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  1. Job figures show that UK unemployment has fallen to its lowest rate since July 2008
  2. Labour unveils its Scottish manifesto in Glasgow
  3. Conservative leader David Cameron is campaigning in the Midlands and in Wales, with a speech on jobs
  4. Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is in Scotland, where he will be urging Conservative and Labour voters to vote Lib Dem to defeat the SNP
  5. There are 20 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Tim Fenton and Andy McFarlane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Friday recap

That brings to an end another eventful day on the campaign trail. To recap on the day's main stories:

  • The BBC announced UKIP's Nigel Farage would be among leaders to face audience questions in regional election programmes
  • David Cameron hailed new figures showing unemployment at a seven-year low
  • Labour said too many jobs were part time, as it focused on youngsters' prospects
  • The Ulster Unionists launched their election manifesto. Among the pledges: better mental health provision and a drop in VAT for tourism and building repairs
  • Lord Ashcroft's polls in Scotland suggested the SNP was gaining more ground in key seats

Attacks 'have failed'

Some lines coming through from Saturday's newspapers. The Guardian has an interview with Ed Miliband's American election guru, David Axelrod, who claims that Conservative attacks on the Labour leader over his perceived betrayal of his brother, former foreign secretary David, have "obviously failed".

'No Tory-UKIP deal'

Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove has hinted to the Telegraph that there would be no Tory-UKIP deal if his party fell short of a majority after the general election.

"I don't want to say anything disobliging about Nigel Farage or about people in UKIP, but I've got no appetite, interest or inclination towards doing a deal with anyone," Mr Gove reportedly says.

"We're not going to get into bed with them, no," he adds.

Sean Kemp, former Downing Street adviser


tweets :

Have just explained to some people on the Tube that there isn't an SNP candidate in Crouch End. They weren't happy."

Saturday's Guardian


Saturday's Sun

Satuday's Sun

Allegra Stratton, political editor, BBC Newsnight


Allegra Stratton

Newsnight Political Editor


Farage on at 10:30 in Eng & Wales; Leanne Wood gets QT slot in Wales and Sturgeon gets it in Scotland. To reflect where they are strong."

Saturday's Times

The Times front page, 18/4/15
The Times

Saturday's Telegraph

Daily Telegraph front page, 18/4/15
Daily Telegraph

More on election specials

After the Question Time special, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon, Plaid Cymru's Leanne Wood and UKIP's Nigel Farage will appear in separate programmes broadcast on BBC One in different parts of the UK.

The leaders "will each answer voters' questions for half an hour" from 9.30pm, says a BBC statement, which says questions will be put to the leaders on behalf of live studio audiences by BBC presenters. The programme featuring Mr Farage will also be broadcast in Wales later that night.

"All the programmes will also be broadcast on the BBC News Channel and on BBC Parliament," says the BBC.

Question Time election special

The BBC has released details of its Question Time election special to be broadcast on 30 April - a week before polling day.

A press release says: "A Question Time Election Leaders Special will feature one-by-one Conservative leader David Cameron, Labour leader Ed Miliband and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

"The programme, hosted by David Dimbleby, will be broadcast on BBC One and BBC News Channel live from 8pm to 9.30pm. Each of the leaders will separately face 30 minutes of questions posed by a studio audience with the usual Question Time format."

Allegra Stratton, political editor, BBC Newsnight


Allegra Stratton

Newsnight Political Editor


Newsnight understands Nigel Farage to do 1/2 hr elex i/v same night as big 3 Leaders do Dimbleby 8-9:30pm, Apr 30th. NF in QuestionTime slot"

Aid target

BBC Radio 4

Any Questions has been hearing the panel's views on the UK's commitment to spend 0.7% of national income on overseas aid, with UKIP's Mark Reckless arguing it should be scrapped.

Jonathan Dimbleby asks the audience for a show of hands - and finds they are broadly in favour of retaining the commitment.

The host is careful to point out that - unlike the audience for last night's TV debate - those in the Any Questions studio are "self-selecting" and so are not intended to be representative of the population.

Prof Philip Cowley, Nottingham University



Interesting that, despite its massive membership, SNP contact rates not top in any of these @lordAshcroft seats

Chart from Twitter

Any Questions

Any Questions is on BBC Radio 4 now.

Jonathan Dimbleby is in South London with Sadiq Khan for Labour, Mark Reckless of UKIP, Conservative Secretary of State for the Environment Food and Rural Affairs, Liz Truss, and the SNP's Humza Yousaf, the minister for Europe and international development in the Scottish government.

Survation poll

A new national poll carried out after the party manifestos were released suggests the Tories have a narrow lead. The Survation poll for the Daily Mirror put the Tories up four points at 34%, ahead of Labour on 33% (down two points).

The poll put UKIP on 17% (up one), the Liberal Democrats on 7% (down one), and the Greens on 3% (down one). Nationally, the SNP polled a 4% share. The changes were from Survation's previous national poll, conducted on April 9. The pollster surveyed 1,314 adults online during yesterday and today.

Tories 'combative' on Europe

The Conservative manifesto marks a significant toughening of rhetoric regarding the EU, according to a new analysis by academics at the University of Bath . Gone is talk of "balance of competencies" and "renegotiating" and in comes "repatriation of powers" and "referendum", says the research. The manifesto does not explain, however, how things like immigration controls could be secured in practice, writes reader in European politics, Susan Milner.

Lord Ashcroft, pollster



My polls ask ppl to think about their area & candidates, but don’t prompt names. This is why:

Screengrab from Twitter
Lord Ashcroft

Matt Chorley, political editor, Mail Online


tweets about this Daily Mail story:

Google searches during debate show how politicians (and journos) talk another language..."

Screengrab from Twitter

Lib Dems on Scotland polls

A Lib Dem source has dismissed the latest polls for the Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft as "irrelevant".

The constituency polling - in seats being contested by former leader Charles Kennedy and business minister Jo Swinson - suggests the SNP is gaining support in Labour and Lib Dem territory.

However, a Lib Dem source told the Press Association:

Lord Ashcroft's polls do not name the candidates. Both Mr Kennedy and Ms Swinson have strong personal followings."

Green attack

Scotland polls

More on those constituency polls conducted in Scotland by Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft.

Our Scotland political correspondent Tim Reid says: "[The polls suggest] that the SNP has gained support since February in Labour strongholds such as the seat which the Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy is contesting in Renfrewshire East , and where Douglas Alexander is standing in Paisley and Renfrewshire South ."

The surveys point to SNP leads of nine points and 11 points respectively in those constituencies.

"The polling also suggests that there's continued growth in SNP support in Lib Dem territory such as Ross Skye and Lochaber , where the former party leader Charles Kennedy is standing and in Dunbartonshire East which business minister Jo Swinson is contesting," our correspondent adds.

Get involved

'Live within planet's limits'

Green Party leader Natalie Bennett tells the BBC News Channel: "You cannot have infinite growth on a finite planet....We need to get to a point where we are living within the environmental limits of our planet."

Natalie Bennett

What we have seen is a situation where 1% of the richest just keep getting richer... we need to get to a stage where the economy delivers for the common good."

Natalie Bennett

'That shower'

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg says going for a pint was a better use of his time than listening to "that shower" in last night's opposition leaders' debate.

Asked why he had not listened to Mr Miliband, a potential coalition partner, he told reporters on his campaign bus: "You are not seriously suggesting whether or not there is a Liberal Democrat-Labour coalition depends on whether I should spend an hour and a half listening to that shower yesterday?

Nick Clegg

Come on. Give me a break. What a ridiculous thing to say. Why would that have any bearing on how a government is composed or functions after the election?"

Mr Clegg adds that from what he had seen of the debate it delivered "no surprises whatsoever".

Farage 'pulls out of local hustings'

UKIP's Nigel Farage has reportedly left the Bishop of Dover "disappointed" by refusing to take part in election hustings for the seat of Thanet South.

The Press Association says he has declined an invitation from the Right Reverend Trevor Willmott to debate with the other candidates in hustings in Broadstairs next Friday, saying he has other commitments, according to the Diocese of Canterbury.

Nigel Farage
Getty Images

In attendance will be candidates for the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, the Reality Party, Party for United Thanet, Manston Airport Independent Party and the Al Zebabist Nation of Ooog.

"Apparently Al Murray, aka the Pub Landlord, who is running until the banner of the Free United Kingdom Party (FUKP), has also declined the invitation," reports PA.

Zero-hours flak

The World at One

BBC Radio 4

You can listen back to Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith's interview with The World at One, in which he dismissed further means-testing into child benefit.

The Conservative was later criticised by shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna for saying zero-hours contracts should be re-labelled "flexible" contracts and that they suited many people, including students and those with caring responsibilties.

Mr Umunna said his opponent was "totally out of touch with so many people".

A decade ago these were niche things. They are now the norm in many sectors - 1.8m zero hours contracts."

Ashcroft polling latest

Tory peer Michael Ashcroft has published his latest poll findings. His focus this week has been on key constituencies in Scotland. He finds no sign of the SNP surge fading.

Voting; have you registered?

With just a few days left to register, we’ve taken a look at how some campaigners are spreading the word, aiming to encourage people to use their vote .

Ask Natalie Bennett

BBC News Channel

At 5.30pm, the Green Party leader, Natalie Bennett, will be live on the BBC News Channel to take your questions on her party's policies.

You can tweet questions to at #BBCAskThis, or you can email video questions to

The day so far

Let's look over another busy day on the campaign trail, as Tim and Andy take over from Georgina and Matt. Fall-out from last night's BBC Election debate continues, while new jobless figures have focused attention on the economy.

The headlines so far:

  • Overnight numbers suggest last night's debate had about 4.3m viewers
  • IMF boss Christine Lagard praises the UK economy, saying: "It's obvious what's happening in the UK has worked"
  • 50 businessmen and women write to the FT praising the Liberal Democrats
  • The Ulster Unionists launched their election manifesto. Among the pledges: better mental health provision and a drop in VAT for tourism and building repairs
  • UKIP's Nigel Farage said electors deserved a proper power of recall over MPs
  • Labour launch their youth manifesto. Ed Miliband says he would ban unpaid internships of more than four weeks
  • Green Party Leader Natalie Bennett explains her opposition to HS2: "We want to invest in intra-regional transport...HS2 is going to focus everything in London."
  • And a new academic poll analysis suggests the fortnight's campaigning so far has not shifted support levels for either Labour or the Tories by as much as 1%

Chris Ship, Deputy Political Editor for @itvnews



Alex Salmond tells @mmgeissler that EdMiliband has shot himself in the foot & a Labour/SNP vote-by-vote arrangement is 'probable' @itvnews

Election funnies

Andrew Neil

Daily and Sunday Politics

David Cameron was serenaded by a musician who probably will not be voting for him, Nick Clegg was embarrassed about his looks, Tristram Hunt met a young UKIP supporter, and Ed Miliband played pool. Ellie Price catches up with the lighter moments of a week when some parties launched their election manifestos, and the Queen was revealed to be a Daily Politics viewer. Watch the film.

Man sings a song to David Cameron

Campaign 'has not changed polls'

A new academic prediction from the Polling Observatory suggests very little has changed in the polls over the past fortnight, despite much campaigning.

Will you vote? Or abstain? Tell us

Will you vote in the #GE2015 or abstain? What will make you more or less likely to vote? Join our debate at 4pm.

Asking hunters about political top dogs

The Daily Politics is touring the UK, talking to voters at 18 different locations and asking for their views on the general election - and Friday's stop was in the south Warwickshire countryside.

Reporter Giles Dilnot spoke to those who work in hunting and the countryside in a Tory heartland about their election priorities, and David Cameron's absence from the Thursday night TV debate. Watch the clip

Dogs on Warwickshire farm

Rivals and footie fans

Tom Barton, BBC Political Reporter

Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb has insisted he is a bigger Norwich City fan than Ed Balls.

Norwich face a key match tonight which could see them secure promotion to the Premiership.

Shadow Chancellor Ed Balls, famously a big Norwich City fan, happens to be campaigning in the east of England today, and is going to tonight's match. Asked which of the two politicians is the bigger fan, Norman Lamb said: "I am", pointing out that as a season ticket holder he attends almost every match. He did, though, admit that he won't be at tonight's match: he will instead be speaking at hustings in his North Norfolk constituency.

So who is the bigger fan? Ed Balls says: “I was born in Norwich. My first game was Leeds in the FA cup in 1974 in Carrow Road when I was six…. Norman’s also a good supporter, I think he’s arrived a bit more recently on the scene, but that’s OK. I may not want the Lib Dems to win in North Norfolk, but when he comes to football, me and Norman are on the same side.”

A Norwich City fan celebrates her sides" second goal during the Sky Bet Championship fixture at Carrow Road, Norwich

Feel the force

Han Solo and Chewbacca

If you thought you were going to escape a Star Wars reference were wrong.

But don't blame us, blame the Telegraph's Asa Bennett.

Star Wars Graph
Daily Telegraph

For he has used the force (or maybe it was just Google) and found a YouGov poll which has searched the heart of voters and discovered their love, or lackthereof, of Star Wars.

Princess Leia graph
Daily Telegraph

What are the results? Lib Dems turn out to be the biggest Star Wars fans. It's also not an exaggeration to say Lib Dem voters simply love Princess Leia (see graph above).

Meanwhile, when it comes to favourite characters UKIP voters' top attraction is...Darth Vader.

Darth Vader graph
Daily Telegraph

Campaign trail

The Leader of Plaid Cymru Leanne Wood has been out campaigning in the Rhondda with local activists this morning, where she was asked about her performance on last night's BBC debate.

She said:

So far I've had very positive feedback. I went to London in order to speak for Wales, I managed to do that and I also managed to put the Leader of the Opposition on the spot, particularly in terms of his failure to commit to an emergency budget to reverse the Tory cuts and, of course, we also had from him that he wasn't prepared to give funding for Wales that we deserve in terms of parity with Scotland, so I managed to speak for Wales, speak against austerity and convey the set of values that Plaid Cymru holds dear."

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood speaks to the media outside her party"s office in Treorchy, Wales

'Alternative way'

Andrew Neil

Daily and Sunday Politics

There is an alternative to way things are being run, says Howard Pilott of the Socialist Party of GB (SPGB).

He spoke to Andrew Neil on the Daily Politics about how his party differed from other left-leaning parties. Mr Pilott explained that the SPGB did not have a leader, and his party did not believe in an "elite running things on behalf of people". Watch the interview

Howard Pilott