Got a TV Licence?

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

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

Summary

  1. A TV debate takes place among Scottish leaders - the last of the election campaign
  2. Nick Clegg says public sector pay rises will be a Lib Dem coalition red line
  3. Labour restates its pledge to cut tuition fees to £6,000
  4. David Cameron warns against protest votes and says people must choose their 'preferred prime minister'
  5. Nigel Farage insists UKIP is growing in popularity and calls Mr Cameron 'desperate' for talking down the party
  6. There are four days left until the general election

Live Reporting

By Pippa Simm and Marie Jackson

All times stated are UK

Get involved

Until tomorrow...

It’s almost time for us to say goodnight, but not before a quick recap of the main political stories on this Bank Holiday Sunday. It’s been a busy day, as expected with just four days to go before polling day. Here's what's been happening:

- David Cameron has said he will not lead a government that fails to deliver a referendum on the UK's EU membership

- Labour leader Ed Miliband pledged to cut tuition fees to £6,000 a year and said he would not stand for re-election if he failed to do so

- Labour unveiled an 8ft-high stone with its manifesto pledges carved into it, which sparked social media fun

- Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said his party would insist on a public sector pay rise as a condition of any coalition deal

- UKIP leader Nigel Farage warned that only UKIP could ensure there was a "fair and free" EU referendum and said pollsters and commentators were talking his party down

- Scotland's party leaders clashed over public spending cuts in the next UK parliament during the final set-piece TV debate before voters head to the polls

- In Wales the Conservatives accuse Labour and Plaid Cymru of being involved in an "unedifying squabble" over who to support if there is a hung parliament

- Newcastle hopes to be hot on the heels of Sunderland in being among the first to declare its results on election night

- A plaque was unveiled to mark the spot of John Prescott's 2001 punch.

Thanks for joining us – and hope to see you again tomorrow. Night all.

Is the campaign boring?

Tony Blair
Getty Images

This was meant to be the most exciting election in British history. The first in living memory where no-one dared to predict the outcome. That still remains the case, so why are some complaining about how dull the campaign has been? Over to BBC political reporter Brian Wheeler.

Political props

Ed Miliband's 8ft (2.4m) stone - engraved with Labour manifesto pledges - has drawn a fair amount of flak on social media. But the #EdStone, as it was quickly labelled, is just the latest in a long line of political props, some more successful than others. BBC News takes a look at the chequered history of political props.

Ken Clarke's second election warning

Ken Clarke
PA

The Guardian's Nick Watt reports that the former Conservative chancellor, Ken Clarke, has warned a second general election later this year after an inconclusive result on 7 May would resolve little - and probably produce a similar outcome.

He writes: "In a warning to the main political parties, which are making tentative plans for a second election as opinion polls suggest that Labour and the Tories are largely tied, Clarke said: 'You can get out of a hung parliament by having a second election but, not surprisingly, the public tends to return a parliament which looks rather like the first one.'"

Cameron accused of 'ducking' rally

Prime Minister David Cameron has been accused of "ducking" one of the last set-piece events of the general election campaign.

More than 2,200 voters are expected to put questions to the three main parties on issues including pay-day lending, social care and the living wage, at a rally staged by community-organising charity, Citizens UK.

Labour leader Ed Miliband and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg will be taking part but it will be Culture Secretary Sajid Javid who represents the Conservatives.

Mr Clegg said the decision was typical of the Tories' "bloodless and uninspiring" campaign and Labour said it showed the PM was unable to defend his record.

However, Conservatives sources said that it had been made clear some time ago that Mr Cameron would be unable to attend due to campaigning commitments elsewhere in the country.

Celebrity endorsements

Steve Coogan
Getty Images

Comedian Steve Coogan has given Labour his backing ahead of next week's general election. In a video for the party he urged voters to back Labour, saying the Conservatives would "dismantle" the NHS if they won power.

He’s not the only celeb to endorse Ed Miliband's party this weekend. Writing in the Daily Mirror, cookery writer and TV presenter Delia Smith said Labour was the best party to "nurture and sustain" the NHS and would save Britain from being "cut adrift" internationally.

Independent front page

INDEPENDENT: Tory election chief's firm aimed to expand private healthcare #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

INDEPENDENT: Tory election chief's firm aimed to expand private healthcare #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Guardian front page

GUARDIAN: Clarke: chaos of second vote will fix nothing #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

GUARDIAN: Clarke: chaos of second vote will fix nothing #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Telegraph front page

TELEGRAPH: The 100,000 voters who could win the Tories power #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

TELEGRAPH: The 100,000 voters who could win the Tories power #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Legitimacy doubts?

So in tomorrow's Times, we speak to a range of Labour MPs about the prospect of only being able to get EM into No10 with SNP MPs...

We find some Labour folk - even frontbenchers - harbour doubts about the legitimacy of coming 2nd in seats & votes but going into No10

Scots leaders clash on cuts

The panel of party leaders
BBC

Earlier tonight during a BBC debate, Scotland's party leaders clashed over public spending cuts in the next UK parliament.

The live programme from Edinburgh was the last final pre-election debate between the Conservatives' Ruth Davidson, Labour' s Jim Murphy, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon and Lib Dem Willie Rennie.

More here.

Tomorrow's FT

FT UK: Cameron and Clegg prepared to move quickly to form coalition #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

FT UK: Cameron and Clegg prepared to move quickly to form coalition #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers

Political tombstone?

Ed Miliband stands in front of a stone plinth
PA

Ed Miliband's decision to set his party's six pledges in stone (yes, literally) has been causing a bit of a stir today.

Iain Martin derides the move in a piece for CapX: "It is such a mind-bendingly bad idea that it is difficult to figure out what on earth his advisers thought they were doing when they crafted this plan. Large slabs with writing carved on it suggest tombstones and in this context political death."

Cameron: 'Be proud'

David Cameron
Getty Images

At an event for party activists earlier today, David Cameron praised his party's record in government.

He told a crowd in Nuneaton that the Conservatives had created jobs, grown the economy and cut the deficit. "Let's turn the good news in our economy into a good life for more people in our country", he said.

Parties' positions on Europe

EU flag
Associated Press

The position of the parties on Europe are set to be key both in the run-up to the election and in any possible coalition negotiations afterwards.

BBC political correspondent Ben Wright outlines the position of some of the main parties.

Get your swing on

BBC Parliament 60 Years of Swing
BBC
It's fair to say the props have improved over the years...

Calling all political geeks... your bank holiday Sunday is about to get a whole lot better. The legendary Peter Snow has dusted off his swingomenter and is taking viewers through "60 years of swing" over on the BBC Parliament channel. What better way to get in the mood for Thursday's election.

Voters 'wearing blindfolds'

The Guardian

Political commentator Andrew Rawnsley is unhappy with the way this general election campaign is being run. It's "shrill yet sterile" and "a terrible let-down", with the big issues avoided and the public dodged, he writes in The Guardian.

"It is not surprising that there seem to be an unprecedentedly large number of swithering voters this close to the moment of national decision. Where voters have expressed a yearning for more honesty, they have been met with evasion and obfuscation.

"Where we needed engagement between the political class and a disillusioned electorate, the campaigns have devoted their greatest efforts to protecting their leaders from the public. Where we needed a searching debate about our country, the voters are being asked to go to the polling stations wearing blindfolds."

'Amazing!'

In more Ed Miliband news, remember the #milifandom group of his supporters? Well, the founder, a Twitter user who says she is a 17-year-old girl, has said the Labour leader called her for a chat on the phone.

In a series of tweets, she said: "Just had an amazing phone call with someone amazing and it was amazing. Ed totally just rang me up. He is amazing! Such an amazing amazing guy so amazing I'm so grateful and he is just amazing #VoteLabour."

Give us a hug, darling

Ed Miliband and his wife, Justine, hug on a campaign visit
PA

If you thought awkward shows of affection between party leaders and their wives were just reserved for the end of party conference speech, think again. It appears it's hit the campaign trail too. Here's Ed Miliband and his wife, Justine, embracing on a visit to Harrow, London, earlier today.

That's a wrap

Wideshot of the debating room
BBC

And that's it - the final Scottish party leaders' debate has come to an end, and the party leaders politely shake hands. The debate may have ended but the party spin machines are sure to be in full flow.

Housing

The panel are now taking questions on housing, which is a devolved issue.

SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP, in the Scottish Parliament, want to build 30,000 homes in the lifetime of this parliament.

Labour leader Jim Murphy says 95% of all money spent on housing in Scotland is spent on benefits, and underlines what he sees as the importance of regulating rents in the private sector so landlords can't rip young people off.

Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie agrees with Ms Sturgeon, and says it is important to build hundreds of thousands of homes across the UK.

But Conservative leader Ruth Davidson criticises the SNP for scrapping the help to buy scheme in housing. But Ms Sturgeon says the scheme "has had its day".

What a backdrop

Debate panel
BBC

Tactical voting question

Ruth Davidson
BBC

The four-strong panel are now discussing tactical voting. "I don't agree with it on principle," says Scots Conservative leader Ruth Davidson.

'Conflating party and country'

This is the SNP's problem, says the Conservatives' Ruth Davidson, "they try and conflate the country and the party". "Absolutely", Mr Murphy can be heard saying in the background.

Lib Dem Willie Rennie adds: "If you vote SNP at this election and every election it's for another referendum."

Ms Sturgeon has a chance to respond, and insists: "Even if we win every single seat in Scotland, it is not a mandate for another referendum on independence."

"I'm moving on," says moderator BBC political correspondent Glenn Campbell.

Independence referendum?

Lots of discussion now about the prospect of a future independence referendum (earlier Ms Sturgeon was accused of not giving a straight answer on the SNP's aims).

Jim Murphy says the SNP has constantly changed its position and, turning to Ms Sturgeon, says surely we can agree that there should be a moratorium for the next five or six years on another referendum on Scottish independence.

Ms Sturgeon responds by saying the only parties talking about another referendum are these ones. "This election isn't about independence," she insists, "it's about making Scotland's voice heard".

'Principled stance'

What if the Conservatives don't win a majority, wouldn't the party be in hock to the DUP and UKIP?

Ruth Davidson says the Tories only need 23 more seats "and we think we can get that majority".

We've taken a "principled stance" and said we would not do any deals with any nationalist parties, as we do not want to put our United Kingdom at risk.

'Cat out of the bag'

Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon on stage
BBC

Jim Muprhy insists that Labour will not do a post-election deal with the SNP if it falls short of a majority.

But how will you get a budget passed if you don't win a majority? Mr Murphy turns the question on Nicola Sturgeon - and challenges her to say under what circumstances she would vote against Labour and with the Conservatives.

Ms Sturgeon says the SNP would not vote for a Labour budget that proposed more spending cuts - saying the party would fight for a fairer deal.

"The cat is out the bag," declares Mr Murphy. "The SNP are clear that after Friday they are willing to bring down a Labour budget and Labour's Queen Speech."

Smaller parties

The polls show neither Labour nor the Conservatives will win an outright majority on 7 May, which shows voters want smaller parties to be involved in government, says Nicola Sturgeon. They'll have to accept that, she says, adding that either of the two main parties will have to work with others - formally or informally - to get measures through.

'Mythology'

Jim Murphy and Nicola Sturgeon are at loggerheads now. Mr Murphy sounds a warning about the SNP's plans for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland, which he says will leave a £7.6bn hole in the budget. This would lead to deep austerity, he says.

But the SNP leader dismisses it as "mythology" on behalf of a "desperate" Labour Party.

Lib Dem Will Rennie intervenes to say there are a lot of people in Scotland who are very concerned about the impact of full fiscal autonomy.

'How dare you'

Fifteen minutes in and it has descended into chaos. There's clearly no love lost between Ruth Davidson and Jim Murphy. She accuses the Scots Labour leader of "an outright lie" over claims he made on benefit sanctions.

"He's peddling a falsehood that he knows is fictitious," she says, prompting Mr Murphy's to respond: "How dare you call me a liar."

It's hard to make out what they're saying now as they're both shouting over each other.

Lots of anger

Scottish Conservative leader Ruth Davidson is challenged over the Conservatives' plans to cut the welfare bill. She says she gets angry that the other parties want to leave welfare as it is. They're happy for people to languish on benefits but I want to see people helped into work, she says. Mr Murphy says he doesn't care that she's angry - because he's angry that food bank usage has increased under the coalition government.

Zero-hour contracts

Jim Murphy strays slightly from a question on tax cuts to say his party would abolish "exploitative zero-hours contracts" if it wins power on 7 May.

Even more debt?

William Rennie takes aim at Nicola Sturgeon, saying her answer to high levels of debt is "even more debt". She has very little credibility on the economy, he says. The Lib Dem plan however will see more investment in public services, he adds.

Ms Sturgeon contests his assertions, saying the SNP is proposing health spending across the UK should increase by £24bn by 2020.

Are parties understating scale of cuts?

The first question to the four-strong panel: Are political parties understating the scale of tax rises and spending cuts to eliminate the deficit just to get into power?

No, says Scottish Lib Dem Willie Rennie. We need to balance books and as early as possible to not burden future generations. But we need to do it fairly, he adds.

For the Scottish Conservatives, Ruth Davidson also stresses the need to eliminate the deficit now so it doesn't fall to future generations. She lays out how the Tories are proposing to do this.

Scottish Labour's Jim Murphy says unlike the Tories, Labour will ask the wealthy to pay more to fund a "fairer" Scotland and see an end to "Tory austerity".

The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon takes a different view on cuts, saying it's time to end austerity.

Debate is under way

Ceiling of venue
BBC

Hopefully you've got your cup of tea (or whatever drink takes your fancy) ready - the debate in Edinburgh has just begun. And what a beautiful venue it's in.

Clegg's fizz

We've got more details on Nick Clegg's tipple at a Kent vineyard, thanks to the BBC's Sophie Long who's been keeping a watchful eye on the Lib Dem leader throughout the campaign. It was, she says, a 2010 vintage sparkling rose with which he toasted the country's new princess. She also noted a change in his tone today to one of optimism and hope (or was that the wine talking?)

'Labour made tactical error' - Sturgeon

The leaders have arrived at the Edinburgh venue for tonight's debate and are in make-up, says the BBC's Laura Bicker. She says they've had a hefty day of campaigning and the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon has told her Labour made a "tactical error" when they ruled out a deal with her party.