Category Archives: Liberal Democrats

Election 2015: UK GDP growth slows to 0.3% – live

Conservatives, Ukip and SNP talk money, while Labour sets out its 10-point immigration plan – and it’s Ed Balls day

6.49pm AEST

David Cameron has commented on the GDP figures. His message is the same as George Osborne’s. (See 9.34am.)

GDP figures show our economy is still growing, but we can’t take the recovery for granted. Don’t risk it with Ed Miliband and the SNP.

6.47pm AEST

Here is some snap Twitter reaction to the GDP figures.

From Philip Aldrick, the Times’s economics editor

GDP grew just 0.3pc in Q1. Bad news for Tories – worse than expected – just nine days to election. Now for the spin.

So just as we reported last record jobs numbers pre-election as great news for Osborne/Cam, these GDP numbers are self-evidently not.

Wow … economic growth slows to 0.3% in 1st 3 months of the year, half what is was the previous quarter and well below expectations.

Q1 GDP at 0.3% against expected 0.5% driven by bad construction figures.

GDP sector detail: 2nd quarterly fall in construction but slowdown broad based across sectors. pic.twitter.com/qVv2VgM72R

Service sector slowdown driven by business services & finance.

Before we all over analyse the stats – remember this is the first estimate of three.

Remember, all GDP data prove the validity of #LongTermEconomicPlan. Strong? It’s working Weak? Shows we need to stick at it Karl Popper.

6.42pm AEST

This is Britain’s weakest quarterly growth since the last three months of 2012 (the last time the UK’s economy contracted), as this chart shows:

6.40pm AEST

Britain’s recovery suffered a far sharper than expected slowdown in the first quarter, delivering a major blow to George Osborne’s track record on the economy with a little over a week to go before the general election.

The economy grew by just 0.3% between January and March according to the latest official figures, half the rate of the previous quarter. Economists were expecting stronger growth of 0.5%.

6.38pm AEST

Here’s Danny Alexander, the Lib Dem chief secretary to the Treasury, on the GDP figures and the slowing rate of growth.

The British economy is recovering well, but these figures remind us that there is still work to do to secure the recovery. Though volatile construction data shows a big dip, the underlying figures show that we are still making solid progress across the wider economy.

Britain will continue to grow at a healthy rate if we stick to a sensible, balanced, timely plan to finish the job and do it fairly. The Tory plans to lurch off to the right with unnecessarily deep cuts and a frenzy of unfunded tax giveaways is a real threat to all the hard earned progress we’ve made to date. Labour’s plans for more borrowing and more debt will push the recovery off track.

6.37pm AEST

The UK service sector was the only part of the economy to grow during the quarter, by +0.5%.

Construction output fell by 1.6%, production by 0.1% and agriculture by 0.2%.

6.36pm AEST

Here is the Office for National Statistics summary of today’s GDP figures.

And here is the statistical bulletin, with the full details (pdf).

6.34pm AEST

George Osborne, the Conservative chancellor, has issued his response on Twitter.

GDP up 0.3%, 2.4% on year. Good news economy continues to grow but this is a critical moment & reminder you can’t take recovery for granted

GDP figures show future of the economy is on the ballot paper. We should stick to the plan that’s delivering a brighter more secure future

With rising instability abroad, now is worst possible time to vote for instability at home.

6.32pm AEST

GDP growth slows to 0.3% in Q1 2015 compared with 0.6% in Q4 2014

Woah. Big miss. GDP growth in q1 at 0.3%

6.32pm AEST

That is less than expected.

6.31pm AEST

Here are the growth figures.

0.3% growth in #GDP in Q1 2015 http://t.co/Y4wnrPxhtq

6.16pm AEST

Peter Robinson, the DUP leader, was interviewed on the Today programme earlier. Here are the key points.

Nobody quite knows what the £12bn would amount to. What we have said is that some of the existing welfare plans that the Conservatives have brought forward we are opposed to, the bedroom tax being an example of that …

I could not see how £12bn could be saved on welfare in a way that would enjoy our support.

We’ve had a very good relationship with both the Conservative party and with the Labour party in the past.

Yes, we are socially conservative. We make no apology for that. The majority of people in Northern Ireland would fall into that [category].

.@DUPleader agrees with Tories focus has to be on getting people working but could not support scale of planned cuts pic.twitter.com/chSLGKCVjO

When the leader of the DUP sounds more sensible on #r4today than most Tories, (well, at the end) something bizarre has happened.

6.03pm AEST

Faisal Islam, Sky’s political editor, has been set out some election thoughts on Twitter which are worth a look.

Anyway I’ve now attended the campaigns of all the main parties and spent a day in the road with both Cameron and Miliband..some reflections:

1. Miliband first of big 2 to go on totally unvetted walkabout with journo. Newcastle is home territory, but plenty of milifans in evidence

2. Newcastle station not rep sample, but no one would’ve expected month ago, a few dozen selfies, milifans professing love and 1 ‘he’s sexy’

3. In interview I chucked whole Labour housing/banking/ cost of living government record at him… Zen calmly straight-batted most things

4. So as ashcroft noted from his poll, miliband is energising the Labour support with reasons to come out to vote, can be seen on ground

5. Before that tho Cam/Mili campaigns controlled,sterile. Extraordinary contrast with street campaign public interaction of Sturgeon/ Farage

6. Cam-paign more “air war” message on “good life” (positive) threatened by SNP tail wagging Labour dog (negative).. Polls show some impact

7. Huge amount hinging on a decisive turn in people’s minds next week, and the late return “home” of “lost” kippers. Impossible to predict

8. Labour have more on the ground organisers and campaigners, Cons have one of most extensive targeted Royal Mail logistical operations ever

9. Cameron “pumped-up” passion play yesterday reflects stepping up of existing strategy… Economic stability strongest card…

10. But 5k biz letter was sloppy…Bigger point: just how decisive will papers be this time? Analogue campaigning for a digital election?

5.44pm AEST

Another YouGov poll has shown clear support for Labour’s plan to impose rent controls on private landlords.

A new YouGov poll reveals broad support for rent controls, with 60% in favour of limiting the amount that landlords can charge renters and 25% opposed. The net +35 support for the policy is up from +23 in May last year.

Conservatives, whose party have denounced rent controls, are divided on the issue – 42% support, 44% oppose.

5.36pm AEST

Here is Patrick Wintour’s story about Ed Miliband filming an interview with Russell Brand. And here’s how it starts:

The Labour leader, Ed Miliband, has been seen leaving the London recording studios and home of Russell Brand, raising speculation that the comedian could be considering endorsing him.

5.33pm AEST

Here is more from the Nick Clegg press conference, where he was setting out a new “red line” for coalition talks. (See 7.29am and 7.49am.)

Clegg says of Labour or the Tories the Lib Dems “won’t let you bluff your way through” and will “pin them down”. pic.twitter.com/iqAm3X022t

Nick Clegg says wd demand a clear timetable for paying off deficit in any Coalition talks

Balancing the budget means filling the structural deficit, says Nick Clegg. #GE2015

Red lines all over the place now. Clegg says would ‘never’ allow Tories to cut £12bn from welfare.

Red lines are not about “bums on seats in Whitehall”, they are about what is right for the country, says Nick Clegg.

5.14pm AEST

Good morning. I’m taking over from Claire now.

Here are today’s YouGov polling figures.

Update: Cons lead at 1 – Latest YouGov/The Sun results 27th Apr – Con 35%, Lab 34%, LD 9%, UKIP 12%, GRN 5%; APP -12 http://t.co/5aqcRQzZ9Y

5.00pm AEST

Priti Patel, the exchequer secretary, is on the Today programme now to plug the Conservatives’ new fund for apprenticeships funded by Libor fines.

This is the most important election in a generation … We’re very clear what is at stake.

This is about our record. Look at what we have achieved.

I actually think this is about being passionate about the future of our country.

4.49pm AEST

My colleague Frances Perraudin is waiting for Nick Clegg at his early morning red-line-drawing. She reports:

Speaking at the National Liberal Club, the deputy prime minister will call for a ‘stability budget’ within the first 50 days of the next parliament.

He will rule out pursuing Conservative plans to cut £12bn from welfare and to balance the books through cuts alone, and he will insist that Labour spell out clear plans on deficit reduction.

We will have a stability budget, to take place within 50 days of election day, a pre-condition of any coalition arrangement.

There will be no deal if there is no stability. No coalition without coming clean with the British people. This too, is a red line.

It is, from my point of view, of course a shame that a policy we were not able to put into practice, which wasn’t on the front page of our manifesto, has eclipsed the very remarkable achievement of being a party with only 8% of MPs [that] has delivered everything on the front page of our manifesto, but therein lie the twists and turns of politics.

4.39pm AEST

The Guardian’s political editor, Patrick Wintour, has more on that visit by Ed Miliband to Russell Brand’s pad.

He reports:

A Labour spokesman said Miliband went to film an interview, adding that the party was looking forward to it being broadcast. Brand has more than 9.5 million followers on Twitter, runs his own YouTube channel, The Trews, and has previously urged his followers on the left not to vote.

It is thought he is not himself registered to vote so if he were to endorse Miliband it would represent a sharp change of mind by the comedian.

4.29pm AEST

Nick Clegg is all about those red lines this week. Yesterday, it was education, and his insistence that the Lib Dems would not enter coalition with any party that didn’t agree to its education spending plans.

The Lib Dems want education spending boosted to £55.3bn by the end of the next parliament, £5bn more than Conservative plans and £2.5bn more than Labour.

An emergency “stability budget” within the first 50 days of the next parliament will be a Liberal Democrat red line in any post-election deal.

Nick Clegg’s demand would effectively veto the Tory plan to cut £12bn from the welfare budget to balance the books if the Lib Dems teamed up with the Conservatives again.

4.21pm AEST

The New Statesman wonders if Russell Brand is ready to forgo his non-voting hard line in order to pencil his X for … Ed Miliband.

It notes that:

The comedian and activist has recently praised Miliband on his programme The Trews after the Labour leader’s appearance in the televised debates.

A friend of mine lives opposite Russell Brand and snapped this picture of Ed Milliband leaving his house…urm pic.twitter.com/kHGVWFbpVZ

The only reason to vote is if the vote represents power or change. I don’t think it does.

I fervently believe that we deserve more from our democratic system than the few derisory tit-bits tossed from the carousel of the mighty, when they hop a few inches left or right …

4.01pm AEST

Good morning! Nine days to go until polling day and there will be no signs of election fatigue on this live blog. We are bringing you live coverage of the campaign every day from 7am till late, right up to 7 May and – possibly significantly – beyond, as the next government takes shape.

I’m Claire Phipps, kicking off the blog this morning, before handing over to Andrew Sparrow to take you through the day. We’re on Twitter, @Claire_Phipps and @AndrewSparrow, so do share your thoughts there or in the comments below.

Not winning the election outright is obviously not a success … I have a duty to spend the next 10 days to win the election outright.

I’m feeling pumped up. There’s 10 days to go, it’s a bloody important election and I’m determined to get across the line. The line is victory – and victory is a Conservative majority. I know the polls are tight but victory is doable.

I just sort of wallop these sort of things that you have to hit. I try not to put a face on the things that I’m striking with my feet and my hands … Sometimes Ed Balls might flicker through my imagination.

The Conservatives have put the economy at the heart of their election strategy in the belief that it will give them a decisive lead over Labour.

This approach will still be justified if there is a swing to the Tories in the last 10 days of the campaign. But so far, despite zero inflation, falling unemployment and rising consumer confidence, David Cameron has yet to reap a significant ‘growth dividend’.

The real battle is being fought for a few thousand votes in around 80 marginals mainly in England, which are being bombarded with election literature and subjected to a steady stream of political heavyweights beating a path to their doors. Some of them may be getting fed up with it but at least they are involved. Their vote counts; it doesn’t feel like mine does.

The momentous nature of the choice ahead is still passing too many voters by: canvassers need the patience of saints hearing those whose lives will be radically affected by the result say ‘They’re all the same’ or ‘We don’t vote’. The temptation to grab people by the lapels and give them a good shaking must be almost overwhelming.

The parliamentary arithmetic means that a vote for the SNP is most probably actually a vote for a weak Labour government. Unless Cameron can cobble together a majority with the Lib Dems and, perhaps, Northern Ireland’s Unionist parties, it’s likely that, together, the SNP and Labour could, as Sturgeon says, ‘lock the Tories out of Downing Street’.

Labour in Scotland, however, cannot admit such a possibility even as Labour in England cannot afford to discount it.

Ed Balls

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Posted in Conservatives, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, General election 2015, Institute for Fiscal Studies, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon, Politics, Scottish National party (SNP), Scottish politics, UK news, World news | Comments Off

Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats are available – again – to form government

However the scythe cuts in next week’s UK general election, both sides will need the Lib Dems, and their leader is setting out his conditions for coalition

In the shadow of the Shane Warne stand at the Hampshire cricket ground, Nick Clegg is doing his stuff. He bounces. He skips. For a man whose party is about to be cut to shreds, the leader of the Liberal Democrats is remarkably chipper.

There’s good reason for this. However the scythe cuts next week in the UK general election – and he could lose half the 56 members he now has in the House of Commons – both sides will need this man. “Look in their eyes,” he says. “They know they are not going to win.” Coalition is inevitable. And Clegg is now setting out the conditions for his party to enter Britain’s next government, Conservative or Labour.

We have provided a heart to the Conservatives just as we would provide a brain to the Labour party

Related: Nick Clegg: education funding policy is Lib Dem deal-breaker in this election

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US tipster Nate Silver: Tories will win most seats – but outcome will be messy

Man who correctly predicted each state in 2012 US election tips Tories to take most seats, but says three-party coalition is most likely result

Nate Silver, the statistician who correctly predicted the US 2012 election results in every state, has suggested there could be an “incredibly messy outcome” to the UK general election.

In a BBC Panorama programme broadcast on Monday night, Silver revealed that a model he backs puts the Conservatives on 283 seats, Labour on 270, the SNP on 48, the Lib Dems on 24, the DUP on eight, Ukip on one and the other parties on 16. This suggests that no two parties would be able to form a majority without the help of a third, leading to the possibility of a so-called rainbow coalition.

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The Guardian view on Britain’s choice 2015: housing policy

Everyone needs a roof over their head. That’s why housing has to be at the heart of economic policy

A decent place to live is a necessity for everyone, whether or not they can afford to own. But for more than a generation, housing policy has been all about home ownership. From the moment Mrs Thatcher brought in the right to buy in the 80s until Tony Blair’s second term, in the early 2000s, owning one’s home was a reasonable ambition supported by successive governments. In 1985, even a third of under-24s could afford a place of their own. At the peak of owner-occupation in 2005, 71% of dwellings in the UK were privately owned. By contrast, state-owned housing, once fleetingly imagined as an experiment in living, was whittled down until social housing was reduced to the refuge of the poor and vulnerable.

It’s easy to see why the dream of home ownership has become impossible for most people. The population is growing, households are getting smaller, and there has been a collapse in the number of new homes being built. It now stands at just over 100,000 a year, its lowest since the early 20th century. The squeeze on new homes and the shortage of social housing has produced a runaway private rental market. That has driven up the overall cost of housing benefit and inflamed the shortage of homes as those who can invest in buy to let do so . For many homeowners in London and the south-east, the soaring house prices mean their home is earning more than they are. But if knowing what’s wrong is easy, it is a lot harder to put it right so that buying a home is once again a secure and affordable option rather than a one-way bet for the rich. Wheezes to help first-time buyers won’t work until there is more housing available. The failure to build enough of the right kind of homes in the right place – that is, fewer luxury flats on the Thames sold abroad off-plan, and more affordable units in inner suburbs – has merely encouraged speculation. There is no tax on profit made on the family home and, for five years, near-zero interest rates have made mortgages cheap. Those that already had did really nicely, thank you. But more and more were excluded altogether. In 2004, nearly 60% of the 25-34 age group were homeowners. Now it is 36%.

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Election 2015: Miliband pledges 200,000 new homes a year – live

Latest updates as the parties head into the last 10 days of the campaign, as Labour unveils plans to scrap stamp duty for first-time buyers and 5,000 small business owners come out for Cameron

12.59am AEST

Given that David Cameron’s “passion” is a topic for the day, I suppose there might be some interest in his revelation, on Classic FM, about he proposed to his wife. On the sofa, while watching the Martin Scorsese’s crime film, Mean Streets.

It doesn’t sound very romantic. I’m surprised she said yes.

12.41am AEST

Andrew Neil’s Daily Politics interviews have been among the highlights of the election. He is almost invariably better briefed than his interviewees, and he chews them up so regularly that a Neil mauling has ceased to become news. But, even by Neil’s standards, today’s take-down of David Gauke over the CCHQ-concocted small business leaders letter in the Telegraph was particularly good. Here it is.

12.25am AEST

Ed Brown has got an interesting post about the Labour stamp duty policy on the Newsnight blog. He says that the benefits will overwhelmingly go to people in the south of England, and that richer first-time buyers will gain more than poorer ones. It is on the Newsnight blog at 11.58am.

12.23am AEST

In a broad discussion that covered issues including policing, immigration and counter-terrorism, Theresa May the Conservative home secretary, Yvette Cooper the Labour shadow home secretary , Liberal Democrat Norman Baker, Ukip’s Steven Woolfe and Plaid Cymru’s Simon Thomas went head-to-head. Here are the key points covered by each representative:

12.18am AEST

Ivan Lewis, the shadow Northern Ireland secretary, has backed the concerns raised by the DUP about the Conservatives’ anti-SNP rhetoric.

The DUP are right to express concern that Tory election strategy and rhetoric are deeply damaging to the union. Through their increasingly desperate attempts to spread fear and division, the Tories are undermining our shared duty to put the unity and integrity of the country first.

In contrast, Labour has made it clear we will do no post-election deals with the SNP and will consider the implications of further devolution in a constitutional convention which will consider relevant issues in a responsible and measured way.

12.14am AEST

Here’s a Guardian video with a clip from Ed Miliband’s home ownership speech.

12.08am AEST

Lord Bell, the former adviser to Margaret Thatcher, told the World at One that he thought the Conservatives would win a majority. He explained why:

It’s worth remembering that in 1992 18% of voters made their mind up on polling day – that’s one in five. Now, if the same happens this time then you’ll get a very different result to what’s being shown in the polls. Normally what happens with undecided voters – again, according to research – is that they fall two-to-one in favour of the incumbent.

12.02am AEST

Ed Miliband has told PinkNews that Labour is in favour of the legal recognision of humanist weddings. He said:

There was widespread support for humanist marriage across parliament during the passage of equal marriage and across the country, including from Labour. We still support the legal recognition of humanist marriages and we’ll review the law for those who wish to marry with a humanist celebration.

11.55pm AEST

During his Q&A earlier, Ed Miliband was asked what he wanted to be when he was seven. A bus conductor, Miliband replied. That was because in those days Lonodn buses had machines that “turned round the tickets” and Miliband was “particularly fascinated” by them.

Here is the gadget he was talking about.

The type of ticket machine that inspired a 7 year old @Ed_Miliband to become a bus conductor(pix ex @Timebus)#ge2015 pic.twitter.com/ZRPzPnJVys

Telegraph, 2008: David Miliband’s boyhood ambition also to be bus conductor. Is @Ed_Miliband trolling his brother?! http://t.co/uWpFTscjev

11.46pm AEST

The Sinn Fein motion supporting Same Sex Marriage will of course fail to be pushed through the Northern Ireland Assembly. Under the complex rules governing powersharing any unionist or nationalist party can call on a “petition of concern” and state that any proposal cannot pass through the regional parliament because it does not have sufficient cross-community support.

However, the debate coming on the day Health Minister Jim Wells resigned over alleged anti-gay/homophobic remarks could also have potential consequences for one key electoral battleground. In East Belfast the Democratic Unionist Party has been given a clear run by unionist rivals to unseat the outgoing Alliance MP Naomi Long. To do that the DUP has to pick some votes from the more affluent middle class areas of the constituency that usually vote for the Ulster Unionists. These so-called soft “Prod in the garden centre” unionists are socially liberal and normally repelled by the DUP’s moral and religious crusades. While the DUP’s candidate and ex Belfast Lord Mayor Gavin Robinson has a reputation for reaching out beyond the party’s traditional Evangelical Christian base, the Wells furore might dissuade liberal minded unionists in East Belfast from voting for him. Naomi Long was certainly quick to remind these voters of the DUP’s record on gay rights and equality today.

11.41pm AEST

The finest mind in the universe has just backed Labour http://t.co/5Qen0szvyL

11.40pm AEST

A Conservative council candidate has been suspended from the party for saying she could not support Ed Miliband because he was a Jew, the BBC reports.

11.37pm AEST

11.13pm AEST

The latest Guardian projection has the Tories on 274 seats and Labour on 270. The SNP are projected to win 54 seats and the Lib Dems 27.

10.54pm AEST

The government I lead is determined to restore the dream of home ownership.

The SNP position is now utterly ridiculous. Their manifesto commits them to vote for fair taxes at the top to provide additional funds for public services in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

But it goes on to make clear that on no account must these changes help Scotland – because that would mean the pooling and sharing of risk and resources across the UK, something to which they are fundamentally opposed.

Nicola Sturgeon says this isn’t about another referendum.

But her deputy leader – when he thought he was only taking to the party faithful – has given the game away.

10.36pm AEST

Why is Cameron turning up the volume so obviously? This poll, in the Times’s Red Box email briefing, helps to explain why.

YouGov asked respondents whether they had seen “a lot” or “a fair amount” of various politicians. Ed Miliband came out top. David Cameron scored about the same as Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage.

10.32pm AEST

Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, has issued a statement accusing Labour and the Tories of “treating voters with contempt” on the grounds that they won’t accept the likelihood of a hung parliament.

As we enter the final ten days of the election campaign, it is clear that the Westminster parties have hit the panic button.

Instead of embracing the multi-party election that the public want, Labour and the Tories are clinging to the idea that they are entitled to a majority in Westminster – which every poll indicates isn’t going to happen.

10.26pm AEST

The National Association of Estate Agents has welcomed Labour’s plans to abolish stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes worth up to £300,000. This is from its managing director, Mark Hayward:

This could be a real vote swinger for those looking to step on the housing ladder. Scrapping stamp duty for homes under the price of £300,000 would only mean good things for hopeful first time buyers (FTB). For many, hidden costs such as stamp duty can be the difference between being able to afford a home, and not being able to afford one. Our recent research showed that just under a third of house sales were made to first time buyers, and hopefully we’ll see this significantly increase over the next three years.

10.20pm AEST

The SNP has launched its rural manifesto. “SNP MPs will stand up for key measures like protecting the Royal Mail’s Universal Service Obligation and press for Scotland’s farmers to receive their fair share of CAP convergence funding,” said the SNP’s Richard Lochhead.

10.07pm AEST

The Guardian’s ICM poll is just out. It gives the Conservatives a 3-point lead, up 1 from last week. Here the start of Tom Clark’s story.

Conservative support has edged up in the latest Guardian/ICM campaign poll, with David Cameron’s party registering a three-point lead over Labour.

The Tories have advanced by one percentage point on the previous ICM survey a week ago, to stand at 35%. Labour stands still on 32%.

10.02pm AEST

Here is a Guardian video of David Cameron giving his “pumped up” speech at the Conservative small business manifesto launch.

9.57pm AEST

By an unhappy coincidence – at least for the Democratic Unionist Party – the Northern Ireland Assembly will discuss a Sinn Fein motion in support of same sex marriage.

Sinn Fein is putting it forward in response to next month’s gay marriage equality referendum in the Irish Republic.

9.41pm AEST

Emma Reynolds, the shadow housing minister, has had a run-in with the DJ Liz Kershaw over Labour’s plans for rent controls, the Independent reports. Kershaw, who rents out a house herself inherited from her grandmother, said the policy was “half-baked and doomed”.

I think this is half-baked and doomed, if there is a sense that rents are going to be very rigidly controlled.

What will happen is that properties will become vacant. If interest rates on mortgages go up, what about the landlords buying with a mortgage? Their monthly payments sky-rocket – and there’s no control on that, because the Bank of England decides that – and your rent is frozen for three years.

9.31pm AEST

An SNP candidate has said that some people who voted against Scottish independence last September were “gullible”. Mhairi Black, the 20-year-old politics student who is challenging Douglas Alexander, the shadow foreign secretary, in Paisley and Renfrewshire South, triggered a row in October last year when she described some of those who rejected independence as “gullible” and “selfish”. In February she suggested she had changed her mind, but in a radio interview today she said she still thought some of the “no” voters were “gullible”.

The exact quote is some were gullible, and I think there was an element of truth to that. However, what it is about realising is people are looking for change, they are looking for that fresh start I have just mentioned and the only people who are offering that right now are the SNP.

No, I don’t think so, I think there was an element of gullibility in terms of the lies that some people were told. Maybe the word wasn’t the wisest. However what it is about recognising is that people were scared quite often.

9.20pm AEST

Nick Clegg is on the Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show. He said the Lib Dems would have a “moral obligation” to speak to the party with the largest mandate after the election.

Clegg tells Jeremy Vine: ‘I have a moral obligation to talk to the party with the greatest mandate (votes and seats) first’.

9.16pm AEST

A Lib Dem candidate has been suspended by the party, the Press Association reports.

A Liberal Democrat general election candidate has been suspended by the party over allegations that he falsified his council nomination papers.

Patrick Haveron, also the parliamentary candidate for South West Surrey, has been accused of falsifying his papers for the Waverley Borough Council election.

9.12pm AEST

And here are more details from the TNS poll from Scotland that I mentioned earlier. (See 11.26am.) This is from the TNS news release.

A new TNS poll in Scotland shows no sign of the gap between the SNP and Labour decreasing, with voter intention as follows:

The survey of 1003 adults in Scotland reveals that over two thirds (67%) say they are certain to vote. This is higher than the rest of the UK, where 62% said they would definitely vote in the most recent TNS UK-wide poll. Indeed, SNP supporters are most likely to say they are certain to vote (82%).

Among those certain to vote, almost one in three (29%) remain undecided, a much higher proportion than was evident at this stage of the run-up to the independence referendum.

9.08pm AEST

Populus has released a new poll it has carried out for the FT. Here is the FT write-up (subscription).

Labour is three points ahead of the Conservatives, according to a new poll by Populus which suggests that Tory attacks on Ed Miliband’s party have so far failed to dent his lead …

But with only 10 days until polling day Labour is still at 36 per cent against the Tories’ 33 per cent, according to the poll by Populus, carried out between April 24 and 26. That is a slightly bigger lead than Labour’s 2 point advantage a week earlier …

9.06pm AEST

Q: [From the FT’s George Parker] The FT is reporting today that the government would oppose a potential takeover of BP. What would your view be?

9.03pm AEST

In his Q&A Ed Miliband is now talking about the DUP warning about the Conservative anti-SNP election tactics.

The union is very important, says Miliband. We should concentrate on what unites us, not what divides us.

8.59pm AEST

Guardian events are holding an election night special, on the Friday after the election. It will be hosted by Jonathan Freedland with a rotating panel featuring Polly Toynbee, Hugh Muir, Owen Jones, Matthew d’Ancona, Deborah Orr, Rafael Behr, Gaby Hinsliff and Guardian pollster Alberto Nardelli. The full details are here.

8.57pm AEST

Q: Will Labour match the Conservative pledge to create another 2m jobs?

Miliband says this is a figure plucked out of the air. The Conservatives have no idea how they will achieve this.

8.55pm AEST

Q: You will give first-time buyers living locally the first call on buying home. That sounds like a way of stopping immigrants from buying homes.

Some Labour supporters in the audience boo. Miliband asks them not to; the journalists are doing their job, he says.

8.53pm AEST

Miliband is now taking questions from journalists. There is a live feed on the BBC website.

8.49pm AEST

Here’s today’s Guardian three-minute election video. Hugh Muir and Simon Jenkins are discussing whether David Cameron is on his way out.

8.48pm AEST

More on David Cameron’s “passion” strategy. I thought angry Cameron would probably go down quite well on television (see 11.23am), but Joey Jones, Sky’s deputy political editor, disagrees.

I’m not sure about the Cameron passion strategy thus far. In small clips (how most people consume it), risks looking purple and shouty.

8.38pm AEST

As Ed Miliband speaks, Ed Balls and Jim Murphy are winding up an event in Glasgow.

And remember this, 25% of those who voted no, did so with the best of intentions to get maximum devolution, that means everything apart from defence and foreign affairs. It is that we will hold Westminster to. You see we expect them to disappoint us, but when they start to disappoint substantial numbers of people who voted no, then there’s a game-changer for what happens on the road to independence.

8.30pm AEST

Ed Miliband is speaking in Stockton South now. He is giving a speech on living standards.

He says Boris Johnson was defending “state-sponsored tax avoidance” on the Andrew Marr show. But Labour will be the first government for 200 years to abolish non-dom status, he says.

8.26pm AEST

Here is some interesting polling from Scotland.

YouGov for @scotlandinunion 14% are voting tactically, inc 20% Tory & 27% Lib Dems. More to follow

TNS poll on Scotland: SNP 54% (+2), Lab 22% (-2), Con 13% (0), LD 6% (0), Green 2% (-1), UKIP 2% (+1)

8.23pm AEST

David Cameron has found an extra gear. After complaints about the lacklustre nature of the Conservative campaign reached a crescendo at the weekend, Cameron has managed to re-energise himself. We saw that yesterday, and the new, pumped-up, no-jacket, slightly sweary passion candidate was on stage again this morning. Journalists are using the hashtags #passion #fierycam and – a bit more cynically, but not inaccurately – #essaycrisis.

When I hold those receptions at Downing Street and when I get the people who got start-up loans coming into Downing Street and telling me what they’ve done, often giving up a well-paid career, taking a risk, having a punt, having a go, that pumps me up …

It’s decision time – that’s what pumps me up …

Not sure what Cameron had for breakfast this morning. Maybe it was three shredded wheat? Maybe a spoonful of panic? pic.twitter.com/XcxXWDh3TZ

Judging from my Twitter feed there seems to be a certain degree of scepticism about Cameron’s newly found #passion

When are David Cameron’s handlers planning to dress him in Terry Butcher’s Bloodstained Bandage of Passion?

7.49pm AEST

The leader of the Ulster Unionist Party Mike Nesbitt has said Jim Wells’ resignation as regional health minister was “the right thing to do”

Nesbitt said the job of being in charge of the local health service “was far too important” for a minister embroiled in the anti-gay controversy.

7.43pm AEST

The Cameron event is now over.

In his final answer he referred to a note from Peter Mandelson about the impact of the SNP on a minority Labour government. (See 10.36am.) He was talking about a briefing note from Mandelson’s firm, Global Counsel, about the strategy the SNP may follow after the election. I’ve put the two key sentences in bold, but I’ve quoted a larger chunk, because it is relatively interesting.

Sustaining Labour in power would provide the SNP with alternative means to push deeper the wedge between Scotland and England …

The SNP would be able to do this in three principle ways. The first, and most immediate, would be to harden the terms of the Scotland bill that must go through parliament soon after the election ….

7.36pm AEST

Q: What is your reaction to Len McCluskey’s comments?

7.29pm AEST

Q: Will you admit that your campaign lacked passion previously?

Cameron says the Conservatives often do not wear their passion on their sleeves. But don’t mistake that for thinking that they are not passionate.

7.26pm AEST

Cameron says what pumps him up is that “it’s decision time”.

7.24pm AEST

At BuzzFeed Jim Waterson has a helpful piece on the genesis of the Conservative party’s small business letter.

7.22pm AEST

Q: Is this your response to Ed Miliband’s “hell, yes” moment?

Cameron says he prefers to speak in plain English, rather than American learned from a coach.

7.21pm AEST

Cameron is now taking questions.

7.19pm AEST

Cameron is winding up his speech now.

Sean Kemp, a former Lib Dem adviser, is a bit sceptical of the passion outburst.

At the end of this speech Cameron will tear off his shirt before ripping up a book of small business regulation with his bare hands #passion

7.15pm AEST

David Cameron is giving a speech in London launching the Conservative’s small business manifesto. There is a live feed on the BBC parliament channel, and on the BBC website.

Like yesterday, Cameron is noticeably more energised than he has been in other speeches during the campaign. And like yesterday, he is speaking off the cuff, rather than using a text.

No seats for Cameron speech in central London this morning. Presumably this adds to the energy levels pic.twitter.com/KLRiwBhtXt

Cameron isn’t using a microphone. He’s just shouting. #passion pic.twitter.com/YHV9Mz2u2U

Meeting small businesses “pumps me up!” yells a hoarse, passionate, Cameron. #passion #GE2015

Cameron is in the Chartered Accountants’ Hall and he is PUMPED.

“That pumps me up” howls Cameron. He’s going to be careful not to stray into Howard Dean scream territory

Cameron literally jumped up onto the stage like a jack-in-the-box. #GE2015

7.10pm AEST

As the Liberal Democrat battle bus makes its way to Eastleigh, a senior party source has been briefing journalists on why the constituency provides a good example of how the party can defy the odds in next week’s election.

“We won the byelection in Eastleigh in, it’s fair to say, some quite difficult circumstances. The MP had just gone to jail, so that’s never good,” they said.

7.04pm AEST

It is unusual to get firm policy announcements at this stage in an election campaign, but Labour have produced one – the abolition of stamp duty for first-time buyers on homes worth up to £300,000.

This panicky, unfunded announcement is something Labour have tried before – and it failed. Coming from the people who crashed the housing market and repeatedly raised stamp duty, this won’t distract from Ed Miliband’s inability to say what deals he will make with the SNP to prop him up in Downing Street.

In contrast to Ed Miliband’s gimmicks, because of our balanced economic plan, we’ve been able to deliver lasting reforms – cutting stamp duty for 98% of people who would have paid it.

6.56pm AEST

Here are today’s YouGov GB polling figures.

Update: Lab lead at 1 – Latest YouGov / The Sun results 26th Apr – Con 33%, Lab 34%, LD 8%, UKIP 14%, GRN 5%; APP -13 http://t.co/YwxRqm16Ui

6.46pm AEST

The Green party is today promoting its housing policies. It says it would scrap right to buy, introduce rent controls, pegging annual rent increases in the private sector to CPI inflation, and set up a living rent commission to “investigate ways to bring rent levels down”.

Natalie Bennett, the Green party leader, was due to be giving a speech on these plans, but it has been cancelled because she has lost her voice.

The Green party believes a house should be a home, not an asset for investors.

At the moment, the private rental market is structured in a way that benefits landlords over tenants, and treats homes as investment vehicles. As more people rent, rather than own, their homes, it is vital that we correct this imbalance.

6.34pm AEST

TELEGRAPH EXCLUSIVE LETTER: ‘A change now would be far too risky’ #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers pic.twitter.com/VxIOT0uZt2

The Conservative letter in the Telegraph from 5,000 small business owners backing the Tories has received unexpected criticism – from the political editor of the Tory-supporting Sun.

CCHQ high priests give a letter from 5,000 small businessmen to the paper of big company bosses and colonels. Sums up all their problems.

6.29pm AEST

Here’s Michael Fallon, the Conservative defence secretary, on Nicola Sturgeon’s comments on Today.

When Ed Miliband’s biggest union paymaster is saying that he will be forced to do deals with the SNP, it’s no surprise that Nicola Sturgeon knows she will be pulling Ed Miliband’s strings if he gets into Downing Street.

6.13pm AEST

I did not see a lot of Twitter comment on the Nicola Sturgeon interview on Today, but the comments I have seen from journalists are very positive. Here are three of them.

From the BBC’s Jonny Dymond

Like her, loathe her, caricature her, whatever. @NicolaSturgeon is a class politician. Her @BBCr4today interview is worth a listen.

Have to say, @NicolaSturgeon, whatever one thinks of her politics, is doing a masterful job in her BBC Radio 4 interview today

Just heard Nicola on Today. Not many pols can get so many words in edgeways with the loquacious and redoubtable Mr Naughtie!

6.04pm AEST

Gradually, it is becoming clearer and clearer exactly how a minority Labour government might operate with SNP support. Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, and Ed Miliband, the Labour leader, have been answering endless questions about this, and each time the fog of uncertainty gets a little thinner. After Sturgeon’s Today interview, I think the picture is fairly clear.

Here are the key points.

I have said that we would not do anything that would help to put the Conservatives into power. And therefore, if there is an anti-Tory majority, we want to work with Labour and other anti-Tory parties to make sure the Tories are locked out of Downing Street.

Exercising influence in a parliament is not just about the Queen’s speech. It is about how you exercise influence on an issue by issue, vote by vote basis through the entirety of a parliament …

Ed Miliband can say what he wants right now. But he can’t deny reality. And if there is situation after the election where neither of the big parties has a majority, then they will have to reflect how people voted and they will have to, on a practical level, be prepared to talk to and to compromise with others in order to get their policies through.

You can take a very cynical view and say that we are driven purely by narrow party political interest. Actually, I’m not. I believe in independence … but fundamentally, first and foremost, what drives me are the interests of the Scottish people. And it is not in the interests of the Scottish people to have a Tory government.

No, I don’t. I want to make sure that that decision is driven by what people in Scotland want.

I have said clearly that I condemn remarks like that and I will continue to do so … The voters will pass their verdict on him. I lead by example in terms of the tone I expect to be set.

We’re in Glasgow with First Minister Nicola Sturgeon this morning @naughtiej #r4today pic.twitter.com/AZ79I679Rf

5.31pm AEST

Q: What do you expect to happen at the election?

Sturgeon says the election could herald an age of multi-party politics. That would be a breath of fresh air, she says.

5.30pm AEST

Q: Do you want a second referendum as quickly as you can?

No, says Sturgeon. That decision must be driven by the views of the people of Scotland.

5.29pm AEST

Q: You don’t want the UK to have sovereignty over Scotland. Why should anyone think you want it to work?

That is a fair question, says Sturgeon.

5.25pm AEST

Q: Between 2009-10 and this year, health spending in England rose by 6% in real terms. In Scotland they rose by 1%. Who is more austere?

Sturgeon says those figures do not include non-profit capital spending.

5.23pm AEST

Q: So Miliband would not have to do a deal with you?

Sturgeon says the SNP want to lock the Tories out of Downing Street. After that, they would use their influence on a case by case basis.

5.22pm AEST

Q: After 7 May, do you expect to have a handle on power?

Nicola Sturgeon says she hopes the SNP will “weild influence in the House of Commons”. People have to vote first. But she would expect the people of Scotland’s views to be taken into account at Westminster.

5.18pm AEST

The Today programme is doing a series of leader interviews before the election. Today Nicola Sturgeon, the SNP leader, is on.

James Naughtie is interviewing her in Glasgow.

5.18pm AEST

Good morning. I’m taking over from Claire now.

Harriet Harman, Labour’s deputy leader, has responded to Nigel Dodds’ article in the Guardian criticising the Conservatives’ stance on Scotland. She said:

In this election campaign David Cameron is avoiding talking about the cost of living crisis, the NHS or immigration because he is running from his record and has nothing to say about the future.

Instead, all the Tories do is talk about some non-existent deal with the SNP. It’s not true, it isn’t working and it is dangerously divisive for the future of the United Kingdom.

5.11pm AEST

That Telegraph letter from 5,000 small business owners pledging support for a Conservative victory has unsurprisingly got some people wondering how such an enterprise came about.

We reported earlier this month that Tory peer Karren Brady was trying to drum up support for such a letter.

Find Tory fingerprints on “bosses” letter to @Telegraph. First, see fabricated story here: http://t.co/9e1MRl1Qd1 pic.twitter.com/OhdhQMTO0A

5.03pm AEST

Northern Ireland’s first minister and DUP leader Peter Robinson said he would have supported Wells if his party colleague had wanted to stay on in the health ministry:

Jim and Grace have been foremost in our prayers over the last few months.

Almost daily he has updated me on Grace’s progress. I trust she will make a full and speedy recovery.

I know Jim was enjoying leading change within the department and putting in place new policies that were making our health service better.

I would have wanted it to be otherwise but I respect Jim’s decision. However, he is right to put his family first and I will fully support his decision. With such a significant portfolio, there should be an orderly transition; therefore Jim will continue in post until 11 May when the new minister will take up office.

I place on record my thanks, and that of my party, for Jim’s service and trust everyone will accept the stress and strain Jim has encountered over these past months and offer him and his family support and encouragement as Grace battles her illness.

5.00pm AEST

The Guardian’s Ireland correspondent, Henry McDonald, has more on the resignation of Jim Wells:

Northern Ireland’s DUP health minister has just released a statement explaining his personal reasons for stepping down from the power-sharing cabinet at Stormont.

On the row over his anti-gay remarks and his doorstep exchange with a lesbian couple at the weekend, the South Down assemblyman and party candidate for South Down insisted that “at no time did I set out to upset or offend anyone and it has upset me greatly that the comments made have caused distress to some within our community”.

I am deeply saddened that some of those who represent a different viewpoint from me have attacked my family and me in a deeply personal, nasty and in some cases threatening way. Some of the outbursts on social media have been particularly abusive and menacing in nature.

But he said his main reason for resigning was due to his wife’s grave illness:

As many people are aware I have been focused on helping my wife during her fight for life.

Those who know my family and I, know the last three months have been the toughest of our lives as we watched my wife, Grace, suffer two successive strokes and battle through major heart surgery.

4.54pm AEST

My colleague Frances Perraudin continues her trek around the UK aboard the Lib Dem battle bus and sends this dispatch:

The Liberal Democrat battle bus is on its way to Eastleigh this morning, where the party retained the seat from Ukip’s advances in a 2013 byelection.

Nick Clegg will give a speech to activists saying that his party is fighting ‘60 Eastleighs’ in this general election.

4.45pm AEST

Disappointing news. I posted a picture of Sturgeon in my morning briefing gamely braving a gym beam, and said she did not fall off.

It turns out I was wrong.

@Claire_Phipps Good morning! I witnessed Sturgeon’s beam walk and can confirm she fell off

@Claire_Phipps Sorry to say she did. Ms Sturgeon then contemplated trying to swing on this but decided against it pic.twitter.com/KR0CXBjuLh

4.41pm AEST

Hillary Benn, shadow local government secretary, is on the Today programme now, talking about Labour’s housing proposals.

Benn says the number of homes being built needs to increase substantially. He says Labour is committed to 200,000 extra homes a year by 2020.

Hilary Benn says stamp duty would go up for foreign buyers of homes to help pay for three year stamp duty holiday for many 1st time buyers

4.22pm AEST

Ireland correspondent Henry McDonald has this report:

Northern Ireland’s health minister has resigned after uttering anti-gay remarks during the general election campaign.

Democratic Unionist party (DUP) candidate Jim Wells now faces a police investigation over a further anti-gay controversy involving a lesbian couple at the weekend.

3.59pm AEST

Good morning and welcome to the Guardian election live blog. For the election that is next week. Ten days away. That thought might make you feel excited, trepidatious, fatigued or just plain angry. Fear not: we cover all bases here.

I’m Claire Phipps and I’ll be starting off the blog, helpfully providing you with what you need to know to get through the morning, before handing over to Andrew Sparrow. We’re on Twitter, @Claire_Phipps and @AndrewSparrow, and hovering below the line, too, so come and share your thoughts.

Take the ‘right’ of SNP MPs to vote in the Commons, or the supposed lack of legitimacy that stems from it. No one who purports to be a unionist can question it. They have the right.

That’s why we fought and won the referendum: to enshrine the rights of Scots to go on sending representatives, fully equal to every other, to Westminster. Glib and lazy talk about SNP MPs somehow not being as entitled to vote in every division in the Commons as any other British MP simply fuels nationalist paranoia.

If you want political excitement, go to Greece. If you want more showbiz in this election, go to Hollywood.

Here and now in the UK I’m focused on something real. A stronger economy – something that excites millions more: more jobs, more homes, more business, more childcare, more security in retirement.

UK. Failure to win majority against either Brown in crisis or Miliband would mean chop for Cameron. Open talk today in party and press.

one of the boldest policy announcements of the election campaign, designed to steal David Cameron’s thunder

We run small businesses right across the country. We work hard, make sacrifices and invest our own money to help our businesses grow and succeed. It was tough during the recession, but we kept going.

This Conservative-led government has been genuinely committed to making sure Britain is open for business. They’ve managed to get the economy moving again by tackling the deficit, helping to keep interest rates low and inflation down.

The immorality of homes becoming sterile investments takes us straight to the other big fault line: rising inequality and stalled social mobility. The two are linked, because if you must cling precariously to the home base you have — rented or mortgaged, council or private — it reduces your ability to move, change, re-educate yourself and leave a dead-end job and rock the financial boat with a small enterprise.

Cameron is right to hold his nerve. He does not need every single beneficiary of the recovery to vote for him. He just requires a sufficiency of pencils to hover for long enough in the polling booth, as voters decide, at the only moment that matters, that this is no time for a change.

Why panic when such an outcome remains possible – plausible, even?

.@nick_clegg: “In this General Election, we are fighting 60 Eastleighs” #GE2015 http://t.co/YOro5TVMk4 pic.twitter.com/o5HG7i2r5S

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Posted in Conservatives, David Cameron, Economic policy, Ed Miliband, General election 2015, Housing, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Nicola Sturgeon, Politics, Scottish National party (SNP), UK news, World news | Comments Off

Election 2015 live: Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson interviewed on the Marr show

10.13am BST

This is what political journalists are saying about Andrew Marr’s interview with Ed Miliband.

I will be posting a summary and analysis shortly.

Miliband says he thinks “we can win” the election in Scotland. This takes political optimism to crystal meth levels

Once again #musiconMarr intervenes to cut off the best bit of the show. I could have watched 10 more minutes of Boris and Mili going at it

“I’m not interested in deals” says @Ed_Miliband re @snp. Important but without one he may never get the call to go to the Palace.

Nonsense for Miliband to claim he leads his party.Unlike Kinnock he’s constantly appeased his party- eg on tax, spending and borrowing #Marr

That was comfortably the best #Marr interview I’ve seen Miliband do. Comfortable, assertive, on top of detail

Boris and Ed MIliband on #Marr. If the Tories lose, this could be PMQs for the next 5 years folks.

Miliband completely outclassing Boris. #marrshow

After a dead bat interview not answering many questions Ed Miliband comes alive when taking on Boris Johnson. very interesting

Boris came through looking loyal, without committing news. Miliband got through it & looked pretty good. Mission accomplished for both #Marr

Miliband used to be excitable and over-earnest. Today was confident and measured on #Marr. Almost a new man. Labour troops will be cheered.

10.00am BST

Miliband and Johnson are on the sofa together.

Q: What do you make of Labour’s plan to abolish non-dom status?

9.53am BST

Q: Economists say rent controls do not work.

Miliband says he does not accept that. There are 11 million people in private rental accommodation. They have been forgotten.

9.50am BST

Q: Why did you not apologise for Labour’s over-spending?

Miliband says Labour did not regulate the banks properly. He has apologised for that.

9.49am BST

Q: You have allowed yourself to borrow more money for capital spending? So you will borrow more.

Miliband says that is not the case. None of his plans require extra borrowing.

9.46am BST

Q: Would you start borrowing again?

Miliband says none of his plans require extra borrowing.

9.45am BST

Q: Clegg says a Labour-SNP government would be illegitimate. Theresa May is saying the same. Do you agree?

Miliband says there isn’t going to be an agreement with the SNP.

9.43am BST

Andrew Marr is now interviewing Ed Miliband.

Q: How can you be prime minister if you lose in England and Scotland?

9.38am BST

This is what political journalists are saying about Marr’s interview with Johnson. It seems to be 1-0 to Johnson.

Boris not going as far as Theresa May in saying Lab-SNP deal illegitimate. Osborne wouldn’t either when I interviewed him.

@georgeeaton Can you imagine what it must be like to watch a Boris interview in CCHQ? Like watching a man cross a minefield.

Boris running down the clock with his bumbling, posh boy act… #marrshow

Did Andrew Marr get the time for even four questions? Boris just carpet bombed him

Boris seems to be assuming that Labour is going to win in his interview with #Marr

Boris Johnson is more confident of a Labour government than many Labour members! Thanks Boris! #marr

That Boris interview was like a surrealist one-act play.

9.34am BST

Q: What do you think of Labour’s rent control plans?

Johnson says all his officials in City Hall, who are not paid up Conservatives, are opposed to the idea.

9.31am BST

Q: Could the Tories do any deals with Ukip after the election?

Johnson says he does not envisage that. He does not think it is necessary or desirable.

9.28am BST

Andrew Marr is now interviewing Boris Johnson.

Q: You have been making a lot of the danger of the SNP.

9.23am BST

Andrew Marr is interviewing Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru leader, now.

Q: You could not do a deal with the Conservatives.

If you don’t ask for something, you don’t get it.

9.14am BST

Here is today’s Guardian seat projection.

9.04am BST

Good morning. It’s the penultimate weekend of the election campaign, and I’m writing today’s Election Live blog.

SUNDAY TIMES: Labour will bring back rent controls #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers pic.twitter.com/cluzDy1vK9

It all began with James Kirkup’s piece in Saturday’s Telegraph that senior figures in the Conservative party are already planning for a world after Cameron and were even considering installing Boris Johnson as leader by acclamation after the election. I picked up the same talk early last week with multiple sources talking about mysterious approaches to donors by senior figures in the party about whether Boris might take over, all of which are of course vociferously denied by the powers that be.

Today, Marie Woolf and I report in The Sunday Times that this is just the tip of the iceberg. We both received unsolicited phone calls from MPs all week saying that cabinet ministers and their supporters were already phoning around seeking their backing for leadership bids if Cameron fails to get back into government.

Peter Hall, an investment manager, who has given almost £600,000 to the Tory party since 2005, criticised Cameron’s “curious lack of energy and belief in his campaign” and called on him to “unleash visceral passion and belief in his vision of the future” and “get down and dirty” if he is to remain prime minister.

He added: “If we don’t have a Conservative government after May 7 it will be because of David Cameron. I see no powerful vision of the future provided by David Cameron” …

A YouGov poll today shows the Tories would move from two points behind Labour to three points ahead if Johnson were leader. He is judged Cameron’s best successor by 31%, with Theresa May, the home secretary, second on 13%.

MAIL ON SUNDAY: May – SNP/Lab pact ‘worst crisis since abdication’ #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers pic.twitter.com/n3mMScNm90

Because I’ve realised it is possible to be business-like with them. I can envisage a scenario in which I would stomach working with the Tories if the situation required. You have to let your head rule your heart.

We can’t let small extreme tendencies dominate the country. I speak as someone who has lived in Scotland. I have Scottish children. We could not work with people committed to break up the UK.

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Posted in Boris Johnson, Conservatives, David Cameron, Ed Miliband, General election 2015, Labour, Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, Nigel Farage, Politics, Top News, UK Independence party (Ukip), UK news, World news | Comments Off

Election 2015 live: Ed Miliband and Boris Johnson interviewed on the Marr show

10.13am BST

This is what political journalists are saying about Andrew Marr’s interview with Ed Miliband.

I will be posting a summary and analysis shortly.

Miliband says he thinks “we can win” the election in Scotland. This takes political optimism to crystal meth levels

Once again #musiconMarr intervenes to cut off the best bit of the show. I could have watched 10 more minutes of Boris and Mili going at it

“I’m not interested in deals” says @Ed_Miliband re @snp. Important but without one he may never get the call to go to the Palace.

Nonsense for Miliband to claim he leads his party.Unlike Kinnock he’s constantly appeased his party- eg on tax, spending and borrowing #Marr

That was comfortably the best #Marr interview I’ve seen Miliband do. Comfortable, assertive, on top of detail

Boris and Ed MIliband on #Marr. If the Tories lose, this could be PMQs for the next 5 years folks.

Miliband completely outclassing Boris. #marrshow

After a dead bat interview not answering many questions Ed Miliband comes alive when taking on Boris Johnson. very interesting

Boris came through looking loyal, without committing news. Miliband got through it & looked pretty good. Mission accomplished for both #Marr

Miliband used to be excitable and over-earnest. Today was confident and measured on #Marr. Almost a new man. Labour troops will be cheered.

10.00am BST

Miliband and Johnson are on the sofa together.

Q: What do you make of Labour’s plan to abolish non-dom status?

9.53am BST

Q: Economists say rent controls do not work.

Miliband says he does not accept that. There are 11 million people in private rental accommodation. They have been forgotten.

9.50am BST

Q: Why did you not apologise for Labour’s over-spending?

Miliband says Labour did not regulate the banks properly. He has apologised for that.

9.49am BST

Q: You have allowed yourself to borrow more money for capital spending? So you will borrow more.

Miliband says that is not the case. None of his plans require extra borrowing.

9.46am BST

Q: Would you start borrowing again?

Miliband says none of his plans require extra borrowing.

9.45am BST

Q: Clegg says a Labour-SNP government would be illegitimate. Theresa May is saying the same. Do you agree?

Miliband says there isn’t going to be an agreement with the SNP.

9.43am BST

Andrew Marr is now interviewing Ed Miliband.

Q: How can you be prime minister if you lose in England and Scotland?

9.38am BST

This is what political journalists are saying about Marr’s interview with Johnson. It seems to be 1-0 to Johnson.

Boris not going as far as Theresa May in saying Lab-SNP deal illegitimate. Osborne wouldn’t either when I interviewed him.

@georgeeaton Can you imagine what it must be like to watch a Boris interview in CCHQ? Like watching a man cross a minefield.

Boris running down the clock with his bumbling, posh boy act… #marrshow

Did Andrew Marr get the time for even four questions? Boris just carpet bombed him

Boris seems to be assuming that Labour is going to win in his interview with #Marr

Boris Johnson is more confident of a Labour government than many Labour members! Thanks Boris! #marr

That Boris interview was like a surrealist one-act play.

9.34am BST

Q: What do you think of Labour’s rent control plans?

Johnson says all his officials in City Hall, who are not paid up Conservatives, are opposed to the idea.

9.31am BST

Q: Could the Tories do any deals with Ukip after the election?

Johnson says he does not envisage that. He does not think it is necessary or desirable.

9.28am BST

Andrew Marr is now interviewing Boris Johnson.

Q: You have been making a lot of the danger of the SNP.

9.23am BST

Andrew Marr is interviewing Leanne Wood, the Plaid Cymru leader, now.

Q: You could not do a deal with the Conservatives.

If you don’t ask for something, you don’t get it.

9.14am BST

Here is today’s Guardian seat projection.

9.04am BST

Good morning. It’s the penultimate weekend of the election campaign, and I’m writing today’s Election Live blog.

SUNDAY TIMES: Labour will bring back rent controls #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers pic.twitter.com/cluzDy1vK9

It all began with James Kirkup’s piece in Saturday’s Telegraph that senior figures in the Conservative party are already planning for a world after Cameron and were even considering installing Boris Johnson as leader by acclamation after the election. I picked up the same talk early last week with multiple sources talking about mysterious approaches to donors by senior figures in the party about whether Boris might take over, all of which are of course vociferously denied by the powers that be.

Today, Marie Woolf and I report in The Sunday Times that this is just the tip of the iceberg. We both received unsolicited phone calls from MPs all week saying that cabinet ministers and their supporters were already phoning around seeking their backing for leadership bids if Cameron fails to get back into government.

Peter Hall, an investment manager, who has given almost £600,000 to the Tory party since 2005, criticised Cameron’s “curious lack of energy and belief in his campaign” and called on him to “unleash visceral passion and belief in his vision of the future” and “get down and dirty” if he is to remain prime minister.

He added: “If we don’t have a Conservative government after May 7 it will be because of David Cameron. I see no powerful vision of the future provided by David Cameron” …

A YouGov poll today shows the Tories would move from two points behind Labour to three points ahead if Johnson were leader. He is judged Cameron’s best successor by 31%, with Theresa May, the home secretary, second on 13%.

MAIL ON SUNDAY: May – SNP/Lab pact ‘worst crisis since abdication’ #tomorrowspaperstoday #BBCPapers pic.twitter.com/n3mMScNm90

Because I’ve realised it is possible to be business-like with them. I can envisage a scenario in which I would stomach working with the Tories if the situation required. You have to let your head rule your heart.

We can’t let small extreme tendencies dominate the country. I speak as someone who has lived in Scotland. I have Scottish children. We could not work with people committed to break up the UK.

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Vince Cable eyes ‘substantial role’ in event of future coalition government

Business secretary Cable criticises Ed Miliband’s ‘very poor judgment’ and says he is ready to ‘stomach’ another five years with Tories

Vince Cable has indicated that he would like to take over from George Osborne as chancellor in any future Liberal Democrat coalition with Conservatives.

Cable, the current business secretary, is generally regarded as the most leftwing of the Lib Dem cabinet ministers, and is regularly touted as a possible partner for Ed Miliband if the party went into coalition with Labour.

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General election 2015: the main parties are all staring into a pitch-black night of the soul

The Conservatives, Labour and the Lib Dems each face an existential crisis the other side of this election

As the distinguished philosopher Michael “Iron Mike” Tyson once put it: “Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth.” The story of this election is the parties making plans – and then getting thumped in the chops. This most tightly gridded and claustrophobically choreographed campaign is not going to schedule for anyone.

The Tories set out with a plan so simple that even the dimmest of their candidates could be expected to follow it. Say often enough that Ed Miliband isn’t up to being prime minister. Say often enough that the economy is now doing well. Say often enough that Labour’s numbers don’t add up. Add amplification from your allied propagandists in the rightwing press and the Conservatives roll back to power.

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Election 2015 live: Cameron unveils vision for black, Asian and minority ethnic communities

The election campaign continues, with parties out in force trying to persuade the public to vote for them.

10.02am BST

Lord Ashcroft has released his latest battleground polling. Most interestingly, the Conservatives look set to gain Rochester & Strood, where Tory defector Mark Reckless was re-elected as a Ukip candidate in November.

Latest Ashcroft constituency polls in some CON-LAB marginals as well as Bristol West, Thurrock and Rochester & Strood pic.twitter.com/HRL2H2Hmgd

9.49am BST

Here’s Cameron’s response when he was asked to clarify his football loyalties after his Croydon speech (which he read from an autocue):

I had what Natalie Bennett described as a brain fade.

I’m a Villa fan … I must have been overcome by something … this morning.

9.45am BST

Nigel Farage has revealed he is receiving hospital treatment and has been prescribed Temazepam for a serious back condition. In an interview with the Telegraph, the Ukip leader said he “was in a lot of pain” at the start of the general election campaign, but insisted that he is not unwell. Farage said:

I was not unwell, I have not had heart palpitations, but I was getting increasingly terrible pain in my shoulder, my back, and so I was suffering from neuralgic pain.

I am taking a few tablets but it is something I have got to live with and I have got to pace myself. I think I am going to have medical treatment for the rest of my life.

9.31am BST

It appears Cameron had a Natalie Bennett-style “brain fade” during his speech. He thought his football team was West Ham instead of Aston Villa. A simple mistake, right? Watch a video of the slip up below.

David Cameron has just apologised for “brain fade” after getting his football team wrong – urged people to back West Ham, not Villa

9.27am BST

Here’s more of David Cameron’s speech about his vision for BME communities:

Our mission is to make sure that as our economy recovers, people from every community share in that prosperity – that we spread it far and wide. Because after all, it doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, we all want the same thing – a good job, a great education, the chance to get on, the chance to make it. Now when it comes to our key commitments to the British people for the next five years, there are many things that will help people in this hall. Tax cuts for millions – with everyone earning less than £12,500 taken out of income tax altogether. A new law so we have a tax-free Minimum Wage. The right to buy for Housing Association tenants so more people can own their own home. Thirty hours of free childcare for parents of three and four year olds. A fully-funded NHS that is there for you seven days a week.

But there are more specific things we can do to make sure we spread opportunity to every community. So today I’m setting us some new ambitions for the next 5 years, specifically for people from black and minority ethnic communities. I call it my 2020 vision: Ambitious but realistic aspirations to help people from all our communities really thrive.

PM has arrived in East Croydon to set out his 2020 vision for black and ethnic minority communities. #GE15 pic.twitter.com/EGzNlpZw3b

Britain is a shining example of a country where multiple communities work, says David Cameron.

PM says he wants people from every background to be a part of the “jobs revolution”. #GE2015 #Conservative pic.twitter.com/e6wIyGbWF0

9.14am BST

Good morning and welcome to the Saturday edition of the Guardian election live blog, which we’re running every day until Britain goes to the polls on 7 May and, if we do end up with a hung parliament, for some time later.

I’m Nadia Khomami and I’ll be keeping you up to date with all of the happenings from today’s campaign. I’m on Twitter @nadiakhomami and I’ll be reading your comments below the line as well, so don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and direct me towards anything you think I’ve missed.

We’re the party of the first female Prime Minister. The party of the first Jewish Prime Minister. And I know that, one day, we’re going to be the party of the first black or Asian Prime Minister.’

I want this to be an opportunity country, where no matter who you are or where you’re from; whether you’re black, white, Asian or mixed race; whether you’re from the inner city or rural heartlands; you can make the most of your talents.

Today Gordon Brown is appearing at a campaign event with Douglas Alexander, in Elderslie Village Hall, in Alexander’s constituency of Paisley and Renfrewshire South. As Ewen MacAskill reported yesterday, Alexander faces a fight there.

Brown will challenge the SNP to produce answers about how to create jobs will in the post-oil economy, and argue that all parties have been unable to show how they would get high numbers of out-of-work young people in Scotland into jobs.

If the blue army is being outgunned that is not a matter of logistics, but because it lacks recruits. And that would not be surprising for a party that has been unable to reach very far beyond its core support for more than 20 years.

There has been too much emphasis from the Tories on the opposing leader’s weaknesses (or, in this case, the deals he may or may not do to get himself into office), which suggests to voters a party that can’t have much to say for itself.

The demonstrators outside Chatham House were not, it turned out, making the point that Nicola Sturgeon was jaundiced. I checked. The yellow masks of Scotland’s first minister were a rotten print job. The six quiet souls with a small budget and obvious placards – “Dance to my Tune Ed” – were there to save the union.

Shouldn’t St James’s Square have been packed with demonstrators, with tulips trampled and police horses holding back the crowds? Where were the banners and loud speakers? Something big is happening here. A kingdom is at stake.

Just as actors call Macbeth the Scottish play, so historians will for ever think of 2015 as the Scottish election. Whatever happens on 7 May – whoever ends up limping through the door of 10 Downing Street – the big, enduring fact of 2015 will be the shifting of the tectonic plates now under way in Scotland. It is nothing less than a realignment – and it will last.

As one longstanding Scottish observer puts it, the shift in allegiance from Labour to the Scottish National party is “not cyclical”. The pendulum has swung so far, it’s snapped off.

He has had plenty time to reflect on the conundrum now facing Cameron: how can a reforming Prime Minister get so much right, and be thrown out by voters? And why is it that being garlanded with praise by the IMF and foreign governments doesn’t matter at all? Cameron now carries the benediction of Barack Obama (“you must be doing something right!”) and every day seems to bring better economic news.

The brutal maths of this election mean that, while Labour and the Tories are headed for roughly the same number of seats, only Labour has a clear path to 323 seats; their potential partner, the SNP, are set to win nearly twice as many seats as the Tories’ best option, the Lib Dems, and the minor MPs on either side largely cancel each other out.

So for Cameron to win, he needs to win more seats than Labour – considerably more. We think he needs to win around 20-25 seats more.

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