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Summary

  1. The Conservatives said they would find the £8bn in funding NHS England says it needs by 2020
  2. Labour said it would guarantee one-on-one midwife care for new mothers
  3. The Lib Dems promised a new law to protect people's rights online
  4. There are 26 days left until the general election

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and Brian Wheeler

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Recap

Here's a quick recap of today's stories:

The main story of the day was the Conservatives' pledge for an extra £8bn a year for the NHS in England by 2020 if they win the election - but Labour said it was an "unfunded" pledge

A late breaking story, which looks set to feature heavily on Sunday, was news that a Conservative government would end inheritance tax on family homes worth up to £1m

Another story that will continue over into Sunday was Labour saying it would slap bigger fines on tax avoiders as part of a plan to raise an £7.5bn a year, if it wins the general election

On the NHS Labour pledged one-to-one midwife care for women during childbirth in its health manifesto for England

Elsewhere, the Liberal Democrats unveiled plans for new laws to protect people's rights online

That's it for tonight folks, we'll be back at 08:00 BST tomorrow.

Miliband's leadership

Speaking to the Independent on Sunday, Labour's Ed Miliband has compared himself to previous Labour prime ministers Clement Attlee, Harold Wilson and Tony Blair, who he said had each changed the way Britain was run - Attlee by creating the NHS, Wilson by backing the "white heat of technology" and Blair by restoring a fading public realm.

"If you think about successful Labour prime ministers, you think about Attlee, you think about Wilson, you think about Blair in terms of what they did when they came to power," said Mr Miliband. "Each of them was calling time on an old way of running the country."

Ed Miliband
Getty Images

If you think about the pattern of my leadership, whether it's Murdoch, the banks, the energy companies or non-doms, it is about saying ... we're going to tear up the old assumptions."

Ed Miliband

Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

@BorisJohnson

Tweets : Why won't Labour sign up to plugging the #NHS spending gap? Because they want to keep health "weaponised". Shabby.

Labour's grand plan to fine tax avoiders

Labour would slap bigger fines on tax avoiders as part of a plan to raise an £7.5bn a year, if it wins the general election. The policy is likely to form a central part of Labour's election manifesto, which is due to be launched on Monday. Ed Balls said Labour would carry out an immediate review of the tax collection system to close loopholes it wins power in May. The Conservatives have said they planned to claw back £5bn from tax avoiders. Get the full story here .

NHS - IOUs

Graeme Demianyk, London editor of Western Morning News

@GraemeDemianyk

Tweets: Since polls are deadlocked, probably come down to getting core vote out

Mail and Observer
@GraemeDemianyk

Tories to end inheritance tax for most

A Conservative government would take most family homes out of inheritance tax, David Cameron has announced. If they win the election, the Tories will introduce new allowances to raise the threshold to £1m. More details on the proposals are here. Mr Cameron announced the policy in a message on Twitter: "The home that you've worked and saved for belongs to you and your family. We'll help you pass it on to your children."

tweet
other

Mail on Sunday front page

Mail on Sunday
Other

Iain Martin, Sunday Telegraph

@iainmartin1

Tweets : If David Cameron can’t win over @UKIP voters, he’s had it. (Me for tomorrow's Sunday Tel )

Sunday Express front page

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday

Express
Express

The Observer front page

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspapers

Observer
Observer

Sunday Times front page

#tomorrowspaperstoday

Sunday Times
Sunday Times

'Brownfield revolution'

Here's a bit more from the public meeting in Canvey Island where UKIP's Nigel Farage has just promised to deliver a "brownfield revolution" with his party's manifesto policies, due to be unveiled next week. The UKIP leader said he would make it "as easy as possible" to build on brownfield land but not greenfield.

'No circumstance' for UKIP/Labour deal

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has said there is "no circumstance" in which UKIP could do a deal with Ed Miliband after the election. Speaking at a public meeting in Canvey Island, he said having a referendum on EU membership was the "most important thing" and he was "astonished" Ed Miliband had "turned his back on this". On a different note, Mr Farage also said UKIP wanted to "rationalise" the existing 43 police forces and consider creating bigger forces to save on running costs. He also said his party would keep police and crime commissioners, but if they did not improve, he would consider abolishing them.

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Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage
EPA

Labour's NHS dilemma - Part 2

Iain Watson

Political correspondent

Privately I detect that some senior Labour figures are concerned about being outbid on NHS spending. The Lib Dems are saying they would cough up an extra £8bn too.

So the extra £2.5bn Labour are promising is likely to be described as a 'down payment' - the minimum they will deliver with more to come when additional funds are identified.

But senior Labour figures are pretty clear when their main manifesto comes out at the start of next week, it won't make any mention of the £8bn.

But who would have the job of being responsible for NHS Funding in England if Labour were to form the next government?

Today ambitious Andy Burnham appeared alongside Mr Miliband and said "when I am health secretary..." then - with a glance and a smile at his leader - he added 'hopefully..."

But internal tensions aside, Labour feel after a lacklustre start to the campaign last week, they are now making the political weather.

Labour's NHS dilemma - Part 1

Iain Watson

Political correspondent

Labour may well want to weaponise the NHS at this election but the audience at the launch of the party's health manifesto in a community theatre in West Yorkshire were a bit wary when they saw a warning sign just inside the door which said "a gun will go off in the second half of this performance".

Certainly the Conservatives wanted to spike Labour's guns with their promise of £8bn more for the NHS in England by 2020 to fill the gap in funding identified by its chief executive Simon Stevens.

Ed Miliband has resisted the temptation to say he would do whatever it takes to find the cash to match the Conservative pledge.

Polls put Labour ahead on health but behind on the economy, so Mr Miliband instead stressed that Labour's pledge of £2.5bn was fully costed.

The Labour leader believes that if his opponents want to talk about the NHS, it will draw attention to an issue on which Labour is trusted.

Ed Miliband
PA

Poll boost for Tories

David Cameron has been boosted by an opinion poll finding the Conservatives have put on three points over the last week to lead Labour by two points.

But Labour also gained a point in the Opinium survey for the Observer, as the two major parties consolidated their positions against smaller groups and UKIP slumped to their lowest rating with the pollster for more than two years. The Tories are on 36% with Labour on 34%, UKIP on 11%, Liberal Democrats on 7%, and Greens on 6%.

Police investigate after anti-Labour and Tory graffiti

Police are investigating after Labour and Scottish Conservative offices in Aberdeen were daubed with offensive words and symbols. The Conservative and Unionist Association office in West Mount Street was vandalised with the word "scum", a swastika and the letter "Q" in white spray paint. The letter "Q" was also painted on the door of the Labour party office in nearby Rosemount Place. Ross Thomson, Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeen South, said he believed the 'Q' was intended to stand for quisling, or traitor.

Stage managed campaign frustrates

MPs on Instagram

Across at Buzzfeed they have written a piece about MPs who are using social media platform Instagram to promote themselves ahead of the election. "MPs have figured out how the internet works," writes reporter Siraj Datoo, and his point is clearly demonstrated by Tory candidate Stephen Hammond who is fighting for election in Wimbledon.

Stephen Hammond, the Conservative candidate
Stephen Hammond

Conservative reputation

Why do the Conservatives think they can get away with unfunded spending pledges? Is the question George Eaton of the New Statesman asks in his column . He argues that the Tories believe their economic reputation is strong enough for voters to give them the benefit of the doubt as they promise more money for the NHS and huge tax cuts.

Nick Clegg, Lib Dem leader

@nick_clegg

Tweets : Read here how the @LibDems would introduce a Digital Rights Bill in the next parliament.

UKIP's take on Tory NHS pledge

@Nigel_Farage

UKIP leader Nigel Farage gives his take on the Tories' NHS announcement today, taking a cue from the Tories' famous 1992 "Labour's tax bombshell" poster. He tweets: What's the REAL reason for Mr Cameron's #NHS announcement? He's turning our NHS into an International Health Service:

UKIP poster
UKIP

That 'black hole' again

Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy has repeated his party's attack on the SNP's plan for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, which he said would leave a £7.6bn "black hole" in the country's finances. He said: "Tory austerity would be a disaster for Scotland, but it became clear this week that full fiscal austerity from the SNP would be even worse." The SNP said on Friday that Labour's claims were "made up".

Jim Murphy
Reuters

Independent experts have said full fiscal autonomy would be facing a £7.6 bn black hole in our finances. That would mean huge cuts to our schools and hospitals, or huge tax rises. This isn't just about public spending cuts, it means a massive change in how we support our vulnerable in Scotland.

Jim Murphy

Tory 'empty promises' says Labour's Ed Balls

Shadow chancellor Ed Balls has repeated the sentiments of his leader and said the Tories are making "empty promises" over their £8bn pledge to the NHS. Speaking on a visit to Bury in Greater Manchester, he said: "I don't think anyone will believe empty promises from a Conservative Party which can't say where the money is going to come from to pay for this."

Ed Balls
Reuters

Labour founded the National Health Service. We will do what it takes to save the NHS but we've set out a costed and funded plan for 20,000 more nurses and 8,000 more GPs, 5,000 more care workers, more midwives too and we've shown where the money will come from - from a tax on properties over £2m, from our tobacco levy.

Lucas nominated

Caroline Lucas
PA

Caroline Lucas has been nominated by two former Labour councillors as she attempts to hold the Green Party's first Commons seat in May, the party has announced. First elected to Brighton Pavilion in 2010, Ms Lucas is running for re-election after the Green Party ran into high-profile troubles running Brighton and Hove Council. The former party leader's nomination papers were endorsed by Jack Hazelgrove and Joyce Edmond-Smith, former Labour councillors in the city. Mr Hazelgrove said: "While calling on people I've been amazed at the number of residents who have been directly helped by Caroline or who know someone who has been."

More from Miliband

Labour leader Ed Miliband has been answering questions following his speech on the NHS in Guiseley, West Yorkshire. He was pressed to say whether he could commit Labour to matching the £8bn figure, but he declined to do so. "We will always do what is necessary for the NHS. We will never let the NHS down," he said. Then, asked if he was still planning to outspend the Tories on the NHS, Mr Miliband replied: "We are definitely making a much more significant commitment than them. The NHS needs real money now, not phony promises later."

Ed Miliband
AP

"What the Conservatives are trying to say today is 'trust us - we don't have a clue where the money is coming from, we can't tell you where a penny of it is from, but trust us'. It might have worked five years ago, it ain't going to work today."

Ed Miliband

'I know how to milk a cow'

This possibly goes down as the best election quote of the campaign so far.

Emma Harper, the SNP candidate in Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale, the only Conservative seat in Scotland in the last Parliament, said today:

When I tell folk on the doors that I am a nurse but I grew up on a farm, it helps. I know how to milk a cow.

Blind panic

Handover

Well, that's it for today from Tom Espiner and Matt West. Today's headlines have been dominated by Tory and Labour health announcements, and debates about how they could be funded. We now leave you in the capable hands of Dominic Howell and Brian Wheeler.

Lottery politics

Abuse demo

Members of the Anonymous group are staging a demonstration in Parliament Square at the moment, calling for action against child sex abuse and alleged establishment cover-ups.

Demo
BBC

Unimpressed by NHS promises

Arya Stark makes "kill list" of politicians

Maisie Williams
AP

One for all Game of Thrones fans. The show's Arya Stark - aka Maisie Williams - has a new kill list. Ms Williams has made a video in which she accuses politicians of kicking the future of the young in the teeth and hoping "you won't notice".

(If you're not a fan of the books or television show this may be lost on you admittedly. Click here for Arya's character profile is the best we can suggest.)

In what might be seen as a rallying call to young voters she says: “I turn 18 on the 15th of April. That means I can vote in next month’s elections and so can 3.3 million of you. But you know what? I’m not going to tell you what to do."

Included on the "kill list" are: David Cameron, Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Vladimir Putin, Russell Brand, Gary Barlow, Rupert Murdoch and Tony Blair. Oh and Kayne West.

We've got to be honest, we've looked really, really hard and - as you should be able to see from the below pic - we can't find Ed Miliband on the list. Nor, it has to be said, is Nick Clegg.

We're also not sure that Ms Williams is encouraging young people to vote either: "I just have one question," she says looking at the list. "Who's next?" Eek.

Maisie Williams
Dazed

Lib Dem: Tory plans 'will not help NHS'

Norman Lamb
Getty Images

Lib Dem health spokesman Norman Lamb has said only his party has spelled out how they could fund additional NHS spending. Conservative plans to eliminate the deficit without tax rises would make it impossible for it to deliver the Tory pledge of £8bn per year for the NHS, he said. "The Conservative ideological obsession with cutting the size of the state means they cannot afford this unfunded spending commitment," said Mr Lamb. "Tory spending plans will not help the NHS but rather destroy vital public services and decimate basic entitlements."

Tories: Labour health plan 'chaotic'

Jeremy Hunt
Getty Images

According to health secretary Jeremy Hunt, Labour would put the future of the NHS "at risk" because it would not match the Conservatives' £8bn per year funding commitments.

"After an incompetent and chaotic response from Labour today about how they would fund the NHS, it's now clear that Ed Miliband will not match our commitment to provide the NHS with the funding it needs - resources that we will deliver through a stronger economy," said Mr Hunt.

"Ed Miliband has no plan to grow our economy - that's why he will put the future of our NHS at risk."

Money wasted

Saturday UKIP canvassing

Nigel Farage
Getty Images

Danny Savage, BBC UKIP campaign correspondent reports:

Nigel Farage spent much of the morning knocking on doors in what he described as a "solid Tory area". The reaction was mixed. He was happy to engage the undecideds as well as the easy hits of UKIP supporting homes.

One bloke told him he'd been to see him at a meeting and didn't feel that Mr Farage listened. "I wouldn't vote for you if you were the only candidate in the world", he proclaimed. They did listen to each other today, but I'm not sure the voter was convinced.

Another couple, who had tickets to listen to a speech by Mr Farage were delighted to meet him. Standing outside of their Victorian villa they were gushing about the UKIP leader. "You say things that we all think but nobody else dare say!" said the lady of the house. They want to see him ask the sort of awkward questions in the Commons that he has a reputation for asking in the European Parliament.

In the same street another woman wanted to know if he would repeal the ban on hunting. Mr Farage said that was something that would be unlikely to happen.

And nearby another man asked him directly, "Do you honestly have any racist policies?"

"No, we never have had", said Mr Farage, who added that far right activists were not welcome in the party.

Business was brisk for Mr Farage today. Car drivers hooted their support and teenagers wanted selfies with him. But people in Kent are also not shying away from the probing questions.

Taking the biscuit

Lucy Manning, BBC Labour campaign correpondent

@lucymanning

tweets :

Ed Miliband says if the Tories want to talk about the NHS until election day "I say bring it on"