Thursday 30 April 2015


The final(-ish) countdown
Do you want the good news or the bad news? Good news: there's a week to go until polling day. Bad news: that might not be the end of it. If there's a hung Parliament, the wrangling could go on for days. Nonetheless, everyone's busy making their final pitches. David Cameron ran through his party's credentials on supporting young people, and Ed Miliband talked about speaking to one million more people before 7 May. Danny Alexander's pitch was very final indeed, putting yet more distance between the Lib Dems and their coalition ex-partners. On top of that, the leaders have another chance to make a televised breakthrough on tonight's Question Time.
One door opens, another closes
The big row today is all about welfare cuts - and more specifically, cuts to child benefit. We've got the Lib Dems' Danny Alexander, who was George Osborne's deputy in the Treasury, claiming that three years ago the Tories had a whole series of plans to cut child benefit and tax credits - plans that they say would have amounted to around £8bn of savings.

George Osborne has completely rejected these ideas, saying that they weren't policy and in fact had come from the Lib Dems. The Lib Dems maintain they definitely are Tory ideas and perhaps feel they haven't got enough credit for all the things they've done in government behind closed doors. So it was today they firmly opened those doors to reveal some confidential conversations at the very top of coalition government.

This might make future talks for a coalition government pretty difficult, but with so many Lib Dems facing a really tough fight in their constituencies - including people like Danny Alexander - the Lib Dems seem to feel this is a risk worth taking.
Eleanor Garnier
Political correspondent
Treasury wars
George Osborne and Danny Alexander pictured in more collegiate days
As already mentioned, Lib Dem Danny Alexander has been taking aim at his former colleagues by releasing a document he claims was prepared by Iain Duncan Smith in 2012 outlining how £8bn could be saved from child benefit and child tax credits. Mr Alexander said it showed the party was either being "deceitful" or "highly reckless" in not saying where all of their planned £12bn cuts to welfare would come from. But George Osborne countered the proposal had been commissioned by the chief secretary himself, adding: "We haven't put into practice any of these options, we don't support them." Read more >
David Cameron walkabout in Wetherby
Conservatives say they're 'first' for young people
Speaking in West Yorkshire, David Cameron said the Conservatives were the party of "the first chance - the first job, the first pay cheque, the first home". He outlined what the Conservatives were offering younger voters, such as more apprenticeships and no national insurance on jobs for under-21s. Read more >
"Me first!"
Labour's one million chat challenge
Earlier this year Ed Miliband said he wanted to have four million conversations in four months. He now says he's met that goal and wants to have a million more talks in the next week - in order to tell people they have a "real choice" between "putting working families first" or "at risk with the Tories". Read more >
Clamming up on climate change?
Natalie Bennett has insisted the Green Party has put the environment and climate change "on the agenda" - something she claimed "every other party leader failed to do". Environmentalist James Lovelock told BBC Radio 4's Today programme earlier this month that climate change was being ignored by all the main parties. Read more >
The Sun splits its vote

The Sun and its sister paper, the Scottish Sun, have endorsed different parties in the election. The London-based paper urged readers to back the Conservatives and "stop the SNP". By contrast, the Scottish Sun said the Tories did not understand Scotland and praised SNP leader, Nicola Sturgeon, as "a phenomenon who inspires people". Read more >
Coming up: Leaders' Question Time
David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will face questions from David Dimbleby and a studio audience tonight. You can watch live on BBC Two from 20:00 BST. Afterwards, you can watch programmes with other party leaders in different parts of the country: Nicola Sturgeon at 21:30 on BBC One Scotland, Leanne Wood at 22:45 on BBC One Wales, and Nigel Farage at 22:50 on BBC One England. You can follow all the action onlineRead more >
Politics around the UK
Parties clash over second referendum
Read more >
Plaid Cymru calls for national drugs fund
Read more >
Northern Ireland:
Passionate fight in Foyle constituency
Read more >
Young voters' views on 'Milibrand'
Read more >
Hugh should I vote for?
The old adage goes that politics is show business for ugly people. But this election increasingly feels like ugliness for showbiz people. Today the latest celebrity to weigh in on the general election was Hugh Grant, intervening to praise Danny Alexander (here is a full list of candidates in the constituency).

But it does not always go well when famous names get involved with politics, as BBC Trending reports. Read more >

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