colours.

Eddie Izzard on stage

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard is the third celebrity at the Labour rally, following Ben Elton and an appearance on screen from Martin Freeman - who has made an election campaign video for Labour.

Elton back on the road for Labour

Ben Elton

Ben Elton opens Labour's Warrington rally.

The writer and comedian reminds people he was "very active" in Labour in the 1980s and 1990s, with Red Wedge - a collective of musicians and others backing Labour.

He says, in the 1987 election campaign, he and Bill Bragg played gigs in "six important marginals - and lost the lot".

Striking a serious note, he claims that many young people today feel they have been "born into a country where the dice have been loaded against them" - which he calls "a criminal waste of British potential".

'Why I heckled David Cameron'

The Guardian

Victoria Prosser
Press Association

Yesterday BBC Radio 5 Live heard from Victoria Prosser, the woman who heckled David Cameron during Thursday's leaders' debate. In The Guardian, she has expanded on her motivation - explaining just why she couldn't keep quiet while the prime minister made his case.

'L'affaire Sturgeon' - what next?

The Spectator

Nicola Sturgeon
Getty Images

At The Spectator, former Labour spin doctor Damian McBride - himself no stranger to back-room intrigue - lays out some of the possible explanations for what he's calling "l'affaire Sturgeon", and poses some questions that - if answered - might shine some light on what's really behind today's controversy.