Got a TV Licence?

You need one to watch live TV on any channel or device, and BBC programmes on iPlayer. It’s the law.

Find out more
I don’t have a TV Licence.

Summary

  1. David Cameron outlined Lloyds share sale plan and warned against SNP influence in UK government
  2. Nicola Sturgeon ruled out any deal with the Conservatives during her Andrew Marr Show appearance
  3. Lib Dem Vince Cable said it would be difficult to work with either Labour or the Conservatives, but they would
  4. Labour focused on the NHS, saying the Conservatives would cut the number of nurses in England
  5. There are 18 days left until the general election

Live Reporting

By Marie Jackson and Aiden James

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Recap of the day

A quick recap of today's events.

  • David Cameron confirmed to the BBC that up to £4bn worth of Lloyds Bank shares will be offered to small investors at below-market prices if the Conservatives win the election.
  • UKIP leader Nigel Farage claimed the bombing of Libya by the UK and France has "directly caused" migrant disasters in the Mediterranean Sea, after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized.
  • Other parties reacted angrily to Mr Farage's comments. The Conservatives accused him of making "cheap political points" while Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said he had no regrets over Libya. Labour called on the government to support EU search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean.
  • Nicola Sturgeon said SNP MPs would be a "constructive" force at Westminster after the election, dismissing David Cameron's claim that they would be "coming to Westminster to break up our country" - and a Labour claim that the Tories and SNP wanted each other to do well.
  • Tomorrow is the last chance to register to vote in the general election. Register online here.
  • And finally, here's another chance to see Labour leader Ed Miliband mobbed by a hen party on the campaign trail in Chester.

That's all from us now. We'll be back tomorrow with all the latest from 0600. Goodnight.

Herald front page

Herald front page
Herald

Scottish Daily Mail front page

Scottish Daily Mail front page
Scottish Daily Mail

Neil Henderson

tweets:

The times tomorrow suggests fruit is ending, at least for people with a conscience. #tomorrowspaperstoday

Times front page
Times

Sun front page

Sun front page
Sun

Guardian front page

Guardian front page
Guardian

Behind the scenes talks?

BBC Radio 4

The Guardian's Rafael Behr tells The Westminster Hour he does not think behind the scenes talks have already taken place between Labour and the SNP "for the simple reason that the fear of such a thing being revealed would be so intense".

It would be the same for Labour and Liberal Democrats, he claims.

Philip Cowley, of Nottingham University, says that, if the SNP do help to put Labour in power after the election, "without some sort of deal they will just make life hell on a week in, week out basis".

Spectator assistant editor Isabel Hardman raises the matter of English votes for English laws. "I don’t think the West Lothian question has been answered and I think it will be asked again quite soon after this election," she says.

Voter registration deadline

A screengrab of register-to-vote page
Screengrab

Tomorrow's Daily Mirror front page gives us an opportunity to remind you again that Monday is the last possible day to register to vote in the general election.

Anyone wishing to vote must be registered by midnight on Monday or they will not be able to.

The Electoral Commission reports that 1.7 million applications to register to vote have been made in the past five weeks, most of them online.

It is too late to post a paper registration form but you can register online or visit your local town hall offices to fill in a paper form.

Mirror front page

Mirror front page
Mirror

Campaign so far

BBC Radio 4

BBC Radio 4's the Westminster Hour hears the views of its regular panellists on how the election campaign is going so far.

Guardian political columnist Rafael Behr says: "Of the campaigns, it's still the Conservatives who don't seem to be as assured in the footing that they’ve got, certainly as they were expecting to maybe a couple of months ago."

But Isabel Hardman of the Spectator argues that "the fundamentals are still in [the Conservatives'] favour" - with the SNP "advancing in Scotland" and David Cameron more trusted on the economy."

Philip Cowley of Nottingham University, adds that "Ed Miliband's ratings are going up, not down" while the situation in Scotland will not benefit the Tories.

Times front page

Times front page
Times

Daily Mail front page

Daily Mail front page
Daily Mail

Express front page

Express front page
Express

Telegraph front page: SNP's ransom note to Miliband

Telegraph front page
Telegraph

Tomorrow's newspapers: Morning Star front page

Morning Star front page
Morning Star

BBC response

Commenting on the letter from Lib Dem election campaign chief Lord Ashdown about Nick Clegg and last week's opposition leaders' debate, a BBC spokeswoman says: "We have received the letter today and will respond in due course."

Farage and the BBC

Lawyers for Nigel Farage will write to the BBC Trust next week and demand to know "the logic" behind the choice of polling company who helped pick the audience at last weeks TV leaders' debate.

The UKIP leader criticised the BBC during the debate and labelled the audience "left wing". Presenter David Dimbleby told him: "This is an audience that has been carefully chosen, not by the BBC but by an independent polling organisation to represent the balance between all parties."

Speaking on the campaign trail in Ash, Kent, Mr Farage said he will ask the BBC to "tell us the logic behind giving a polling organisation with a history of getting UKIP wrong...why on earth were those people chosen?"

He added that he also wants to ask "what assurances can you give us that for the rest of this election campaign there is going to be free and impartial treatment?"

Asked if he still planned to appear in the final televised leaders' event which is due on the BBC in the last week of the campaign, Nigel Farage said "very much so".

Clegg and the BBC

Nick Clegg
BBC

Speaking last week, before the BBC "challengers' debate", Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: "I know, of course, David Cameron didn't want to be part of the debate but I don't see why I should have been prevented from being part of that debate and speaking up for what we've done in coalition if he doesn't want to do it."

A BBC statement on 16 March said: "As part of a package that the broadcasters and political parties agreed on, tonight's debate is for opposition leaders, and the Conservatives and Lib Dems are not included."

Lib Dem debate complaint

The Liberal Democrats have written to the BBC's director general to complain it misrepresented the party's position by reporting that Nick Clegg opted out of last week's TV debate.

The debate featured the leaders of five opposition parties but the Conservatives and Lib Dems were not represented.

In a letter to the BBC's director general Tony Hall, the party's election campaign chief Lord Ashdown wrote:

Nick Clegg did not choose to 'sit this out'; he was excluded from the debate by the BBC. At no point were the Liberal Democrats offered a choice that involved allowing Nick Clegg to take part. Your executives will confirm that we consistently told the BBC that he wished to be included in the debate. You will understand how damaging it is to suggest that Nick Clegg voluntarily chose not to participate when that is not the case and further to equate our position with that of David Cameron, who did refuse to participate and who has consistently sought to avoid debating other leaders."

'Cheap political points'

BBC News Channel

James Brokenshire
BBC

Home Office minister James Brokenshire accuses UKIP leader Nigel Farage of making "cheap political points" after a boat carrying up to 700 migrants capsized in the Mediterranean Sea.

Mr Farage has argued that the bombing of Libya by the UK and France "directly caused" migrant disasters in the Mediterranean.

In the wake of such an appalling tragedy, if all that Nigel Farage can do is to make, frankly, cheap political points - I think it shows his lack of understanding of the issues at hand here."

Vote swapping

Press Association reports that thousands of people have signed up to a website aimed at reducing the number of "wasted" votes in the election.

On www.swapmyvote.uk two people agree to vote for each other's preferred party in their constituency. The belief is this will make someone's vote count for more in a constituency where it could make more of a difference.

Tom de Grunwald, who has helped to develop the site, said:

There are so many wins. If thousands of people use it we may see results change as a result - that would be amazing. Short of that, the existence of an alternative gives a massive ray of hope to anyone who has considered their vote to be wasted."

'We caused migrant problem' - Farage

Nigel Farage
PA

It's been a day of door-knocking and media appearances for Nigel Farage. On BBC's Sunday Politics show, he turned his ire on the prime minister and accused his bombing in Libya of being the reason for so many disasters at sea involving migrants.

The fanaticism of [former French president] Sarkozy and Cameron to bomb Libya - and what they've done is to completely destabilise Libya, to turn it into a country with much savagery, to turn it into a place where for Christians the situation is virtually impossible. We ought to be honest and admit we have directly caused this problem."

Deputy PM Nick Clegg says he has no regrets over Libya but an urgent review by the EU was needed.

Where we're at...

Carole Walker

BBC Conservative campaign correspondent

Two weeks into this closely-fought contest and David Cameron is trying to rework another Thatcher hit from the 1980s. Ed Miliband is embarking on a week of campaigning on Labour's favoured home territory of the NHS. They both appear to be out to convince and reassure their own natural supporters. Neither seems poised to make a dramatic breakthrough and win an overall majority.

The polls suggest the only party on course to make big gains is the SNP which could end up with as many as 50 MPs at Westminster. Hence the increasingly fevered speculation about what role they could play in determining who governs the country.

David Cameron is ratcheting up the rhetoric on the dangers of a Labour government propped up by the SNP, warning of a group of nationalists coming to Westminster to break up the country.

Labour and the SNP have ruled out a coalition. But Labour's Angela Eagle has kept the door open to a vote-by-vote deal with the SNP, saying her party would speak to any other party represented in the Commons to build a majority for its Queen's Speech.

The SNP will launch its manifesto tomorrow. Stand by for more arguments about what sort power and influence the nationalists might wield at Westminster - and what that will mean for the rest of the UK.

Ed accosted

Here's Ed Miliband being accosted by a woman about a deal to use Croydon's Ashburton Library as a place of worship – agreed with the previous Conservative council but scrapped by the new Labour administration. As she gets louder and shortly after she says: "We’ve always voted Labour", she’s ushered away by (we assume) a Labour staffer.

Ed Miliband
BBC

Med migrant disaster

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said the "world is horrified at the appalling loss of life that it is taking place in the Mediterranean", referring to the deaths of an estimated 700 people after a boat carrying migrants capsized . He went on:

"Stopping this needless suffering is a huge international challenge which demands a comprehensive, co-ordinated response. We must target the traffickers who are responsible for so many people dying at sea and prevent their innocent victims from being tricked or forced into making these perilous journeys

"I discussed ideas for effective action with G7 foreign ministers last week and will do so again with EU foreign ministers at our meeting in Luxembourg tomorrow.

"If we are to deal with this tragic situation effectively, we have to tackle it at every stage. As well as helping to identify and target the traffickers by offering the expertise of our National Crime Agency and security services, Britain can make an important contribution to addressing the factors driving migration through our aid programme in the key source countries."

Register, register, register

Celebrities and politicians are taking to Twitter to try to get #register2015 trending as part of efforts to encourage people to register to vote before midnight tomorrow.

Satirist Armando Iannucci, who created the political sitcom The Thick Of It, tweeted : "It only takes 5 mins to register to vote. Do it here. gov.uk/register-to-vo… . This election is SO close, every vote counts. #register2015 "

To register to vote, visit this website or return a paper application in person to your local council headquarters before the deadline.

Can Sturgeon win over UK?

Nicola Sturgeon
BBC

Much of today's debate has surrounded Nicola Sturgeon and who she - and her party, the SNP - might work with, should they get the opportunity come 8 May.

She's a household name in Scotland and, thanks to the recent televised debates, she's rapidly becoming well-known in other parts - but what does the rest of the UK think of the SNP leader?

The BBC's Nick Eardley took a look earlier this month...

Quick recap

There are 18 days left until the election. Here are today's key developments:

- David Cameron promised voters the chance to buy Lloyds bank shares at discount prices if the Conservatives win the election

- He also warned of the "frightening prospect" of a Labour-SNP coalition and said the Nationalists wanted to get into Westminster to "break up our country"

- SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon ruled out any deal with the Conservatives and dismissed Mr Cameron's claims

- Lib Dem Vince Cable said it would be difficult to work with either Labour or the Conservatives but the party would do so in the national interest

- UKIP leader Nigel Farage warned of a "complete stitch-up" on an EU referendum if Mr Cameron wins a majority

- Lib Dem Ed Davey warned "Huge discounts" offered in right-to-buy schemes had led to fraud

David Cameron

@David_Cameron

tweets :

Congratulations to @AVFCOfficial on reaching the #FACup final. A tremendous achievement.

Fraud fear over right-to-buy

Ed Davey
BBC

The "huge discounts" offered in right-to-buy schemes have led to fraud, Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has claimed.

The Liberal Democrat told the BBC the schemes had seen "a lot of fraud going on, even money laundering".

The Conservatives have said they would extend the right-to-buy for tenants of housing associations.

Full story here.

Pics: Farage campaigning

Ukip Leader Nigel Farage canvassing Kent
PA
Ukip Leader Nigel Farage talks to a local man during canvassing in Sandwich, Kent
PA
Ukip campaigning in Kent
PA

Analysis

Peter Hunt

Labour campaign correspondent

The Conservatives are facing questions about what sort of deal they'll do with UKIP and Labour are being asked about what sort of deal they'd do with the SNP. Both parties are criticising each other for not coming clean but neither will rule out anything either - so it's a case of do as I say, not as I do.

Who will it be?

Queen
Getty images

The Queen has been attending a reception at London's Canada House today.

But which potential prime minister will she be inviting to Buckingham Palace come 8 May?

Read more about the Queen and prime ministers here.

Clegg on Lloyds

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has been speaking about the Conservatives' plan to offer billions of pounds worth of shares in Lloyds Banking Group to the public, should they win the election:

It's got to be worthwhile for the taxpayer. The taxpayer bailed out these banks so you've got to make sure that any scheme doesn't short change the taxpayer and we did actually look at this in government, and the problem is because the Tories want to basically want to give it people away on a discount it means that taxpayers who've all reached deep into their pockets to bail out the banks don't get their money back"

Handover time...

... from Victoria King and Tom Espiner.

Thanks for joining us for a busy Sunday so far, dominated by talk of the ins and outs and ups and downs of potential coalitions, deals and non-deals after 7 May.

Aiden James, Marie Jackson and Gerry Holt are taking over now and will bring you all the rest of this Sunday's election developments as they happen.

'No unconditional support'

Leanne Wood
BBC

Plaid Cymru could withhold support from a minority Labour government, Leanne Wood has said. Plaid says it will work with Labour if it does not get an outright majority but Ms Wood told BBC Sunday Politics Wales that did not mean unconditional support.

Full story here.

Analysis: Dangers of Lloyds plan

Chris Cook

Newsnight Policy Editor

Lloyds bank
PA

There's a lot to be said for getting assets into the hands of the public. But banks are definitely riskier vehicles for mass shareholder capitalism than telephone companies. Read more of Chris's thoughts.

Voter registration

Pic: A chill wind?

Kezia Dugdale
PA

Scottish deputy Labour leader Kezia Dugdale - and obligatory campaign baby - look like they're having a rather bracing trip to the beach near Edinburgh.

Clegg on coalition

Nick Clegg
PA

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg would not rule out forming a coalition which would help install the leader of the second-placed party in Number 10. At a rally in Portsmouth's Spinnaker Tower, Mr Clegg said: "Legitimacy is everything, particularly when you move into an era of coalition government, which was why I was so adamant last time that the party with the largest mandate, notwithstanding the fact that they didn't have a majority, should be given the time and the space to try and assemble a government... [but] just for the sake of argument, if a larger party, with more votes and more seats, can't or chooses not to create a stable government, then we need a government in this country. At the end of the day, one way or another, a government needs to be formed."