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Summary

  1. The Conservatives say their manifesto will have a commitment to build four new nuclear missile-armed submarines
  2. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon accuses Labour of using the Trident replacement as a "bargaining chip" with the SNP
  3. Ed Miliband says Mr Fallon had "demeaned himself and his office" after being described as a backstabber by Mr Fallon
  4. Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP will not agree any formal power-sharing deal with Labour unless it drops plans to renew Trident
  5. Labour proposes a new fund to provide one-to-one careers advice for school pupils in England
  6. There are 28 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Dominic Howell and Andy McFarlane

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Recap of today's events:

  • The Conservatives are standing by an attack on Ed Miliband over claims he could do a deal with the SNP on Trident nuclear weapons that Labour said had dragged politics "into the gutter"
  • Prime Minister David Cameron has welcomed announcements of 16,000 new apprenticeships , saying he wants the qualifications to be "level pegging" with university degrees
  • Labour said teenagers will be guaranteed face-to-face individual careers advice if they form the next government
  • Meanwhile, UKIP has admitted it is "lagging" behind with women voters and that the party sometimes resembles a "rugby club on tour"
  • The Lib Dem campaign bus made the news after it arrived in Poole, Dorset, and accidentally killed a pigeon
  • Later in the day, UKIP candidate Patricia Culligan was forced to apologise after she appeared to question the cost to the NHS of treating British people who are HIV positive

That's it for tonight folks, see you at 06:00 BST tomorrow.

Daily Express front page

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Express
Express

Coming up on This Week

In a rare move, neither Diane Abbott or Michael Portillo are sitting on the This Week sofas tonight. Andrew Neil will be reviewing the political week with Louise Mensch, Lord Falconer and Miranda Green. Grant Woods who has worked for Barclays Private Bank and Coutts as a portfolio manager advising non-doms talks about Labour's bid to get rid of the tax status. The Guardian's Nick Watt rounds up the political week in a film, and is seen pictured with a sheep. And singer-songwriter Pixie Lott looks at how difficult it is for political parties to control their message, and how much effort goes into controlling the image of a successful pop star. They will be live on BBC1 from 23:45 BST.

Nick Watt and sheep
BBC

Question Time - Blair's Europe speech

"If Tony Blair advises against something, it's probably something we should be doing," quips journalist Tim Stanley in response to a question on Tony Blair's speech this week on Europe. On Tuesday Mr Blair made the case for staying in the EU and urged against a referendum on the subject.

Meanwhile, Liberal Democrat Vince Cable tells the audience he believes that Tony Blair is right on Europe. He says "on this particular issue I think he is talking sense and people should listen".

The Independent front page

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Independent
Independent

The Times front page

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The Times
Times

Non-doms

The Green Party's MP Caroline Lucas gets a round of applause when she says that Labour have "got it right" on their plans to abolish tax breaks for non-doms - that's UK residents whose permanent home, for tax purposes, is abroad.

She says it's about "fairness and justice". Labour's Douglas Alexander claims the Tories cut short a quote from an interview by Ed Balls when he was reported to have said that scrapping the "whole non-dom status" could cause problems for the Treasury.

Then, arguing against Labour's pledge, Conservative Elizabeth Truss quotes the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) saying that the 20% richest had paid the most, in terms of deficit reduction.

Meanwhile, journalist Tim Stanley says driving away "wealth creators" - which he implies would happen if non-dom status was scrapped - would also cause problems. He adds: "If you chase people away by hounding them like this you will hurt the poor as well."

Question Time - Trident and Miliband attack

"There is a serious issue at stake here," says Elizabeth Truss, the Conservative Environment Secretary on the issue of trident, and her colleague Michael Fallon's attack on Ed Miliband. "It's right to highlight somebody's character," she argues, if he may later be asked to do a deal with the SNP.

Meanwhile, Tim Stanley from the Daily Telegraph, gets a smattering of laughs by saying: "Ed Miliband did not stab his brother in the back, he stabbed him in the front." And Lib Dem Business Secretary Vince Cable simply brands Fallon's comments as "vulgar and nasty".

Gauke on Miliband personal attack

Newsnight

Conservative Financial Secretary David Gauke is still talking about the Labour leader's character. He says: "I have no particular complaints about Ed Miliband generally... but I do have to say that his approach in terms of running for the leadership... the idea that people should be shocked at the suggestion that he stabbed his brother in the back is rather surprising. I do not resile from the word backstabber at all."

Polls raise heat in campaign

David Cowling, Editor, BBC Political Research

A flurry of five polls have been released tonight that may raise the campaign temperature a little. Four indicate Labour leads. YouGov puts the gap at one point, while TNS says three points, Survation four and Panelbase six. Survation also reported “Miliband ahead of Cameron in net Leader approval” for the first time.

By contrast, a ComRes telephone poll suggested a one point Conservative lead (albeit down from a four points in the company's previous poll). Lib Dem support hovers around 8% (although ComRes gives them 12% - their highest rating since December 2014) whereas UKIP’s support ranges between 12-19% and the Greens around 5%.

(Update 10 April: The above reflects data that includes a YouGov poll of 7-8 April. A new YouGov poll was subsequently published on 9 April showing a one point lead for the Conservative party)

Peter Northridge, Derby

Financial Times front page

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Financial Times
FT

Telegraph front page

Daily Telegraph
Telegraph

'Disgusting and deeply offensive'

The Liberal Democrats have responded to a UKIP candidate's apology for appearing to question the cost to the NHS of treating British people who are HIV positive. Patricia Culligan claimed a Liberal Democrat standing in another seat "deliberately became HIV positive", writing in a tweet: "yet free NHS care v costly".

A Lib Dem spokesman said: "Once again, a UKIP candidate has revealed the party’s true colours. Patricia Culligan’s comment was disgusting and deeply offensive. The Liberal Democrats will always stand up for the liberal British values of tolerance, generosity and decency."

Attack 'deliberate but risky'

The Conservatives' strategy to attack Ed Miliband was "completely deliberate", according to BBC deputy political editor James Landale, summing up "the day the election got personal" for BBC Radio 4 . However, he says, it's a risky tactic.

Labour ahead in second poll

Another poll today by Panelbase shows Labour climbing to 37% support, while the Conservatives dropped to 31%. The company had placed the two main parties neck-and-neck on 33% last week. UKIP dropped one point to 16%, the Lib Dems rose one to 8% and the Greens dropped one to 4%.

Question Time

Coming up tonight is one of the BBC's flagship political programmes Question Time. On the panel are Conservative Environment Secretary Elizabeth Truss, Labour's shadow foreign secretary Douglas Alexander, Liberal Democrat Business Secretary Vince Cable, former leader of the Green Party Caroline Lucas and Daily Telegraph blogger and leader writer Tim Stanley. The programme starts at 22:45 BST on BBC One.

'Under orders'

"He will have been told by Tory high command to do this. He was acting under orders," journalist Peter Oborne tells BBC News as he analyses Tory Defence Secretary Michael Fallon's attack on Ed Miliband.

UKIP apology over HIV tweet

Patricia Culligan
PA

UKIP's candidate in a key general election seat has been forced to apologise after she appeared to question the cost to the NHS of treating British people who are HIV positive. In a tweet, Eastleigh candidate Patricia Culligan claimed a Liberal Democrat standing in another seat "deliberately became HIV positive yet free NHS care v costly". Get the full story here.

The Ed Miliband personal attacks continue

Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan is unapologetic about her colleague Michael Fallon's personal attack on Ed Miliband earlier. She tells LBC: "When you ask people about Ed Miliband, the thing that most people know about him is the way that he did stab his brother in the back. That goes to the judgment people make about him letting the country down."

Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman responds that these salvos are a "concerted, malicious" tactic that "really brings our politics down".

'Tell no one'

Freelance journalist Susie Boniface - aka Fleet Street Fox - offers the BBC News Channel's Election Tonight programme an unusual option in terms of nuclear armaments.

She says the UK's four nuclear submarines each carry 16 Trident missiles, each with eight warheads. "We are armed to the teeth as far as nuclear weapons are concerned," she says.

Kiran Stacey and Susie Boniface on the BBC News Channel
BBC

Frankly, they could decommission them all tomorrow and just not tell us and none of us would know - the terrorists wouldn't know."

Michael Bloomberg, former New York Mayor

@MikeBloomberg

tweets:

Rumor is PM @David_Cameron is too posh for hot dogs - this #TBT [throwback Thursday] should set the record straight

David Cameron (left) with Michael Bloomberg in New York
Twitter

SNP 'has no power'

Financial Times political correspondent Kiran Stacey reckons an SNP-backed Labour government wouldn't have to give in to demands to scrap Trident. "The SNP doesn't have the power that Michael Fallon and the Tories are claiming," he tells the BBC News Channel's Election Tonight.

Nicola Sturgeon and Alex Salmond have both said 'we will prop up a Labour government. We will not do anything to let the Tories into power'. Given that, they have given away their one trump negotiating card."

'Shocking' comments on HIV migrants

LBC

UKIP's Diane James says she stands by Nigel Farage's recent controversial suggestions that migrants should be stopped from using the NHS for HIV treatment costing £25,000 per year. "Difficult and shocking" is how Liberal Democrat Lynne Featherstone described her views.

What to do with the NHS?

LBC

Labour's Harriet Harman says the NHS needs an "injection of cash" and "more working together with social care so that elderly people don't end up in hospital" because they have nowhere else to go. But Conservative Nicky Morgan says that - under the coalition government - £12bn has been pumped into the NHS, which has resulted in more doctors and 6,900 more nurses.

Women in politics

"It's a very women-friendly party," says Lynne Featherstone about the Lib Dems, despite only seven of its 57 MPs being women. She says about 50% of the party's members are women. "It is my dearest wish to see more women in parliament," she added. Meanwhile, Labour's Harriet Harman says all-woman shortlists are important to prevent politics becoming a "men-only business".

Thirsty work

Leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg and party candidate for Eastleigh Mike Thornton each drink a Banana Wharf Liberal Cocktail at Banana Wharf, Port Hamble Marina, Southampton
PA

The day's campaigning almost over, Nick Clegg has been winding down with a Lib Dem-themed cocktail in what's left of Southampton's evening sun. No alcohol, mind you - this mango, pineapple and bitter lemon concoction was mixed by Port Hamble Marina's Banana Wharf Bar.

'Babes in the wood'

Lynne Featherstone
LBC

"We were babes in the wood," says Lynne Featherstone in answering a question on the Lib Dems notorious broken promise to scrap tuition fees. "We felt terrible, we felt awful about it," she adds. "We fought to make it the best policy that we could... we turned it effectively into a graduate tax."

The human face of immigration

On the subject of immigration, BBC News met four immigrants who are part of a new campaign to try to "humanise the rhetoric" politicians use when debating immigrants.

From left to right: Mary Sithole, S Chelvan, Lois Lau and Nicolette Moonen with "I am an immigrant" posters
BBC

UKIP on Trident

UKIP MEP Mike Hookem, who's the party's defence spokesman, tells the BBC News Channel he believes Ed Miliband would bow to SNP demands over Trident to stay in power.

"If he wants to be prime minister of the country and he needs the SNP as a dealbreaker, that would be part of the deal - that they would get rid of Trident," he says.

Mike Hookem
BBC

Using the same words Michael Fallon used? This is politics, I don't believe we need to go into personal attacks."

UKIP's James pressed on Immigration

"We want people here that will contribute," says Diane James of UKIP in answer to a question on immigration. she says UKIP would reduce "the scale of unskilled immigration in this country". Tory Nicky Morgan says the country needs people to come here to contribute and pay taxes. She adds: "UKIP are all over the place in immigration policy. Diane sits here tonight and sounds incredibly reasonable, but I don't think she speaks for the rest of her party."

Iraq war riposte

LBC

"You are talking out the back of your head," exclaims Harriet Harman in response to an accusation from UKIP's Diane James that Tony Blair is trying to repress the publication of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war. "Let's try and keep our politics sane," Ms Harman adds.

BBC Radio 5 Live

Tweets: Leaving the EU would make it possible to scrap the "very unfair" VAT on sanitary products, UKIP's @DianeJamesMEP tells #Drive#GE2015

The Islamic State question

LBC

Labour's Harriet Harman says "parents and teachers are in the frontline" when it comes to protecting children from the "grooming" of the Islamic State. However, UKIP's Diane James says the issue for her emanates from a "mulitcultural agenda". She says that communities from abroad have settled in the UK but remained "insular" she says the that successive governments have "not taken the steps to fully integrate them".

Top female politicians to debate tonight

LBC

Four of the most senior female politicians in the country will do battle in a 90-minute debate on LBC Radio tonight from 19:00 BST.

Radicalisation threat

The PM is asked about the case of two Dewsbury teenagers who are feared to have travelled to Syria to join Islamic State, and how his party intends to tackle the problem of youngsters becoming radicalised.

"Previous governments have tried to separate violence on one hand and poisonous extremism on the other," says Mr Cameron, arguing that they are both part of the same problem.

'Proper' jobs?

Mr Cameron is pressed about whether apprenticeships are "proper jobs", and offered the example of current employees at Morrison's supermarket being placed on an in-work scheme. He replies: "[They] are increasing your capacity to earn more money and have a better life."

He adds: "Don't undersell apprenticeships," before repeating the Conservatives' pledge of creating three million new placements.

A day as a carer?

Host Harry Gration invites Mr Cameron to spend a day working with a Yorkshire carer. Mr Cameron says if he can find the time, he will.

PM on 'living wage'

David Cameron is speaking on the BBC's regional news programme in Yorkshire, Look North. Asked about providing the "living wage" for health care workers, the PM says: "Where [employers] can pay the living wage, they should."

The Treasury and pizza

Struggling to get your head around public spending cuts that might be implemented after the election?

It's simple - just think about pizza.

Composite image showing a More or Less quote, alongside Chancellor George Osborne holding a pizza
BBC

Tim Harford, from the BBC's More or Less team explains the spending dilemmas facing the next government to BBC Radio 4's PM programme in terms of a quattro stagioni.

"The NHS is the mushrooms, the defence budget the ham..."