Nicola Sturgeon gave the Tories the moment they wanted after making advances on Ed Miliband during the BBC challengers' debate, wooing him with the prospect of power. Their clinch leads our front page today, reporting: "Sturgeon offer to Miliband: I'll make you PM". The Times opted for: "Join me or you'll pay, Sturgeon tells Labour".
The Labour leader tried to bat away her advances. He emphatically ruled out working with the SNP in coalition, something he has said before. It was a clear negging tactic from Miliband, who did not shut down the question of an SNP deal, where they would back him on issues they agree. Miliband insisted they had "profound" differences, but Sturgeon insisted they were "nothing" compared to their shared opposition to David Cameron. "It was like watching a petrified black cat with white paint on its back fighting off Pepe Le Pew," thought our sketch-writer Michael Deacon. Miliband also praised the "principled stand" of Scottish independence, and said he had "respect" for Sturgeon's views.
This was when Sturgeon dominated the TV debate, acting as if coalition talks had already begun. "I want Ed to replace the Tories with something better", she said. Her offer came with a few strings attached, chiefly that a Labour-SNP team would reduce cuts and hike spending. When she wasn't trying to charm Labour, she painted the man normally known to critics as 'Red Ed' as a 'Tory-lite' austerity lover. She, with Leanne Wood and Nigel Farage, tried to pin him down on what cuts he would make, with Miliband wriggling out of it each time. In his defence, it's easy for the anti-austerity leaders to take pot shots when they won't have to put their plans into practise.
So who won? Our comment team, including Janet Daley, Iain Martin, and Mary Riddell have given their verdicts here. Our live-blog covered it blow-by-blow here. Miliband, according to Survation, beat David Cameron (45% to 40%) when voters were asked who would make the best premier. However, this was after watching 90 minutes of Miliband without Cameron in the room. The Labour leader, aiming to show voters he could be a future Prime Minister, acted macho and challenged Cameron to a one-on-one clash, knowing that it is too late to happen as the debates have been agreed.
The SNP leader came across the best on Twitter, according to our analysis. Sturgeon also came second to Miliband (31% to 35%) in the Survation poll on who won. However, the difference is within the margin of error. The Labour leader may have wished he secured a clearer lead, in order to show his campaign has the momentum to get him into No 10 without anyone else's help.
KIDS SAY THE UKIP-EST THINGS
Tristram Hunt, the shadow education secretary, was taken aback by a young man who told him he supports Ukip to "get all the foreigners out". Hunt was filmed asking the year six pupil from Derby who he would vote for in May's election if he could. You can watch their exchange here.
THE OTHER RED KEN
Ken Clarke, the former Tory chancellor, thinks the Conservatives has stopped winning elections as the party has "become much too right-wing". Speaking to the New Statesman's Anoosh Chakelian, he also warned his colleagues that it would "cost votes" to personally attack Ed Miliband and urged them not to write out "blank cheques" for"silly" pledges.
ONE MILLION REASONS
One million British jobs will be put at risk if Ed Miliband wins next month's election, David Cameron will say, as he faced criticism from a senior Conservative over his negative campaign tactics, Peter Dominiczak and Ben Riley-Smith report. Unveiling the Tory jobs manifesto on Friday, the Prime Minister will say that Labour "represents a threat to jobs" because of Miliband's plans for tax rises on businesses.
DESMOND DIGS DEEP
Nigel Farage's election campaign has received a massive boost after a media tycoon gave £1.3million to his party, in a gift which he said was "one of the best birthday presents ever". Richard Desmond, who owns the Daily Express, said the cash was part of the UK Independence Party's drive to win more MPs The Ukip leader told Chris Hope: "Mr Desmond rang me on my birthday on 3rd April to tell me that he had made his mind up to do it."
HOPE NOT HATE
After being heckled at the Ukip manifesto launch, the Telegraph's Chris Hope was tweeted by some of the party's supporters who were not impressed by his question. You can watch him reading the meanest tweets here.
WHY YOU WANNA TREAT ME SO BAD?
Nick Clegg has spoken about his passion for Prince, fondly reminiscing about tracking down his secret gigs while studying in Minneapolis in the early 1990s. Speaking to Buzzfeed's Jim Waterson, he also defended his record in office and his election campaign strategy.
NHS NEEDS MONEY, STAT
Labour needs to commit to spending £8billion on hospitals, the former head of NHS England has said. Sir David Nicholson called on the next government to make the money available straight away rather than spread it out of the course of the next parliament. Read more here.
CAMERON BYRNES BALLS
David Cameron has accused Ed Balls of making the "most appalling" comments of the General Election campaign so far after the shadow chancellor dismissed a Labour note saying there was no money left as a "joke", Steven Swinford reports. Liam Byrne, who was chief secretary to the Treasury in Gordon Brown's government, left the stark message in a desk at his former offices in 2010.
JUSTICE FOR JANNER
Keith Vaz, the senior Labour politician, was one of 16 MPs who publicly defended Greville Janner against child sex abuse allegations at a time when prosecutors now admit the peer should have faced trial, Gordon Rayner reports. The allegations faced by Lord Janner are the latest in a string of claims made about prominent establishment figures. Martin Evans has more.
Not sure who to vote for yet? The Telegraph has teamed up with Vote Match, the UK's biggest voting advice app, in order to help you find the party that best matches your views. The app is quick and easy to use, and the results may surprise you...
Average of polls as of Wednesday, April 15: Lab: 33.8%, Conservative: 34.2%, UKIP 12.4%, Lib Dem 8.3%, Green 5.4%. The data is from: YouGov, Populus, Opinium, ComRes, Survation, Ipsos MORI, ICM, TNS-BMRB.
TOO MANY TWEETS…
@May2015NS: Natalie—Apocalypse is coming, Leanne—Everyone ignores Wales, Farage—Immigrants! Ed—"Look I believe…". Nicola—Incandescent abt Tories #BBCdebate
From The Telegraph
Dan Hodges - Nicola Sturgeon had a deadly attack for Ed Miliband in the BBC TV debate: she mothered him
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John Rentoul - The Save Ed campaign has already been launched
Stephen Tall - The Lib Dems are now pinned in the liberal centre - whether we like it or not
09:00 Nigel Farage takes part in phone-in with BBC Radio 5Live
09:30 UK monthly unemployment figures to be published by ONS
10:20 David Cameron speech in West Midlands, Welsh manifesto launch 14.40
10:30 Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy launches the party's manifesto
Ed Miliband campaign launch in the East Midlands
11:00 Shadow defence secretary Vernon Coaker speaks at the Royal United Services Institute about Labour's defence policy
Nick Clegg in Scotland
19:30 Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood to be questioned on BBC One's 'The Leader Interviews'
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