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Summary

  1. David Cameron is to confirm that the Conservatives would spend an extra £8bn on the NHS in England by 2020
  2. The BBC has been told the Tories' manifesto will contain a pledge to raise inheritance tax to £1 million
  3. The Conservatives are promising 15 million workers three extra days of paid leave to do voluntary work, if they win the election
  4. Labour leader Ed Miliband says the SNP's economic plans would have a "devastating" impact on Scotland
  5. The Lib Dems are pledging help for young people who want to rent to raise a deposit
  6. There are 27 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Angela Harrison and Brian Wheeler

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Re-cap and good night

A re-cap on the day's main stories:

The Conservatives are to confirm they would spend an extra £8bn for the NHS in England by 2020

Labour said the Tories had made similar unfunded pledges

A senior Conservative source has told the BBC the party will pledge to raise the threshold for inheritance tax to £1 million

Labour leader Ed Miliband said the Scottish National Party's economic policies would have a "devastating" impact on the country and that taking full control of taxation would leave Scots with a £7.5bn "black hole" in their finance

The SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon said Labour were desperate and resorting to a campaign of "fears and smears"

That's all from the Politics Live team for tonight. We'll be back in the morning, from 06:00.

Sun politics

@SunPolitics

tweets: YouGov/Sun poll tonight - Labour have a two-point lead: CON 33%, LAB 35%, LD 8%, UKIP 13%, GRN 5%

Inheritance tax

Laura Kuenssberg

Newsnight Chief Correspondent

A senior Conservative source has told Laura Kuenssberg that the party's manifesto, to be released on Tuesday, will include a pledge to raise the inheritance tax threshold to £1 million. The pledge was in their 2010 manifesto but was blocked by the Liberal Democrats in the coalition negotiations.

Laura Kuenssberg also said on Newsnight that she had heard there could be a pledge to allow housing association tenants to buy their homes "at a real discount".

Ian Katz, Editor, BBC Newsnight

@iankatz1000

tweets: Tories will promise to raise inheritance tax threshold to £1m in manifesto next week, reports @bbclaurak#newsnight

Oil find

BBC Radio 4

Earlier, the former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown drew a "hollow laugh" from the Greens' Caroline Lucas for saying his party regarded itself as "the green party in government".

The panel on Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 were talking about the suggestions that there might be a large reserve of oil under Sussex and Surrey.

Ms Lucas agreed that the present government had done better than previous ones on renewable energy, but said that was not hard and that it was not enough, particularly when it continued to extract too much fossil fuel.

Saturday's Guardian

The Guardian
The Guardian

Saturday's Sun

The Sun
The Sun

Newspaper politics

BBC Radio 4

On the World Tonight on BBC Radio 4, there has been a debate about the part newspapers play in politics, especially at election time.

Bob Satchwell, the director of the Society of Editors, appeared with Natalie Fenton from the Media Reform Coalition.

Any Questions

BBC Radio 4

Panellists on Any Questions on BBC Radio 4 have praised the idea of people doing voluntary work, but there's been a keen debate about the Conservative's plan to allow people in bigger firms to take three days paid leave to work as charity volunteers.

Labour's Hilary Benn and the Lib Dems' Paddy Ashdown both raised the question of how the initiative would be paid for. Mr Benn said:

If all the nurses decided to take up their three days, who is going to look after the patients and if you are going to replace them, who is going to pay for them? You are getting on for about a million nursing days."

Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps suggested that the benefits of people volunteering went to both the charity that was being helped, the individual and their firm. He said:

When people volunteer they get another view of the world and it creates a better-motivated workforce and where companies do this they find the number of sick days falls dramatically."

Tomorrow's Telegraph

Daily Telegraph
Daily Telegraph

Nick Sutton, Editor BBC World at One

@suttonnick

tweets: Saturday's i front page via @olyduff Tories fall in the polls #tomorrowspaperstoday#bbcpapers

i
i

Tomorrow's Independent

The Independent
The Independent

Key issues for voters

Chris Cook

Newsnight Policy Editor

Will voters know enough before they cast their ballots?

To my mind, there is one big thing that we need to know from each of the two parties who are likely to form the rump of the next government - Labour and the Conservatives each have one very important question to answer."

Latest prediction

Newsnight

For the course of the general election campaign, Newsnight each evening will be publishing an exclusive Newsnight Index on the likely outcome, based on a sophisticated forecast model. It is produced by Chris Hanretty from the University of East Anglia and his colleagues at electionforecast.co.uk. For more information on how the Index is produced, see here

Newsnight prediction
bbc

Cameron makes £8bn NHS pledge

David Cameron is to confirm plans for an extra £8bn for the NHS in England by 2020, if the Tories win the election. Labour says the "unfunded" pledge is a sign of a Conservative campaign in panic.

David Cameron
BBC

Saturday's Times

The Times
The Times

Saturday's Daily Mail

Daily Mail
Daily Mail

Saturday's Daily Mirror

Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror

PR call

Campaigners for a more proportional voting system said the result in well over half of constituencies could be taken as read, almost four weeks before voters go to the polls. The Electoral Reform Society (ERS) said it could confidently predict the winner in 364 "safe" seats - 56% of the total 650 - because the UK's first-past-the-post arrangement meant resources were targeted at marginals.

Katie Ghose, chief executive of the ERS, said:

The fact that we can firmly predict the outcome of over half of the seats being contested this May is a sorry indictment of our outdated voting system. "The average constituency hasn't changed hands since the 1960s, and some have been under the same party's control since the reign of Queen Victoria."

Small parties

More than two thirds of the parties running in the general election are putting fewer than five candidates forward. Provisional figures from The Press Association suggest that of the 141 parties registered to run on May 7, 107 have fewer than five candidates, with 72 parties putting only one candidate forward.

The total number of candidates has dropped from 4,150 in 2010 to 3,963 in this election.

Mark Easton, Home Editor, BBC News

@BBCMarkEaston

tweets: How much will paid volunteer leave cost? @Conservatives tell me they've "no specific numbers" but "confident it'll pay for itself".

Candidate's apology

A Labour candidate who called for his Plaid Cymru rival to resign over a racism row has apologised for apparently advocating damaging cars with England flags. Two days ago Huw Thomas said Mike Parker should stand down from the race for Ceredigion over an article he wrote in which he compared English-born residents of rural Wales to Nazis. But now Mr Thomas has apologised for suggesting "Tippex" be thrown over cars displaying St George's flags, in a blog post written during the 2006 football World Cup:

These are not my views now and I deeply regret writing this post online."

One word for the election

BBC Radio 5 Live asked its audience to sum up the election in one word. 

photo montage from five live
BBC

Cream on top

Or is it jam? David Cameron got into a muddle over the correct way to prepare a scone, on the campaign trail Devon.

Speaking to locals in the Tea by the Taw cafe in Barnstaple, the PM said: "When you are in Devon you do the jam and the cream in a different order to Cornwall, is that right?"

"I'm going to get this wrong, aren't I ... In Devon it's jam first and cream on top?, before admitting defeat.

"It all tastes the same, doesn't it?," added Mr Cameron hopefully.

Scone enthusiasts may like to know that the Devon tradition is to apply the cream first, while the Cornish start with jam.

Hope we've got that right....

David Cameron
BBC

Women candidates

All the parties are often criticised for selecting relatively few female candidates for the general election. This year, the numbers look like this:

  • The Conservatives have 167 female parliamentary candidates - up from 158
  • Labour has 213 - up from 192
  • The Liberal Democrats have 163 - up from 134
  • The Green Party has almost doubled its female candidates from 108 to 209

Full slate

The Conservatives, Labour and the Liberal Democrats are contesting virtually all the seats in England, Scotland and Wales at the general election. The Tories are also putting up candidates in 16 of Northern Ireland's 18 constituencies.

There is one exception - by tradition the other parties do not contest the re-election of the Commons Speaker. In 2010 John Bercow saw off a challenge in Buckingham from Nigel Farage and he again will face UKIP and Green candidates.

More candidate stats

As nominations have closed for election candidates, the Press Association has been analysing who is standing where. Here's a few more details:

  • The Scottish National Party is contesting all 59 seats north of the border and Plaid Cymru all 40 in Wales
  • Respect has just four candidates including George Galloway - seven fewer than in 2010

Michael Fabricant

Conservative parliamentary candidate Michael Fabricant has said through Twitter that he has skin cancer. The Tory has been diagnosed with melanoma and basal cell carcinoma and says he is feeling "optimistic", because specialists believe they have caught it in time.

He went to see his doctor after noticing changes on the skin on his chest and was then referred to a consultant. Mr Fabricant said he wanted to raise awareness:

The reason why I decided to tweet this - and I thought long and hard about whether to do so - is because if you deal with it early enough it is probably not a life threatener. So the moral of the story is: if you spot something which is changing on your skin, go and see a doctor."

Michael Fabricant
BBC

BNP candidates

There has been a big fall in the number of candidates standing for the British National Party at the general election. They have candidates in just eight constituencies - down from 338 last time.

Greens and UKIP in candidate surge

Nominations have now closed if you want to stand in the general election. The Press Association have been doing some provisional number crunching. UKIP and the Green Party are fielding a record number of candidates, according to PA. Nigel Farage's party is contesting 624 of the UK's 650 Westminster seats - 66 more than in 2010.

Natalie Bennett's Greens are standing in 571 seats - up from 335 last time.

The total number of candidates appears to have dipped slightly from 4,150 in 2010 to 3,963 candidates. A growing number are women - up almost a fifth from 854 to 1,020.

Ultimate election geek

Are you election-mad? BBC News is searching for the ' biggest amateur general election nerd '. Can you help?

Negative campaigning

After the row about Ed Miliband being criticised by Michael Fallon over his leadership fight - are the parties accentuating the negative?

Ed Miliband and Michael Fallon
BBC/ getty

Ian Dunt, editor of Poltiics.co.uk

@IanDunt

tweets:

Women regularly tell me they secretly fancy Ed Miliband. I'm not making this up. It is a thing that happens.

Look back

BBC political correspondent Susan Hulme looks back at the main elelction news of the day:

The SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, has confirmed she wants Scotland to take charge of all its own spending and tax-raising powers. But Ed Miliband says that would leave a £7.6bn hole in Scotland's finances - and he called on the SNP to "come clean" about the spending cuts that would follow. He's campaigning in Scotland where polls suggest the SNP could capture most of Labour's 41 seats. Nicola Sturgeon dismissed his claims as "desperation", and said Labour's analysis was wrong. David Cameron, meanwhile, has revived his "Big Society" idea - with a promise of three days paid leave for volunteers, saying he wanted to help people do more for their communities. And the Lib Dems' offer to voters today? Loans for young people in need of a deposit to rent a home."

Job-sharing review

Sarah Cope, one of the two Green Party candidates in Basingstoke who wanted to share the job of Basingstoke MP, said the pair hoped to get a judicial review of the Electoral Commission rules which forbid them from standing.

Ms Cope said:

We're hoping to get a judicial review of the decision to not let us stand. It'd be a way to really shake up Parliament and re-engage people in politics in a way they never have before. It wouldn't be for this election. This election would be the trigger.

The candidates for the constituency are:

  • Paul Harvey (Labour)
  • Maria Miller (Conservative)
  • Selim Omar (Independent)
  • Janice Spalding (Liberal Democrat)
  • Alan Stone (UK Independence Party)

Lord Ashcroft's latest thoughts

In a blog post , Conservative pollster Lord Ashcroft says his most recent constituency polling has found an increase in support for Labour and the Conservatives and, "in their own battlegrounds the Liberal Democrats". But he adds:

Neither of the main parties has established a clear overall lead, either in national polling or in the marginals."

Sanitised campaign?

Writing in the Guardian, Marina Hyde says this election is being run as a " pseudo-event ", with political leaders being kept away from real people out of fear of an"unscripted event".

Who you lookin' at?

Prime Minister David Cameron, seemingly waving to himself (but actually to passengers on board the train he'd just left at Dawlish, Devon) in this photo by the Press Association's Stefan Rousseau.

David Cameron
PA

Christopher Hope, Assistant Editor and Chief Political Correspondent, The Daily Telegraph

@christopherhope

tweets:

Tony Blair (61) wants to go and on and on for another THIRTY years

The campaign day, in pictures

BBC News picture editor Phil Coomes chooses his favourite images from the press snappers out on the road around the UK.

Green candidate Caroline Lucas
PA

You can see Phil's full selection here.