Friday, 1 May 2015


How do you like your leaders grilled?
They all seemed rather well-done after being hauled over the coals on Question Time last night. Ed Miliband admitted he would not win the vote of an audience member who accused Labour of bankrupting the country when they were in government, and David Cameron again struggled to answer a question on food banks. We were also told that a Labour-SNP deal is "not going to happen" (Miliband) and that child tax credit "would not fall" (Cameron). Nick Clegg took a more combative approach with questioners, but came out with the lowest rating in polling afterwards.
Miliband stumbles, Cameron dodges
Was this the night Ed Miliband stumbled? Not just when he briefly lost his footing as he left the Question Time stage, but also in the minutes before when he came under repeated fire about Labour's record on spending and borrowing from a tough crowd of sceptical Yorkshire men and women?

The Labour leader said nothing he has not said repeatedly before - explaining his view that the deficit resulted from the financial crash and not from over spending by the last Labour government. He gave no new hostages to fortune but it was, nevertheless, the toughest ride he's faced in this campaign. With David Cameron looking confident the Tories and the Tory press will claim that this was the night the election turned.

But - and it is a big but - the prime minister's performance relied on either ignoring or dodging the hostile questioning he faced about welfare cuts, the bedroom tax, food banks and the morality of his policies. Read more >
Nick Robinson
Political editor
The futures market
Ed Miliband in Cardiff and David Cameron in Leeds the morning after the night before
All the leaders have been trading on the futures market today, talking about what they would or wouldn't do in the event of a hung parliament next Friday. Ed Miliband tried to set down a marker last night, saying he "couldn't be clearer" in ruling out any form of deal or coalition with the SNP. But in a speech today David Cameron said his rival's position "changes nothing". Nicola Sturgeon repeated her view that Labour and the SNP should "put aside differences" to keep the Conservatives out. UKIP's Nigel Farage said he could support a deal with a Conservative-Lib Dem coalition but not Labour. And Nick Clegg added another red line to his list, this time on funding for the NHS. Read more >
Watch: Question Time highlights
BBC deputy political editor James Landale reports on David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg's final set-piece television event before the election. Watch >
Benefits battle begins again
Ed Miliband continued to attack the Conservatives on welfare, warning family budgets faced being "devastated" by Tory proposals for £12bn in welfare savings. But David Cameron again rejected Labour's accusations, describing child benefit as "vital" and promising that, while it would be frozen at the start of the new Parliament, "child benefit stays". Read more >
Farage gives Labour short shrift
Nigel Farage has insisted he could never support a Labour government, since the party has "turned their back" on an EU referendum. He expanded on the role of UKIP's MPs after the election, saying he did not want to go into coalition but would be prepared to support a "confidence and supply" deal with a Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition.
Read more >
Reality Check: Leader's Question Time
All of BBC Reality Check's analysis of last night's programme is available to read in one place. Read more >
The day in pictures

The day's best photographs, including this of the Official Monster Raving Loony Party's Howling Laud Hope. View more >
Politics around the UK
SNP would have 'big clout' - Sturgeon
Read more >
Miliband rules out deal with Plaid Cymru
Read more >
Northern Ireland:
SDLP pledges to 'derail' Tories' planned cuts
Read more >
Labour candidate suspended
Read more >
Tripping up, not falling over
Ed Miliband stumbled last night as he departed the Question Time stage, though he managed to remain upright. And today David Cameron made a slip-up of his own, describing the election as "career-defining" and then correcting himself to say "country-defining". Meanwhile, Nick Clegg ran the risk of ridicule when he was photographed with a hospital dummy. Maybe election fatigue is finally getting to them all? Keep up with all the thrills and spills on our live page >

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