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  1. Deputy PM Nick Clegg said millions of public sector workers would be spared pay cuts under Liberal Democrat plans
  2. David Cameron said a Conservative government would create an extra 600,000 free childcare places
  3. Former SNP candidate Alex Salmond said his suggestion he would be writing Labour's Budget in May was a joke
  4. UKIP's Nigel Farage admitted the tone he has used on issues such as immigration and HIV was aimed to "get noticed"
  5. There are 15 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell, Andy McFarlane and Victoria Park

All times stated are UK

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Thursday's Recap

Here is a run-through some of the main political stories of the day:

Nick Clegg said millions of public sector workers would be spared pay cuts under Liberal Democrat plans

Former Scottish first minister Alex Salmond said his comment that he would be writing Labour's Budget if it won power in May was meant to be "light-hearted"

In a BBC interview UKIP leader Nigel Farage admitted the tone he has used on issues including immigration and HIV was designed to "get noticed"

Gordon Brown has accused David Cameron of stirring up English nationalism to try to win the election

David Cameron says he will create 600,000 extra free childcare places if he is returned to power next month

A Labour government would invest £150m a year in cancer diagnostic equipment in England, Ed Miliband has said

NHS founder Aneurin Bevan would be " turning in his grave " if he saw the way Welsh ministers run the service, the UK government's Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt has said

And finally, James Lovelock, a leading environmentalist, has criticised the lack of attention given to climate change during the general election campaign.

That's it for tonight folks see you at 06:00 BST tomorrow for more news, reaction and analysis.

Osborne 'in it for working people'


Chancellor George Osborne was interviewed for BBC Newsnight during a visit to Erewash in the East Midlands.

George Osborne

After visiting a family business in the area, the chancellor said he met an employee called Nick who he thought represented "the working people of this country, who work damn hard".

"He relies on people like me to make sure those taxes are well spent," Mr Osborne added.

I am in it for the working people of this country, they don't always have pressure groups standing up for them and appearing on Newsnight and the like, but they are the people who keep this country moving forward."

Thursday's Mail

#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers


Laura Kuenssberg, Newsnight chief correspondent


tweets :

We understand Brown will make a bigger public appearance on campaign tmrw and get more directly involved in central Labour efforts

Spectator front page



Thursday's Times

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


Thursday's Independent

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


Thursday's Financial Times

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


Poll gives Labour lead


tweets :

YouGov/Sun poll CON 33%, LAB 34%, LDEM 7%, UKIP 14%, GRNS 5%

Thursday's Guardian

#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers


Thursday's Daily Express

#tomorrowspaperstoday #bbcpapers


David Cowling, editor of BBC political research

With precious little on the poll front (YouGov had a one point Conservative lead) perhaps it is time to step back and review all the campaign polls.

I have registered 48 so far (19 from YouGov alone). Labour led in 24, the Conservatives in 15 and nine were dead-heats. However, three-quarters of Conservative and Labour leads have been either 1% or 2%.

What of the other parties? The average Lib Dem share in the first 10 campaign polls was 7.8%: in the most recent ten polls it was 8.4%.

On the same basis, at the start of the campaign, UKIP’s average was 13.5%, compared with 12.3% most recently; and the figures for the Greens were 5.1% versus 4.5% currently.

The recent Conservative focus on the SNP may pay electoral dividends and change the polls. Something needs to if we are ever to have a decisive outcome to this election.

Thursday's Telegraph

#bbcpapers #tomorrowspaperstoday


Power of social media

The Huffington Post

Ned Simons

Ned Simons, assistant political editor of the Huffington Post, has commented on Ed Miliband's new-found appreciation online.

"I imagine Labour can't believe their luck, they spent about four years trying to turn Miliband's image around. You remember bacon sandwiches, and geeky and weird.

"Then in a couple of days one tweet from a teenage girl, and suddenly he's a symbol of everything else, you've got people photoshopping him onto actors and models and so on, so I think they'll be quite pleased with this."

He added that Miliband's poll rating had gone from minus 50 to minus 18... "it's still not great but it's better than where he was before," he says.

Wealth debate

The Spectator

Across at the Spectator they are currently holding a debate about wealth. The speakers are Guardian columnist Owen Jones, Spectator journalists Toby Young and Fraser Nelson, blogger Jack Monroe, Green MEP Molly Scott Cato and editor of Spears William Cash.

People can join in using the hashtag #SpecDebate on Twitter.

Morgan intervenes on minority languages

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan has said a future Conservative government would "guarantee the future" of GCSEs and A-levels in minority languages such as Polish, Gujarati, Bengali and Turkish.

There has been a campaign against exam board plans to withdraw these languages as exam subjects in England.

Nicky Morgan

Mrs Morgan has written to exam boards telling them to reverse their decision.

Labour's Tristram Hunt said it was a "desperate attempt" to "undo the damage of chaotic exam changes". Full story here.

Matt Chorley, political editor of MailOnline



Another riveting campaign day: Clegg can't cook, someone fell over near Miliband, Dave and Boris did a jigsaw and Farage said immigrants

Nigel Farage

The UKIP leader's chat with Evan Davis (see below) is on BBC1 now. You can also watch on the live coverage tab above.

'Out of touch'

Labour's shadow business secretary Chuka Umunna reckons David Cameron’s admission on BBC Radio 1 that he does not know how much the living wage is shows "he’s completely out of touch".

"Unlike the Tories who have done nothing to promote it, Labour will help employers pay a living wage with new incentives through Make Work Pay contracts," he adds.

Teenage voters


One audience member at the Newsbeat Ask the Leaders pressed the prime minister as to why 16 and 17-year-olds couldn't vote, and suggested it was because the Conservatives feared young people's "disillusionment" with the party's policies.

Mr Cameron wasn't having that. He said there was strong support, even at many schools he visited, for keeping the voting age at 18, and added:

I don't accept if you gave the vote to 16 or 17-year-olds they would miraculously vote this way or that way."

You can read the full account of the prime minister's appearance in Newsbeat's round-up of the event.

Brown: PM 'stirring nationalism'


Gordon Brown has accused David Cameron of stirring up English nationalism to try to win the election, and the SNP of misleading people over their offer to be part of a Labour-led administration.

Gordon Brown

The former PM told a gathering of fewer than a hundred voters in Fife that "the only way they can win is to build resentment in Scotland of the English and resentment in England of Scots" and that David Cameron was "whipping up English nationalism".

On the SNP, he said "people must realise they are not interested in a Labour government" and that only Labour would "immediately deal with food bank poverty, zero-hours poverty, inequality and the NHS". Large numbers of SNP MPs could mean "months of constitutional chaos", he warned.

'Truly shocking' - Alastair Campbell


Former Labour spin-doctor Alastair Campbell has responded to Prime Minister David Cameron's tweeted video of SNP leader Alex Salmond making a "joke" about writing Labour's budget.

Mr Campbell tweets :

@David_Cameron what is truly shocking is that you are PM and you post this bilge and expect to be taken seriously. Your campaign is a joke."

PM faces young voters


As mentioned earlier, David Cameron has been appearing in BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. Thankfully, perhaps, he wasn't giving a rendition of Benny Hill's Ernie (The Fastest Milkman in the West), which he apparently enjoys singing in the shower.

Instead, he was facing questions from 10 young voters, who quizzed him on topics such as the voting age, homelessness and the "tampon tax".

David Cameron in the Live Lounge

Taking the battle to the 404 page

Most internet users know the 404 error page as a land of broken promises (and links) but the Lib Dems see it as just another space to get their message out.

They've previously used their website's error page to mock David Cameron and take a swipe at Ed Balls.

And today they've deployed it to poke fun at Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps, after he was denied claims he edited Wikipedia entries about himself and other MPs.

Childish? Maybe. Amusing? We'll let you decide.

A screengrab of the 404 error page on the website - 22 April 2015

Farage interview

Nigel Farage and Evan Davis

Here's a bit more from the Nigel Farage interview being broadcast at 19:30 BST on BBC One with Evan Davis.

The UKIP leader said "you could argue" there are parts of the country where the police have withdrawn and Sharia law applied.

And he said turning a blind eye to such issues had led to "some of the most appalling sexual scandals that I think we've seen in our history".

Brotherly love?

BBC Radio 5 Live

Ed Miliband says he's getting the full support of his brother David during the general election campaign. The Labour leader says he regularly talks to his older sibling, who's now based in New York.

But he says the former foreign secretary - who he beat to the job of leading the party - won't be returning to British politics.

Ed and Dave Miliband

Asked on BBC Radio 5 live's John Pienaar whether "the door was still open" for his brother to return to politics, Mr Miliband says: "That's what we call 'curtain measuring' in my business John.

"I'm thinking up to 7 May, 10pm, 'cause that's where my focus is."

David's happy doing the job he's doing in America. So I'm focused on getting Labour government elected."

Heated exchange

Nigel Farage also admits he struggled at the start of the election campaign because he tried to do too much.

During an often heated exchange with Evan Davis on BBC1's leader interviews, Mr Farage disputes claims he told US television there were parts of the UK that were "ghettoes" and "no-go areas" for the police.

However, he admits "perhaps at times that tone had to be used". The programme appears on BBC1 at 19:30 BST or on the Live Coverage tab above.

Farage's attack tone 'to get noticed'

Nigel Farage

Nigel Farage has admitted he's used a tone to attack some immigrants and Muslims in the UK which was designed to "get noticed", but he's insisted it was necessary.

The UKIP leader told the BBC's Evan Davis the language he's used in the past about some Romanians and Muslim people who supported the Charlie Hebdo attacks "had to be used".

'Vote for Name Surname'

The UKIP flyer that was ripped apart by an English teacher last week was a classic - but it's far from the only example of dodgy political literature out there.

We collected a few of the worst offenders yesterday and we've added a whole new batch today, including this great offering from "Name Surname" in east London - as pointed out by @willnich on

A badly thought-through leaflet for a Tory candidate in east London - 22 April 2015

If you spot any questionable party material coming through your letterbox, let us know via or upload them here.

PM on 'living wage'


The PM tells BBC Radio 1 that he can't cite the "living wage" figure - that's the hourly rate campaigners say an individual must earn to cover basic living costs.

David Cameron says the rate differs "depending on different parts of the country" but - asked if he knew the rate for those outside London - adds: "I don't have those figures in my head."

Mr Cameron says staff at Downing Street are paid the living wage. About the lower "minimum wage", Mr Cameron says: "I don't want the minimum wage to go up at a rate, [that] the experts tell me, will increase unemployment."

I sometimes find that frustrating as prime minister."

Barry Sheerman, Labour & Co-op candidate



Still time to restore #ClimateChange to a high priority in this Election campaign!

David Cameron in the Live Lounge

PM quizzed by Radio 1 listeners


David Cameron's been answering questions from 10 young voters in the BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. They quizzed him on housing, the voting age and the living wage. Listen live now.

David Cameron with Newsbeat's Chris Smith in our photo booth
David Cameron with Newsbeat's Chris Smith in our photo booth

Salmond: 'I was joking'

Alex Salmond insists he was joking when he talked about writing the Labour budget at a public meeting - a video of which was tweeted today by David Cameron.

Mr Salmond says: "Obviously it was a joke, as you can see from the context of the meeting. So this was a real public meeting. We're real people."

Alex Salmond
Getty Images

I was making a joke about the Tory campaign saying I was going to write the Labour budget and everybody thought it was a pretty funny joke poking fun at the Tory campaign." The problem with David Cameron is that he doesn't have public meetings, he doesn't meet real people, he doesn't even do his own tweets for that matter and he's got both a humour by-pass but above all, a people by-pass."

Get involved


Tom Davis:

'Lock out' Conservatives?

SNP deputy leader Stewart Hosie urges Ed Miliband to spell out clearly whether he will work with the nationalists "to lock David Cameron out of Downing Street - or prefer to see the Tories back in government".

Stewart Hosie

As long as there are more anti-Tory than Tory MPs sent to Westminster in this election, we can ensure that the Tories are locked out of government. With a strong team of SNP MPs holding the balance of power, we can end the cuts - and deliver the investment in jobs and public services that both SNP and traditional Labour supporters want to see."

Stewart Hosie

Nick Robinson, Political Editor, BBC News



.@David_Cameron : Salmond "footage will shock you". @StewartHosieSNP: "he was having a bit of fun". @Ed_Miliband says Lab will write budget

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Dominic Elsworth:

Need a quick catch-up?

Here's a video of interesting snippets of today's campaigning - catch up in just one minute, 44 seconds. It includes politicians' comments on public sector pay, childcare and the NHS.

Kevin Maguire, Daily Mirror associate editor & New Statesman columnist



Certainty is the enemy of news. Only thing likely in this election is no party wins an outright majority. Anybody's guess after that

Osborne comments on Salmond video


In response to the video in which former SNP leader Alex Salmond says he will be "writing the Labour Party Budget" (see previous entry 14:45 BST), Conservative Chancellor George Osborne tweets :

Salmond remarks confirm that weak Miliband + SNP in charge = economic chaos for UK. Two big risks of election have just collided"