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  1. Former Conservative Prime Minister Sir John Major warns a Labour-SNP government would be "a recipe for mayhem"
  2. Labour says it would launch what it calls an "NHS rescue plan", including a recruitment drive for 1,000 new nurses
  3. Ed Miliband accuses David Cameron of putting the union at risk by "talking up" the SNP
  4. Nick Clegg says Lib Dems would allow councils to charge 200% council tax on second homes in rural beauty spots
  5. BBC Radio One's Newsbeat stages hour-long debate on health, education and immigration for 100 young adults

Live Reporting

By Kristiina Cooper, Andy McFarlane and Anna Doble

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Tuesday's top stories

Rows between Labour and the Conservatives about the SNP have once again featured strongly, with Tory grandees Sir John Major, Lord Tebbit and Lord Forsyth joining the debate.

  • Sir John said the SNP could "blackmail" a future Labour government
  • But Ed Miliband accused David Cameron of "demeaning his office" with his attacks
  • UKIP wants to slash the BBC licence fee
  • The Lib Dems say they would increase the council tax paid on second homes
  • Conservative chairman Grant Shapps has said a Guardian story linking him with changes to Wikipedia pages is "the most bonkers story" of the campaign so far
  • The DUP launched its election manifesto

Jargon busting


Are you after a explanation of some of the key words and phrases being uttered on the campaign trail? Look no further. BBC Newsbeat has prepared a handy video guide to explain all.

Newsbeat's election A-Z

More from Shapps

This story is based on a single Wikipedia editor who is anonymous," says Mr Shapps, complaining that the Guardian went ahead with the story anyway.

Shapps claims

Grant Shapps is talking to the BBC News Channel to deny those Guardian claims that he - or "someone acting on his behalf" - tried to edit Wikipedia pages about himself or other MPs.

"It's the most bonkers story I've seen in this election campaign so far," he says. "A simple look in my diary shows I was elsewhere."

More from Newsbeat

On the subject of health, Paul Uppal, for the Conservatives, addressed mental health spending but argued: "Money alone is not the issue." Lib Dem Norman Lamb, a health minister, promised to treat physical and mental health equally. He highlighted his party's pledge of £1.2bn for the next five years for children and young people.

On education, Labour's Emma Reynolds said: "We need to learn from countries like Germany which value apprenticeships at the same level as degrees."

The Newsbeat audience

Readers can continue the discussion using #Newsbeat on Twitter. Another group of young voters will meet next Tuesday in Edinburgh, when the final Newsbeat debate will focus on the cost of living, jobs and housing.

Read more: What you told Newsbeat in Birmingham

Wednesday's Times

Times front page
The Times

Newsbeat recap

Newsbeat's debate in Birmingham
Newsbeat's debate in Birmingham

More than 100 young voters have been quizzing five politicians during a Newsbeat election debate at the University of Birmingham. The big themes of the night were immigration, education and health. UKIP's Steven Woolfe told the audience "none of our party have ever said we don't like immigrants" while the Green Party's Amelia Womack said "we need to take responsibility for the language we use around migration".

Tomorrow's Daily Mail

Daily Mail front page
Daily Mail

'Apprentices aren't stupid'

Newsbeat debate


That was a lively old debate in Birmingham and we'll continue to flag up the closing highlights.

Stuart, 23, tackled the politicians on the UK's "flawed" education system, which he said needed restructuring.

Stuart, 23
Stuart, 23

It's pushed towards university and qualifications. There are too many people trying to get a small number of qualified jobs. People on apprenticeships shouldn't be viewed as stupid."

Wednesday's Financial Times

Financial Times front page
Financial Times

Jeffrey Wall


tweets :

There's a big focus on quality of teachers after training, but not on those delivering the training and this needs to be reviewed #newsbeat"



tweets :

Education. Education. Education- and now all that is ever mentioned about it is: student and tuition fees. There is life beyond it #newsbeat"

Wikipedia claims

Conservative party chairman Grant Shapps is denying allegations that he is behind changes made to Wikipedia entries about MPs. According to the Guardian, the online encyclopedia blocked an account amid suspicion it was being used by Mr Shapps or "someone acting on his behalf" to edit pages about himself and other MPs.

But Mr Shapps said: "This Guardian smear is categorically false and defamatory. It is untrue from start to finish, and was quite likely dreamt up by the Labour press office. Sadly it is typical of the smears coming from those who would rather not debate policy and substance."

Marguerite Hogg




But it's not just about increasing the number of apprenticeships, but about improving the quality of apprenticeships #newsbeat"





#Newsbeat why not cut the salaries of those at the very top of the NHS? No one needs £600,000/year with a pension pot of 1.5million do they?"





#Newsbeat I am fed up of kids blaming @Conservatives for NHS privatisation, @UKLabour 'privatised' more!"

Mental health debate


Tamanna Miah, 21, from Sevenoaks, says: "I had a friend who [took his own life] because he had no support. The services were not there at the right time. My friend said to me 'I am struggling'.

"I gave him all these options and he said 'no, they're not helping'. He was on a waiting list for over six months."

Tamanna Miah
Tamanna Miah, 21, speaking at the Newsbeat debate in Birmingham

What are you guys going to do about [it] because I don't want to see any more of my friends on Facebook say 'sorry, I'm not here any more'."

Election fun


Inspired by tonight's debate? Newsbeat has developed a game all about the general election, except with party leaders as robots.

BallotBots, Newsbeat's election game
BallotBots, Newsbeat's election game

The aim of BallotBots is to pair robot politicians with robot voters while progressing through a series of zones on your way to No 10 - and avoiding the campaign pitfalls. It's available via BBC Taster.

Blaming immigrants?


Peter, in the audience attacks UKIP: "Stop blaming immigrants."

However, UKIP's Steven Woolfe replies: "Look at our manifesto, say it as much as you like, it's just plain wrong."

Watch video of the exchange here


'People are worried'


Amelia Womack, of the Green Party, says: "We need to take responsibility for the language we use around migration at the moment. It's clear that people are worried about things they should be worried about [NHS, housing, public service cuts]."

We cannot continue to blame immigrants for the failure of government policy."

Amelia Womack, Green Party
Amelia Womack, Green Party

Dev Mistry




Immigration isn't the issue in this country. Discrimination is."

Queen's advice to Alex Salmond

Alex Salmond

As a former SNP leader Alex Salmond is used to criticism coming his way but he probably wasn't expecting to be ticked off about his handwriting - by the Queen. Mr Salmond has revealed how he changed his signature after the Queen told him he had the "worst" writing of all ministers.

Mr Salmond was speaking at a question and answer session at Glasgow University after receiving an honorary degree. Mr Salmond admitted his signature was an "indecipherable scrawl" and he told the Queen he would "try to do better".





#newsbeat so many myths about immigration. Vast majority work. They pay more in tax than they take out. 40% are students vital to uni funds."

British jobs?

Your view on immigration


Ellie, 18: Nigel Farage did say British people would get jobs just because they were British. How is that fair?

Ellie, 18
Ellie, 18



tweets :

#Newsbeat debate on immigration coming from #Birmingham. A wonderful, multicultural city. #Brum"

'Equal treatment'


Steven Woolfe of UKIP says: "None of our party have ever said we don't like immigrants. What we want to do is create an ethical immigration policy which allows people from all over the world to be treated equally."

So long as you have the skills, come here on a points system."

Newsbeat debate




I would like immigration control in the UK, but not at the expense of our EU membership. Very dubious its achievable"

Newsbeat debate

Your view on immigration


The debate is under way, with the first topic about immigration.

"There are positive and negative immigrant stories in the UK," says Daniel, 18, from Coventry."Come to our country and do well, but [do] not come without a trade that will benefit the British economy."

Daniel, 18, from Coventry
Daniel, 18, from Coventry

Newsbeat debate

Live from Birmingham


More than 100 Radio 1 listeners are about to fire questions at five politicians - Emma Reynolds for Labour, Norman Lamb of the Lib Dems, Paul Uppal for the Conservatives, Steven Woolfe of UKIP and Amelia Womack from the Green Party. The Newsbeat debate's key themes are immigration, health and education, while Tina Daheley and Chris Smith are hosting.

The grand hall at the University of Birmingham
The grand hall at the University of Birmingham

You can comment or post your own question using the hashtag #Newsbeat on Twitter. Follow @BBCNewsbeat for more.

Dan Hodges, Telegraph and Total Politics commentator


..a Milifandom-sceptic tweets :    

Enough. Labour can bankrupt the country. Give away Trident. Make Nicola Sturgeon Queen. But please, stop trying to spin Ed is a sex symbol."


It started as a joke, says the news website Buzzfeed... but Ed Miliband is apparently developing a fanbase of teenage girls. Yes, you read that correctly. We'll let Buzzfeed explain .

Nothing adding up?

Wondering what happens if the election result is so close that neither a single party nor coalition can manage a working majority?

Then go to our YouTube channel to watch Akash Paun, of the Institute for Government, explain the process to the BBC's Christian Fraser.

Screengrab from BBC News YouTube video

Finding your child's inner activist...

Children might not be able to vote but the parenting website, Mumsnet, reckons it's still worth trying to get them interested in the election .

Tips include explaining how politics affects the issues they really care about - such as their local park or what they study at school. Mumsnet also suggests a trip to Parliament or even creating your own election campaign. Sounds like good advice for disengaged grown-ups too.

PMQs is right for Bruce

Former Conservative Scottish Secretary Lord Forsyth has been in the news today, expressing concern about the Tories' current focus on the SNP's potential influence over a minority Labour government.

And his near-namesake, Sir Bruce, has also been giving his take on the state of British politics. It seems he's not at all fed-up with mudslinging between the parties.

The entertainer told BBC Radio 5 live he loves watching Prime Minister's Questions when it gets rowdy.

Sir Bruce Forsyth

All the heckling going on, working to a noisy audience. It's quite something. When Cameron and Miliband have a go at each other, it's lovely."

Today's Newsnight Index

Those clever folk once again been crunching the numbers to produce today's Newsnight Index, showing a prediction of the state of the parties. There's not a lot of movement, with projections that Labour could gain a seat at the expense of the Liberal Democrats but still trailing the Conservatives. An explanation of how the index is produced is available viaYouTube.

Newsnight Index graphic

Tim Shipman, Sunday Times political editor



Election is a conspiracy against journalism. Lab happy with a draw. Cons think its going to turn in last 72 hrs. No use to me either of them."

Rifkind's dilemma


Sir Malcom Rifkind is the latest former Conservative heavyweight to have his say on the political outlook in Scotland. The ex-foreign secretary has been telling LBC he would "think very carefully" about supporting another unionist candidate, were he a voter in a marginal Scottish seat, in order to keep out the SNP.

He was responding to a question about Labour, although he did not mention Ed Miliband's party in his response. "I fully confess it's a very difficult judgement and very difficult to question to answer," he added.

Playing catch-up?

If you've not had time to keep up with our live coverage throughout the day, catch on the day's campaigning via our video round-up .

Get involved


Martin Preene:

Cameron defends anti-SNP tactics

David Cameron in Halifax

David Cameron says it's not scaremongering to say that a minority Labour government would be held to "ransom and frankly blackmail" by the SNP.

The PM tells supporters in Halifax that Labour can only form a government "on the coat-tails of Alex Salmond, Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP".

He predicts "an endless process of negotiation and haggling, and ransom and, frankly, blackmail".

"If you think that is scaremongering," he said: "Just consider this. In the last 48 hours the SNP have said no investment in defence unless you get rid of Trident, that is a form of ransom and blackmail."

They have said no HS2 unless it starts in Scotland. That is a form of ransom and blackmail"