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  1. The Institute for Fiscal Studies says four of the major parties have not provided "anything like full details" on plans to cut the deficit
  2. Labour and the Conservatives attacked on each other's economic plans ahead of the IFS report
  3. Mr Cameron has described the prospect of a Labour government propped up by the SNP as a "toxic tie-up"
  4. The Liberal Democrats launched a disability manifesto pledging a £150m support package for carers
  5. There are 14 days until the general election

Live Reporting

By Kristiina Cooper, Andy McFarlane and Bernadette McCague

All times stated are UK

Get involved

  1. Before we go...

    ...a quick reminder of the main stories of the day.

    Four of the major parties have not provided "anything like full details" on plans to cut the deficit, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said .

    • The IFS examined proposals from the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP and concluded that they left voters "in the dark"
    • The government received a pre-election boost with official figures showing it beat its target for reducing annual public sector borrowing for the latest financial year
    • But Labour accused the Tories of planning "ideological" cuts in the next Parliament
    • The SNP conceded its plan to cut the deficit "would take longer to achieve" - because it would invest in the economy.
    • David Cameron described the prospect of a Labour government propped up by the SNP as a "toxic tie-up"
    • The Liberal Democrats pledged a £150m support package for carers
    • And, on St George's Day, UKIP's Patrick O'Flynn joked that the party would have welcomed England's patron saint into the country because of his dragon-slaying skills
  2. A manifesto for England

    william hague

    William Hague is also talking about the launch of the Conservatives' English manifesto tomorrow. It's the first time they have produced a manifesto - specifically - for England. He says it will set out how the party would implement "English votes for English laws".

    Labour's Harriet Harman thinks the Tories are going about things "on the back of an envelope", saying it isn't up to politicians and that there should be a process to decide big constitutional matters.

  3. SNP priority to 'end austerity'

    John Swinney

    Unsurprisingly, the SNP's John Swinney (Scotland's Deputy First Minister) doesn't agree with William Hague that it would be a catastrophe for the SNP to hold the balance of power. He says the SNP's top priority is to end austerity and increase public spending.

  4. SNP success - 'a catastrophe'

    The Conservative Cabinet Minister William Hague says it would be a "catastrophe" if the SNP holds the balance of power at Westminster. Speaking on BBC's Question-Time he predicts that it would try to turn Scotland against England - and England against Scotland. The SNP wants to win elections to the Scottish Parliament, he says, so it can make the case for another referendum.

    Quote Message: The purpose of the SNP is to break up the UK." from William Hague
    William Hague
  5. Coming up later

    BBC1's This Week

    Andrew Neil is taking his late-night programme out to meet an audience tonight. He will be joined by Michael Portillo and Diane Abbott on the sofas, while Miranda Green and Kevin Maguire are having a go at a low-budget version of Poldark as they look back over the last week in politics.

    Miranda Green and Kevin Maguire filming for This Week

    Also featuring are historian Andrew Roberts and comedian Hardeep Singh Kohli, looking at nationalism, UKIP’s Suzanne Evans, and The Blondettes as the house band. Desktop viewers can watch on the Live Coverage tab above from 23:45 BST.

    Read more about the programme

  6. Question-time panel

    Question Time is under way on BBC1 with Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, William Hague for the Conservatives, UKIP's Paul Nuttall, the Green Party leader Natalie Bennett and the SNP's John Swinney.

  7. A cold shower?

    David Cowling, Editor BBC Political Research has been assessing four polls "sampled amidst the shot and shell of the Conservative campaign to tag Labour as SNP dupes". He says:

    • The day began with YouGov’s one point Labour lead (34% versus 33% for the Conservatives).
    • Survation arrived in the afternoon with a four-point Conservative lead over Labour who they put on 29%, the party’s lowest rating in the campaign so far.
    • In the early evening, Panelbase published their three-point Labour lead (34% versus 31%)
    • ComRes appeared last of all with a four-point Conservative lead – Conservative 36%, Labour 32%.

    Survation and Panelbase both registered the highest UKIP ratings for some days, 18% and 17% respectively. Intriguingly, the ComRes four-point Conservative lead accompanied their UKIP support at 10%, whereas Survation’s same Conservative lead sat alongside their UKIP rating of 18%.

    Quote Message: Just as the excitement was becoming almost unbearable, up popped a Survation poll in the Thanet South constituency suggesting Nigel Farage had a nine-point lead over the Conservatives (39% versus 30%). Sometimes a cold shower is the only cure." from David Cowling
    David Cowling
  8. Tomorrow's Guardian

    Guardian front page
  9. Tomorrow's i

    i front page
  10. Tomorrow's Daily Telegraph

    Telegraph front page
  11. Tomorrow's Financial Times

    Financial times front page
  12. Mirror poll

    Here's the Daily Mirror's take on its Survation poll, which shows Labour dropping four points to 29% .

  13. Polls apart

    Sophy Ridge, Sky News

  14. Poll puts Labour under 30%

    A Survation poll for the Daily Mirror puts Labour on 29%. The Conservatives are down one point to 33% while the Liberal Democrats are up three to 10%. Ukip is up one point to 18% while the SNP and Greens are both unchanged on 4%.

  15. Mandelson's expectations

    Channel 4

    Lord Mandelson says Ed Miliband has "way exceeded my expectations".

    The former Labour strategy chief and cabinet minister told Channel 4 News: "Miliband has moved forwards. He gained credibility.

    "He's exceeded most people's expectations. I suppose in a sense mine as well."

  16. SNP would 'prop up' Labour, 'even with fewer seats than Tories'

    Laura Kuenssberg

    Newsnight Chief Correspondent

    SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon has told BBC Newsnight she would prop up a Labour government - even if the Conservatives were the largest party by up to 40 seats.

    Asked if she would prop up a Labour administration if the party was "10, 20, 30, 40 seats" worse off, Ms Sturgeon replied: "If there was an anti-Tory majority, yes we would offer to work with Labour to stop the Tories getting back into Downing Street."

    See the full interview on BBC2 at 22.30 BST.

  17. SNP 'no friend of the Labour Party'

    Gordon Brown says the SNP doesn't want a Labour government and would prefer an "unsuccessful Tory government". In a rousing speech in Kirkcaldy (his former constituency) the ex-prime minister says the SNP hopes the English will vote Green, the Welsh for Plaid Cymru and the Scots for the SNP.

    He asks: "When has Alex Salmond or Nicola Sturgeon or any SNP MP advocated a vote for the Labour Party?"

    He adds:

    Quote Message: They only succeed when there's an unsuccessful Tory government." from Gordon Brown
    Gordon Brown
  18. No campaign cobblers here

    Andrew Neil

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    The Daily Politics is touring the UK talking to voters at 18 locations and asking for their views on the general election - and Thursday's stop was in Northamptonshire. Reporter Giles Dilnot spoke to shoemakers Steve Flint, Brian Baddock and John Essam about what could make them cast their ballot in a particular way. Watch the film

    Giles with shoemakers in Northamptonshire
  19. Gordon Brown

    Former Labour Prime Minister Gordon Brown is speaking in Kirkcaldy. He says it's a "scandal" that so many families are unable to meet their basic needs, "as a result of punitive decisions that have been made by governments".

    Gordon Brown
  20. Another ex-PM speaks out

    Chris Mason, BBC political correspondent tweets:

  21. Tough, wiser, smarter

    Not the name of a self-help book but Nick Clegg's view on how he has changed since entering government in 2010. Speaking to Channel 5 News, the Lib Dem leader revealed he was "tough, wiser, smarter" but also humble enough to learn from the mistakes he'd made. And he still had bags of energy", he said, to carry on.

    Mr Clegg was also asked why we never see his children. He said he'd "love to show them off", as he was proud of them, but he wanted them to have the innocence of other children and not be made to feel any different.

  22. Doing the Labour-SNP maths

    BBC Radio 4

    A Miliband-SNP pact would cost families £350 each...that was a report on the front page of today's Telegraph, based on an interview with the Chancellor George Osborne. Ruth Alexander, from More or Less, has been examining the maths behind the story for Radio 4's PM.

    The chancellor has added up the Treasury costings of extra borrowing - pledged by the SNP - over four years and come up with £148bn. Extra borrowing means higher debt interest payments. Ruth says the chancellor has added up those extra payments the Treasury says the SNP plans might generate and got "a nice big number" of about £6bn over four years. Next, he divided that not by the number of people in the UK but by a much smaller number - the number of working households "to get himself a nice big final number - £350 for every working household".

    Ruth took the chancellor's own numbers to tell a different story. She took the estimated £148bn of extra borrowing and divided it by the number of working households. That means £8,500 more per household on public spending.

  23. Get involved


    Richard Tunnicliffe:

  24. Have your say


    Helen Hughes, mother of two ex-students:

  25. Cameron campaign: behind the scenes


    The BBC's Carole Walker has been following David Cameron's election campaign around the country. Today, she takes us behind the scenes at one of the prime minister's stop-offs in Penzanze, Cornwall.


  26. Get involved

    Text: 61124

    Politics Live viewer:

    SMS Message: Too many young people are being encouraged to go to university. Apprenticeships in skills are more appropriate for the middle and lower percentiles of intelligence otherwise the degree obtained is of doubtful value to both recipient and society as a whole.
  27. Building bridges with business?

    Jim Pickard, Chief Political Correspondent for the Financial Times tweets

  28. Does England need its own Parliament?

    Andrew Neil

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    The chairman of the English Democrats says UKIP's manifesto has "no mention of England or English in it" as he pushes his party's manifesto on St George's Day. Robin Tilbrook told the BBC's Daily Politics the fundamental issue for his party was "what happens to the English nation", which UKIP does not cover. The English Democrats are campaigning for an English Parliament and, ultimately, for an independent England. Watch the interview

    Chairman of the English Democrats Robin Tilbrook
  29. Turning election leaflets into history...

    Wondering what to do with all those election leaflets that keep popping through the letterbox After you've read them of course. Well, before they go in the bin or recycling box, take a photo. And send them to an organisation called . They're keen to analyse them and keep them for posterity. At the moment, they've got 2,000 in the archive but they've got a target of 10,000.

  30. Was St George a skilled migrant?

    Michael Deacon, Political sketch writer, Telegraph tweets

  31. Much tweet-twoo about nothing?

    UKIP candidate Mark Reckless (left) and Labour candidate Stella Creasy

    Another day, another political spat on Twitter. Today's row between UKIP's Mark Reckless and Stella Creasy was over an image retweeted by the Labour candidate that showed an X next to her name on a constituent's postal ballot.

    You've broken the law, declared Mr Reckless. Er, no, responded Ms Creasy.

    Who was right? Well the Electoral Commission told reporters that photos of postal ballots are treated differently to images taken inside polling booths, adding: "A postal voter may take a picture of their own postal ballot paper and publicise it."

    Despite this, the police apparently told Mr Reckless that "an offence may have been committed" but no action would be taken as the Twitter user had now set his account to private. Time to clarify the law?

  32. Cutting the UK deficit

    John Rentoul, Columnist, Independent on Sunday tweets

  33. The only poll that matters?

    Jane Merrick, Political Editor of @indyonsunday tweets

  34. What is the Institute for Fiscal Studies?

    As the IFS delivers another withering verdict on the main parties' deficit reduction plans - that they leave voters "in the dark" - Nick Higham (for the BBC's Reality Check) has been looking at the organisation that crunches the numbers.

    Nick HIgham

    The IFS was founded in 1969 with the aim of informing public debate about economics and has a team of around 40 full-time research economists. It's funded mainly through academic grants but also gets money from the EU, charities and government departments.

    However, Higham points out: "Its own finances are actually rather precarious."

    Quote Message: One measure of how trusted it is could be the rarity with which it's attacked."
  35. Attacking the messenger?

    Lord Ashcroft, former Deputy Chairman of the Conservative Party tweets

  36. Your questions for Leanne Wood

    BBC News Channel

    Leanne Wood

    Coming up at 17:30 BST on the BBC News Channel, Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood will be taking viewers' questions on the party's policies.

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

  37. No time to pray?

    Ben Riley-Smith, Political Correspondent, Daily Telegraph tweets

  38. Labour 'inadequate' on immigration

    While Ed Miliband plans a 100-strong taskforce to combat gangmasters who exploit migrant workers, senior Labour MP Frank Field reckons the pledge doesn't go far enough.

    He tells Buzzfeed: "I thought it was inadequate what he said - setting up 100 people to deal with some of the abuses in immigration when we shouldn't actually have unrestricted immigration in the first place."

    Frank Field

    Mr Field criticises all parties for a lack of honesty about NHS costs and wonders "what are we so frightened of?"

    However, he praises Mr Miliband's overall performance.

    Quote Message: He's improved morale of those who are trying to deliver leaflets and knock on doors but also I think of Labour voters."
  39. DJ Mike Reid is UKIP quizmaster

    John Stevens, Daily Mail political reporter tweets

  40. Recap

    A quick recap of the day's major stories, as your early team of Aiden James and Matthew West prepare to hand over to the late team.

    • Four of the major parties have not provided "anything like full details" on plans to cut the deficit, the Institute for Fiscal Studies has said
    • The IFS examined proposals from the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems and the SNP
    • The government received a pre-election boost with official figures showing it beat its target for reducing annual public sector borrowing for the latest financial year
    • But Labour accused the Tories of planning "ideological" cuts in the next Parliament
    • The SNP conceded its plan to cut the deficit "would take longer to achieve" - because it would invest in the economy.
    • David Cameron described the prospect of a Labour government propped up by the SNP as a "toxic tie-up" - a day after his Labour predecessor Gordon Brown accused the current PM of stoking English nationalism
    • The Liberal Democrats pledged a £150m support package for carers
    • And, on St George's Day, UKIP's Patrick O'Flynn joked that the party would have welcomed England's patron saint into the country because of his dragon-slaying skills
  41. Cameron: Meeting 'about saving lives'

    Cameron in Brussels

    David Cameron has arrived at an EU summit in Brussels to discuss how to prevent further migrant deaths in the Mediterranean. He said the meeting "had to be about saving lives”.

    The UK will be offering HMS Bulwark along with three helicopters and two border patrol ships.

    He added:

    Quote Message: Saving lives means rescuing these poor people but it also means smashing these gangs and stabilising the region. Now Britain as ever will help. We will use our aid budget to stabilise neighbouring countries and, as the country in Europe with the biggest defence budget, we can make a real contribution."
  42. The robot election?

    Newsbeat's election game



    Have you tried BallotBots yet? It's a game all about the general election, except Newsbeat have turned your leaders into robots. Your task is to pair politicians with voters as you progress through a series of zones on your way to Number 10. But beware campaign pitfalls and tricky obstacles.

    Try it here on BBC Taster

  43. Tories 'happy with' tuition fees

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Nicky Morgan

    Education Secretary Nicky Morgan says the Conservatives are "very happy with the levels" of university tuition fees in England.

    Asked if she would rule out raising the £9,000 cap, she says "it's not something that we're looking at at all".

    Pressed further, she insists:

    Quote Message: It's not our policy. Why would we want to raise it?It's working.
  44. Galloway to run for London mayor?

    Adam Boulton, Sky News tweets:

  45. The seat where every vote counts

    Victoria Derbyshire speaks to voters in a marginal seat

    Victoria Derbyshire

    Voters from Hampstead and Kilburn tell Victoria Derbyshire how being in a marginal seat influences their choice at election time.

    Voters from Hampstead and Kilburn
    Image caption: Voters from Hampstead and Kilburn
  46. Tuition fees row

    Labour's Tristram Hunt accuses the Lib Dems of a "grotesque misleading of the British people" over the coalition's decision to raise university tuition fees in England.

    Education Minister David Laws retorts: "We at least had the explanation that were we in a coalition."

    He says Labour in government broke a pledge not to introduce tuition fees and another pledge not to increase them.

  47. Sex education age

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    The five party representatives in the Daily Politics education debate are asked what they think is an appropriate age for sex education for children.

    Conservative Nicky Morgan says it should be offered "right the way through from primary school in an age-appropriate way" - by which she means from age 11.

    Lib Dem David Laws teaching about relationships from the age of seven.

    James Humphreys from the Green Party says pupils "should start personal and social education" at seven but it should be up to teachers to decide when sex education should start.

    Jonahan Arnott from UKIP support sex education from 11 but says it is appropriate to teach about relationships and internet safety before that age.

    Tristram Hunt says he backs "teaching children in primary schools about the importance of marriage and stable relationships".

  48. Education debate panel

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Daily Politics panel

    The panel for today's Daily Politics debate, which mainly concerns education policy in England.

    Education is a devolved matter in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

  49. Greens and private schools

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    James Humphreys says the Greens would "take the charitable status away from private schools" and ultimately want them to join the state sector.

    He adds that if a private school wants to continue without charitable status, that is "fine" if "regrettable".

    It's also fine for faith schools to continue but "if people are prevented from going to a school it is divisive in communities", he argues.

  50. YouGov poll puts Labour ahead by a nose...

    ...and we mean a nose too. Its latest Nowcast polling data puts Labour 1% ahead of the Conservative party with 34% of the vote.

    YouGov says this would give Labour 277 seats versus 270 for the Tories and 27 for the Lib Dems.

    There are some worrying forecasts for some high-profile politicians in there too.

    YouGov has Lib Dem Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander losing his seat to the SNP.

    Lib Dem leader NIck Clegg's Sheffield Hallam seat is considered too close to call, as is the South Thanet seat UKIP leader Nigel Farage is trying to win.

  51. 'Unqualified' teachers

    Tristram Hunt goes on the attack, accusing the Conservative and Lib Dem coalition of being "obsessed with structural change" in the education sector in England.

    He is questioned about Labour's position on unqualified teachers. He argues that teachers should be qualified or in the process of gaining a qualification.

    Nicky Morgan denies that the presence of a minority of unqualified teachers has affected standards.

    "We have a million more children in schools rated as good or outstanding," she says.

  52. Spell it out

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Questions have been asked in some quarters about the standard of spelling and grammar in Labour's manifesto.

    Andrew Neil asks Tristram Hunt: "Why should we trust our children's education to a party whose manifesto is littered with typos, spelling and grammatical mistakes?"

    The Shadow Education Secretary says Labour will maintain rigorous tests of "spelling, punctuation and grammar so that in the future, manifestos flow as smoothly as Michael Young's 1945 manifesto did".

  53. The one-off leader

    UKIP's candidate for Coventry South tweets...

  54. The Spectator's view

    The magazine's editor tweets...

  55. Some fun campaign moments for politicians

    Andrew Neil

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    George Bush dancing

    The election can be about opinion polls, education and GDP for some people - but there is often time for a bit of fun as well. The Daily Politics team looked into the archives to find some lighter moments of British and international politicians on the campaign trail. Watch the montage

  56. Education election debate

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    The latest Daily Politics election debate has just begun.

    Today's topic is education.

    On the panel are Conservative Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Lib Dem Schools Minister David Laws, Labour Shadow Education Secretary Tristram Hunt, James Humphreys from the Green Party and Jonathan Arnott from UKIP.

  57. John Ware on Lutfur Rahman

    The World at One

    BBC Radio 4

    John Ware, who reported for BBC One's Panorama on some of the allegations against Tower Hamlets mayor Lutfur Rahman - including that he'd improperly funnelled public money into organisations run by supporters - speaks to Radio 4's The World at One.

    Election Commissioner Richard Mawrey QC ruled Mr Rahman had driven a coach and horses through election law. The judge found the mayor had engaged in corrupt practices, and barred him from standing in the re-run election.

    John Ware says the finding that struck him most was the "finding on undue spiritual influence" - in this case, telling Muslims it was their religious duty to vote for him.

    He says the court had "exhumed" a little-known law, last used in County Meath when what is now the Republic of Ireland was part of the United Kingdom.

  58. Ice lolly

  59. Sad man on a train (no, not that one)

    Sky News

    Spare a thought for Sky News presenter and former political editor Adam Boulton who appears to have spent far too long on the train to Glasgow while out trying to cover the election campaign.

    He began tweeting about his travails about six hours ago somewhere near Crewe, pleading for help as his Caledonian sleeper train had apparently broken down.

    His most recent tweet informs his followers he has moved a further 40 miles on in his northern odyssey and is now "somewhere north of Wigan". Oh dear.

  60. Robert Peston: The huge choice for voters

    Robert Peston

    Business editor

    The economic choice confronting voters is the starkest since 1992. That is the assessment of the Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) of the main parties' deficit reduction plans.

    The best way of seeing this choice is that, if the Tories and Labour deliver their plans, the national debt by 2020 would be £90bn lower in today's money under the Conservatives, but cuts to so-called unprotected government departments would be just £1bn under Labour compared with £30bn under the Tories.

  61. Can Pankhurst convince teen to vote?

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Helen Pankhurst and Rachel Robinson

    Can Helen Pankhurst, the great-granddaughter of suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst, convince Rachel Robinson, a 19-year-old non-voter to change her mind?

    Rachel met Helen Pankhurst at Trafalgar Square, where Emmeline Pankhurst gave her famous speeches in 1908.

    Hear the interview to find out if Rachel was persuaded to change her mind.

  62. Recap: IFS on deficit reduction

    A quick recap of the Institute for Fiscal Studies' assessment of plans to reduce the deficit by the Tories, Labour, Lib Dems and SNP.

    The Conservatives would cut the deficit each year until it reaches a surplus in 2018-19.

    Labour would cut the deficit more slowly until 2018-19 when government borrowing would be 1.4% of GDP.

    The IFS said spending would be higher under Labour than the SNP at the end of the Parliament.

    The Lib Dems say they would be "somewhere between" the Conservatives and Labour, the IFS adds.

    The IFS said "broad outlines" of the choice on offer were on show but the electorate had been left "somewhere in the dark" over cuts planned by the parties. It said "all four parties' plans imply further austerity" over the next five years.

    The IFS did not examine the UKIP or Green manifestos as there was not time between the publication of the plans and the publication of its analysis.

  63. IFS report

    Reaction from BBC correspondents

  64. Electoral changes ahead?

    George Eaton, Political Editor, New Statesman

  65. Add to the debate


    Karen Whitehouse:

  66. Big philosophical difference between Labour and Tories

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Chris Leslie

    Labour’s Shadow Chief Secretary to the Treasury Chris Leslie says there is a big philosophical difference between Labour and the Conservatives. He tells the Daily Politics achieving a Budget surplus is contingent on what happens in the economy.

    Mr Leslie says the Conservatives look at public finances “as if they are somehow separate from the economy and it doesn’t matter what goes on with growth or wages”.

    He says: “We take a different view active government can have an effect on the economy and can in turn have an effect on the public finances.”

  67. Donations

    Jim Pickard, Financial Times

  68. Have your say


    Brian Shepherd:

  69. Add to the debate


    Steve Clarke:

  70. Chris Saxon



    Quote Message: Amazed Nick Clegg declined to attend an all party forum held by local radio in his constituency, Sheffield Hallam last night! #LibDem
  71. Get involved

    Text: 61124

    Politics Live viewer:

    SMS Message: As a disabled person, I feel neither of the two main parties are interested in my vote. They are only interested in hardworking families. Many disabled people feel excluded from society, we are the first portion of society to suffer cuts.
  72. Rob Merrick, Westminster reporter

  73. Alastair Stewart

  74. IFS on party spending plans

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Gemma Tetlow

    Gemma Tetlow of the IFS tells the Daily Politics there are “different omissions from each of the different political parties".

    She says: "The Tories have been very clear about what borrowing reductions they want to achieve but they have been very unclear about how they achieve that".

    They [the Tories] have £5bn of unspecified tax avoidance measures, she says, £10bn from unspecified social security cuts and £30bn of cuts required to unprotected departmental spending that aren’t mentioned anywhere in their manifesto.

    “Labour on the other hand have given much less detail about really what they want the level of borrowing to be and how quickly they want to get that down in the next parliament,” she says. Taking the loosest interpretation of what they have said, their sums do just about add up, she adds.

  75. Ian Dunt, Editor of



    Quote Message: Labour and Tory efforts to shut out voters are ultimately self-defeating …
  76. Joe Watts, Political Correspondent for the Evening Standard



    Quote Message: Voters who say "they're all the same" should look at the big differences in parties’ plans as highlighted by the IFS …
  77. Jason Beattie, @DailyMirror political editor



  78. Send us your comments


    John England:

  79. Add to the debate:


    Adam Eveleigh:

  80. Get involved


    Kathryn Luck:

  81. Owen Meredith



    Quote Message: More embarrassment for Labour's @IanMearnsMP today as ONS say deficit more than halved since 2010. …
  82. Emily Ashton, Senior Political Correspondent @BuzzFeedUK.



    Quote Message: Frank Field says party leaders should be brave & talk to real people during campaign to make it "come alive": …
  83. Craig Woodhouse, The Sun political correspondent



    Quote Message: Interesting under-reported poll finding from @YouGov - support for staying In the EU is at a record 10 point lead. …
  84. BBC story: Electorate 'left in the dark', says IFS

    Your comments

    Stuart8827 comments on this story:

    Is it any wonder the parties are reluctant to give details. The reality is there is only two ways to cut the deficit; increase taxes or cut back on spending. Neither of these are going to be vote winners so all the parties beat about the bush hoping that no one will notice until it's too late.

    Gordon comments:

    The elephant in the room that the IFS have missed and that really leaves the electorate in the dark is that the parties can say anything they like to get elected and ignore them and in fact vote in the opposite direction - student fees anyone - and there is nothing the electorate can do for another 5 years when another lying round begins.

  85. A key marginal

    BBC Radio 5 Live

  86. Send us your views


    Mark Watson, Thame, Oxfordshire:

  87. Politicians on the NHS in Wales

    BBC News Channel

    Debating the NHS in Wales on the BBC News Channel, UKIP's Simon Mahoney says Labour is "trying to shut down honest, decent debate" on the health service. He accuses the party of painting any criticism of the Welsh government's record as an attack on health service preofessionals.

    Lib Dem candidate Jenny Willott says the Welsh government is "very centralising" and the Lib Dems would like to see "decisions made closer to the people".

    For the Greens, Pippa Bartolotti says "this is about austerity, ultimately" which she says is an "ideological choice".

  88. Joe Watts, Political Correspondent for the Evening Standard



    Quote Message: No wonder Tower Hamlets 1st decided not to stand in the area's two parliamentary seats, as many had expected them to. #writingonthewall
  89. Picture: Lutfur Rahman

    Lutfur Rahman

    Lutfur Rahman is the former Labour leader on Tower Hamlets Council and now leads Tower Hamlets First (THF).

  90. On the Daily Politics from noon

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Coming up on the Daily Politics: Jo Coburn offers a red and white hat to the speakers at a UKIP conference on St George's Day, Giles Dilnot is talking to shoemakers in the East Midlands about their election views, they will talk to Lord West about immigration, and also hear more about the threat to behead a UKIP candidate. Viewers on the desktop site can watch via the Live Coverage tab above.

    Jo Coburn at UKIP press conference
  91. BreakingTower Hamlets mayor Rahman guilty

    Lutfur Rahman, the mayor of Tower Hamlets in east London, has been found guilty of corrupt and illegal practices by an Election Court judge who concluded that he had breached rules governing elections.

  92. 'More positive picture'

    The British Chambers of Commerce says the government has made progress in reducing the deficit but warns that huge challenges remain.

    Commenting on the publication of the public sector borrowing statistics for the financial year ending March 2015, the BCC's chief economist, David Kern, said:

    Quote Message: Despite a slow start to the financial year, we have seen welcome progress in recent months. Looking at the financial year as a whole, we see a more positive picture - the deficit is much lower than the previous year. However, when compared with 2010 we have cut only half the fiscal deficit. We have to make more progress towards stabilising our public finances - it is a difficult but necessary task. The challenges in the financial sector and lower oil and gas output constrain our ability to generate tax receipts. The simple if uncomfortable truth is we must focus on reducing public spending so that we can live within our means. The next government must focus on creating conditions that will make it possible for businesses to drive a sustainable recovery."
  93. Steve Hawkes, deputy political editor, the Sun



    Quote Message: The SNP's plans for the economy "imply a longer period of austerity", say the boffins at the Institute of Fiscal Studies. Well, well, well !
  94. Osborne says other parties live in 'unreal world'

    George Osborne

    Chancellor George Osborne is campaigning on the government's economic record in Morley, West Yorkshire.

    He says the UK is growing faster than other western economies and has "the highest employment rate in our history".

    Quote Message: It would be easy at this election to say job done, no further difficult decisions are required. And that is indeed the unreal world inhabited by our political opponents."
  95. TUC: 'Deficit targets missed'

    BBC News Channel

    Commenting on the publication of the public sector borrowing statistics, TUC general secretary Frances O'Grady says the chancellor's economic strategy has failed.

    Quote Message: The chancellor has missed his deficit targets by a country mile. He is borrowing £50bn more this year than his initial target because of the abysmal failure of his economic plan. The chancellor failed to reduce the deficit because he failed to get wages growing. It left the public finances in a mess because income tax revenues and national insurance receipts fell £33bn short of expectations for the last year alone. The extreme cuts the Conservatives want after the election will kill-off the recovery, put wages back in decline and leave our schools, hospitals and other services without the vital revenues they need.
  96. Welsh NHS debate

    BBC News Channel

    Welsh politicians have been debating the NHS in Wales on the BBC News Channel.

    Labour candidate Mari Williams says her party created the NHS and is promising 1,000 more nurses in Wales.

    Andrew RT Davies, who leads the Conservatives in the Welsh Assembly, says "a conscious decision" was taken by the Labour Welsh government to cut the NHS, while the Tory-led UK government protected health spending.

    Plaid Cyrmu's Simon Thomas says "we have to have the resources" to recruit more staff to the NHS in Wales.

  97. IFS: Labour offers 'disappointingly little information'

    IFS deputy director Carl Emmerson says, while the Conservatives have set out their stall on how they would eliminate the budget deficit and run a fiscal surplus by 2018-19, Labour has provided “disappointingly little“ information on what it would borrow if it were to form the next government.

    He says Labour has said it wants national debt falling and a surplus on the current budget as soon as possible in the next Parliament. The party has another objective to cut spending in unprotected departments every year until it meets its first objective.

    He says the IFS has assumed Labour would stick to the government’s fiscal plans for 2015-16. It has then assumed Labour would freeze unprotected departments or “deliver very small cuts if you like and we find that is sufficient to bring them to a budget balance by 2018-19”.

  98. Alex Thomson, Chief Correspondent and Presenter, Channel 4 News



    Quote Message: The time is overdue for journos to wreck attempts by spinners to stage manage the election - destroy destroy destroy destroy destroy destro
  99. Do the parties financial plans stack up?

    As mentioned earlier, the Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) has taken a look at the main political parties’ financial plans to see if they stack up. Carl Emmerson, deputy director at the IFS, points out first and foremost the scale of the mountain either Labour or the Conservatives still have to climb.

    Cutting government borrowing by 1% of gross domestic product (GDP) will, he says, be the equivalent of £19bn of spending cuts or tax rises.

    Government borrowing has fallen from 10% of GDP at the height of the financial crisis to around 5% today, he adds.

  100. In Gordon Brown's old constituency

    A shop

    With all the coverage of Gordon Brown at the moment, Alan Soady's been testing the mood in his political heartland:

    Quote Message: As you can see from the pic, the SNP's is the only shop on Kirkcaldy High Street with a wheelbarrow of flowers parked outside. In previous general elections, it has never exactly a bed of roses for the SNP. Last time around, the local Labour MP - Gordon Brown - had a rock solid majority of more than 23,000.

    Yet it's those who are backing the SNP who appear the most optimistic - and the most willing to boast of how they intend to vote. Of course there are still Labour supporters hoping Kenny Selbie will succeed Brown (here are all the candidates standing), as Alan Soady says:

    Quote Message: A pensioner called Margaret was feistily anti-SNP, describing Nicola Sturgeon as a 'nippy sweetie' who goes 'stalking about in those six-inch heels'. But most of the Labour-leaning voters I spoke to seemed reluctant to say so. Perhaps in the privacy of the ballot box things will be different."
  101. UKIP press conference - hats ready for St George's day

  102. Steve Hawkes, Deputy Political Editor, The Sun



    Quote Message: Govt borrowed just over £87 billion in the last year, Britain's debt now almost £1.6 trillion... Yet people say it's time to ease up...
  103. Chancellor undershoots borrowing target again

    Something of a boon this for Chancellor George Osborne and his colleagues. Official figures show government borrowing for the financial year 2014-2015, which ended in April, fell to £87.3bn.

    This is fairly significant for a couple of reasons. Firstly it's the second year in a row that government borrowing has fallen below target, which suggests the economy is continuing to improve.

    Second, it's the rate at which government borrowing is falling. Last year the government borrowed £98.4bn, so this year's figure of £87.3bn shaves £11.1bn off the previous year's borrowing figure.

    Not only that but the borrowing target for 2014-15 has been under constant attack in the past year undergoing several revisions by the Office of Budget Responsibility. The borrowing target had started at around £95bn in the March 2014 Budget before falling to £90.2bn in March 2015.

    Expect to hear plenty about the country's economic progress under the Conservatives in the next couple of days especially if next week's economic growth figure is favourable too.

    The election could still turn out to be about the economy after all.

  104. Alastair Campbell



    Quote Message: All you need to know re @David_Cameron - he goes to meeting with young people and can't say what the Living wage is. Lazy and out of touch
  105. Jason Farrell, Senior Political Correspondent for Sky News



    Quote Message: Are we swelling with pride today? Or are we worried that nationalism is becoming a divisive force in politics?
  106. BBC Reality Check

    Reality Check


    Quote Message: Not long now.Who's best for UK business? Get your questions to #AskBBCKamal for live Q&A starts 11:00 BST
  107. 'Toxic tie-up'

    David Cameron quotes his predecessor, former Labour PM Gordon Brown - something he says he doesn't often do - who has warned that SNP MPs could bring "constitutional chaos".

    "For once, Gordon Brown is absolutely spot-on right", Mr Cameron says, though he does not mention Mr Brown's attack on him for allegedly "whipping up English nationalism".

    The prime minister insists he cares "passionately" about the Union and it is SNP politicians who want to "drive a wedge" between the countries of the UK.

    Quote Message: I am very fearful of what could happen if this toxic tie-up between Labour and SNP takes place."
  108. Clegg: UK can't save all refugees


    Nick Clegg

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is taking part in his regular weekly phone-in show. He is asked about the refugee crisis in southern Europe and the UK’s response.

    The Lib Dem leader says the UK is duty bound under international law to help people who are genuinely fleeing violence and persecution.

    Could the UK do more? Perhaps, he says, but even if the UK were to do more of that… could the country absorb all of those people who are fleeing their homes, “which are being bombed to smithereens”. No, clearly not.

    "At the end of the day it is Eritreans and Syrians who are fleeing wars raging in their home countries," Mr Clegg says. That’s not a problem that the UK can solve from the outside, he says.

    What the UK can do is bear down on the smugglers, alleviate the worst forms of suffering and give huge amounts of aid to those that are being displaced, Mr Clegg adds.

    He claims he insisted that the government initiated its Syrian resettlement programme in the face of some considerable resistance in parts of Whitehall.

    But at the same time he is reluctant to commit the UK to accepting 14,000 Syrian refugees as recommended by the United Nations special rapporteur.

  109. Boos for Miliband and Salmond

    David Cameron continues a theme which his chancellor has been pushing on the news programmes already today: "We 've got a choice. On the 8 May we can have George Osborne and me back at our desks, working, delivering this plan for Cornwall, or we can have Ed Miliband."

    The mention of the Labour leader is accompanied by a few pantomime boos from Conservative supporters.

    Mr Cameron claims that "the stakes in this election have just got higher" because "Labour face wipeout in Scotland at the hands of the SNP" and Ed Miliband would need them to become prime minister.

    The mention of "Alex Salmond and his crew" brings more boos.

  110. Jack Blanchard, Deputy Political Editor, Daily Mirror



    Quote Message: Unlike the floundering PM yesterday, Nick Clegg manages to correctly answer both London and national living wage rates. H/T @JamesMcGrory
  111. Cameron in Cornwall

    David Cameron

    David Cameron is speaking in Penzance, promising £7.2bn in investment for transport in the south-west of England and a plan to create jobs and fund apprenticeships.

    The Conservatives are campaigning hard in this part of the world, which is home to a number of marginal seats.

    The prime minister also promises "year-on-year" investment in the NHS: "The Cornish NHS is precious to your families. It's pretty precious to my family. I had a baby right here in Cornwall."

    His wife Samantha spent three nights in the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro in 2010 after giving birth to the couple's daughter Florence during a family holiday.

  112. Dress down Thursday

    Prime Minister David Cameron sported a more casual look than usual as he arrived in Cornwall this morning (although the red box suggests he may have been doing a bit of prime ministering on the train west)

    David Cameron
  113. Miliband: 'One Direction have nothing to fear'

    Ed Miliband

    Naturally, Lorraine Kelly turns to the social media craze known as #Milifandom which has seen Ed Miliband's face photoshopped onto the faces of some famous heart-throbs including Harry Styles from One Direction and David Beckham.

    "One Direction have nothing to fear from me," the Labour leader says.

    Japery aside, Mr Miliband remarks that the originator of Milifandom is making points about "young people's voice in politics" adding that he is "happy to be the person standing up for young people".

  114. Lorraine Kelly talks to Ed Miliband

    Labour leader Ed Miliband

    Over on ITV, Lorraine Kelly chats to the Labour leader Ed Miliband, having spoken to UKIP leader Nigel Farage and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg earlier this week.

    "I'm enjoying this campaign", says Mr Miliband, "I'm relishing being out there talking to people".

    Asked about Labour's woes in Scotland, the party leader accepts there is a "frustration with politics" and over whether anyone can "answer questions about the country's problems". But he again rules out a coalition with the SNP and says there are "big, big, differences" between the parties. "I think the best thing is to fight for a Labour government, a Labour majority," he says.

    "People are seeing the real me, rather than the caricature," Mr Miliband responds, after being told an opinion poll suggests he is seen as "weird" and "weak".

    Quote Message: I'm not trying to win a photo opportunity competition, and if I did, I probably wouldn't win it."
  115. Leslie on Labour's priorities

    BBC News Channel

    Chris Leslie

    Labour's Chris Leslie moves to the BBC News channel, where he sets out the ground on which his party wants the election arguments to take place.

    "We're wanting to talk about living standards, the cost of living and the NHS," he says, trying to move the debate away from Conservative warnings of a Labour-SNP pact.

    "We are very determined to make sure that we get the deficit down," he says, but insists Labour won't "just rely on cuts in order to do it".

  116. BBC Reality Check

    Reality Check


    Quote Message: #BBC #Business Editor @bbckamal takes your election questions here at 1100BST. Send them to #AskBBCKamal. #GE2015
  117. Sofa, so good

    Rory Bremner

    Rory Bremner makes a big impression on the Good Morning Britain sofa on ITV/STV/UTV, where he admits his Nick Clegg has "never been that good", although his David Cameron is better. He says Nigel Farage "bounces all the time", while he bemoans the loss of William Hague from the Westminster scene.

  118. 'Extreme ideological cuts'

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Labour Treasury spokesman Chris Leslie is on Today, accusing the Conservatives of planning "extreme ideological cuts" to public services.

    He claims his opponents want "cuts of a deeper level than any advanced economy".

    He also questions George Osborne's ability to balance the books.

    Quote Message: If the Chancellor goes down this road of the low-wage economy... don't be surprised if you see tax receipts fall."
  119. St George's bank holiday anyone?

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    It's St George's Day - and UKIP are using the occasion to launch their policy of turning the day into a new Bank Holiday.

    "What this is about is putting another day in the calendar that brings people together," the party's culture spokesman, Peter Whittle, tells Radio 5 Live Breakfast.

    "We feel that in fact this would be very, very popular and there's been a growing demand for marking of St George's Day over the past few years - but the other parties don't really take it that seriously."

  120. Osborne: 'stark choice' ahead for electorate

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    Mr Osborne admits the election is very close but claims the Conservatives have run “a very positive campaign”. He says the choice facing the country has become “clearer and clearer and starker and starker”.

    He tells BBC Radio 4's Today:

    Quote Message: “I think the way people are now seeing these two potential outcomes: us getting straight back to work on 8 May building on what Britain has achieved over the last five years - going on creating jobs - or what, and I don’t often agree with him, Gordon Brown last night described as the constitutional chaos of a government unable to command a majority for every budget resolution... this is about putting plainly before the British people…the choice they face. And an election does distill that choice.”
  121. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez on Good Morning Britain

    Miriam Gonzalez Durantez

    Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, wife of Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg, has been on the Good Morning Britain sofa talking about her work inspiring young women.

    She was also asked about her revelation from earlier in the week that she has been writing a "secret" food blog with her sons. Ms Gonzalez Durantez confirmed she feared her husband's advisers would "go crazy" if they'd discovered the blog.

    She also remarked that it was "sad" she has been living in the UK for 10 years, paying taxes, but is unable to vote in the general election.

    And asked if her husband will retain his Sheffield Hallam seat, she said she was confident he would. A full list of the candidates standing there can be found here.

  122. Michael White, Guardian columnist



    Quote Message: Warning against Labour George Osborne on R4 Today cites major investment banks, the very people who caused the financial crash & recession !
  123. Osborne: Jobs 'under threat' if Labour wins

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    George Osborne

    George Osborne warns jobs will be under threat if Labour forms the next government. He admits the country faces a productivity challenge but the answer is not to think that we can “borrow our way out of this problem or rack up the debts again” or become hostage to “a deeply unstable political combination of the Scottish Nationalists and Ed Miliband”.

  124. Tim Montgomerie, columnist for @TheTimes



    Quote Message: John Humphrys to @George_Osborne: no one is mentioning SNP on the doorstep. Simply not true according to many candidates I talk to #r4today
  125. Isabel Hardman, assistant editor, The Spectator



    Quote Message: Humphrys not quite right no-one mentions the SNP on the doorstep. Reason Tories have gone for this line is it has worked surprisingly well.
  126. Osborne: Country faces very clear choice

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    “We are achieving the kind of economic growth this country wants to see… I think a lot of that is at risk. We’re two weeks go until this election," Chancellor George Osborne tells the Today programme.

    "And it’s coming down to a very clear choice on the economy and on 8 May we can either get straight back to work with a clear plan that is delivering for our country or we face this deeply unstable Miliband-SNP government committed to much more borrowing and that leads to a dangerous cocktail, which increasingly international investors say will lead to higher mortgage rates, higher taxes and lost jobs.

    "And we’ve got to avoid that outcome having achieved so much over five years.”

  127. UKIP star fading?

    The Spectator points to a new opinion poll from ComRes which has UKIP trailing in third place in ten Conservative-held seats which UKIP have targeted. Across the polled seats, the Tories are on 39%, Labour on 28% and UKIP trailing on 21%.

    While UKIP's vote share has increased by 15% since 2010, ComRes’s findings suggest they will struggle to win thanks to the collapse in the Liberal Democrat vote. The Spectator says the poll reveals a quarter of Lib Dem voters in these seats say they will now back Labour and 21% will back the Tories.

    However, a UKIP party source described it as a "terrible way of doing the poll" with a suggestion that several of the seats polled by ComRes are not top targets for the party.

  128. Osborne: Families will be £350 worse off under Labour

    George Osborne

    Chancellor George Osborne has given an interview to the Daily Telegraph in which he claims independent Treasury analysis reveals a Labour government propped up by the SNP would add £6bn to the UK's debt interest bill, equivalent to £358 for every household.

    The newspaper reports the Chancellor as warning that a Labour-SNP administration would lead to lost jobs, higher taxes and would put the UK on the brink of a return to recession.

    It adds: "Mr Osborne said that a pact between Labour and the Scottish separatists would take Britain back to the “misery and destroyed livelihoods” it experienced five or six years ago."

  129. In search of Mondeo Man

    BBC Radio 4 Today

    BBC Radio 4's Today programme continues its coverage of 100 constituencies in 100 days ahead of polling day on 7 May.

    John Humphrys is in Birmingham Northfield in search of the archetypal voter politicians appeal to.

    Ben Page from Ipsos Mori suggests the reason a Worcester Woman or Mondeo Man haven't been identified is because this year's election is more complex with more marginal seats.

  130. Lib Dem peer rounds on SNP

    Baroness Williams

    Lib Dem peer Baroness Williams has attacked the SNP in a letter to the Times, focusing on the party's record in government in Scotland.

    Recent Conservative attacks on the party have sought to raise fears of a post-election deal with Labour, but Baroness Williams claims there has been an "absence of any detailed analysis south of the border of the SNP’s record in government".

    She claims that "the Scottish NHS is in crisis" and accuses the SNP - which has formed the Scottish government since 2007 - of having a "troubling record on civil liberties", including the controversial deployment of armed police in the Highlands.

    “Highlanders have been aghast at the sight of armed police undertaking routine duties on their streets," she writes. "It is a bigger insult that local communities’ calls to reverse the policy were ignored by both the police and the SNP.”

    She adds: “The SNP now seeks to present itself as a party with a strong interest in the future of the UK. Its own record makes that very hard to believe.”

  131. Does 'vote swapping' work?


    Vote-swapping websites seem to be gaining traction on social media. But what makes people swap votes, and will it really make a difference to the election result?

    BBC News Magazine investigates.

  132. Labour could scrap GCSEs within decade says Hunt

    Tristram Hunt

    Didn't Labour's shadow education spokesman say the other week that teachers had had enough of politicians tinkering with the school curriculum?

    We're pretty sure he did.

    However, according to the Guardian today, Tristram Hunt now says Labour could scrap GCSEs within a decade and replace them with a single baccalaureate.

    He tells the newspaper: “It is a big, hairy conversation that you have to begin early and then shape some of the discussion around.

    "I would hope by the end of a five-year Parliament there was a consensus about creating a 14-19 curriculum and qualification framework, and I would not be surprised, or indeed saddened, if that meant in a decade’s time we were beginning to phase out GCSEs."

  133. Lib Dems promise £150m carers' support

    The Liberal Democrats are to launch a disability manifesto pledging a £150m support package for carers.

    Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will promise a raft of benefits for carers including a £250 holiday bonus. The Lib Dem leader said more must be done to reward the "unsung heroes of British society".

    Other measures to be announced at the launch in Brecon, Powys, include increasing from £110 per week to £150 the amount people can earn without losing their carer's allowance.

    Under the plan, the NHS will have a legal duty to identify carers and a new "carer's passport" will offer privileges such as free hospital parking, gym sessions and cinema tickets.

  134. Brown attacks Cameron and SNP

    Gordon Brown

    Gordon Brown has accused David Cameron of "whipping up English nationalism" to try to win the election.

    The former prime minister said the SNP was misleading people over its offer to back a Labour-led administration.

    Mr Brown told a gathering in Fife: "The only way they can win is to build resentment in Scotland of the English and resentment in England of Scots."

    Mr Cameron has described the prospect of a Labour government propped up by the SNP as a "match made in hell".

  135. Economy debate takes centre stage

    Ed Balls and George Osborne

    Election campaigning is to focus on the economyas Labour and the Tories attack each other's plans before independent analysts present their verdict.

    Labour leader Ed Miliband will claim the Tories are planning "the biggest cuts anywhere in the developed world".

    But Conservative Chancellor George Osborne has highlighted what he calls the "frightening" cost of a Labour government supported by the SNP.

    The Institute for Fiscal Studies (IFS) is to assess the pledges of the Conservatives, Labour, the Lib Dems and the SNP.

  136. Get in touch

    Don't forget you can get in touch by email on and via twitter @bbcpolitics.

  137. Good morning

    Welcome to our live coverage of the election campaign trail.

    We'll be with you from Breakfast and Today right through to Newsnight and The World Tonight.