Monday, 13 April 2015


Ed Miliband is taking no chances today after being humiliated last year for forgetting to mention the deficit in his conference speech. The Labour leader will have a pledge to cut the deficit every year on the first page of his party's first election manifesto (as well as the opening sentence of his potential government's first Budget) as part of his plea to voters to "trust me on the economy".  

Many of the other papers focus on Miliband's big pitch to voters. "Labour seeks to make up ground on fiscal policies", says the FT. The Independent notes that "economic credibility" will be at "the heart" of Labour's manifesto, while Miliband sat down with the Daily Mirror to outline his plans, which they have headlined "not a penny more..". According to the Guardian's first edition, Miliband "will say Labour is now the fiscally irresponsible party" - the typo has left Conservatives chuckling on Twitter.

So will Miliband be able to rebrand his party as fiscally responsible? The Conservatives and Liberal Democrats mock Miliband for not setting a date on when a Labour government would clear the deficit, promising only to create "a surplus on the current budget as soon as possible in the next parliament". The Labour leader, however, has failed to come up with an effective riposte. Miliband will now offer voters a "Budget Responsibility Lock", his contract with voters to ensure he doesn't forget to keep cutting the deficit.  Polls have repeatedly shown that Labour lags behind the Conservatives on whether they can be trusted with the economy, so it will be an uphill struggle to win voters back. 

Miliband's attempt to show off his economic nous will not be helped by 100 small businessmen writing to the Sun to warn he would be "very bad" for the economy, which the newspaper splashed on under the headline: "No Ed for business". The newspaper has also dredged up critical comments from Labour candidates, who called Miliband "staggeringly thoughtless", "second best" and "a posh boy". David Cameron has also tried to steal some of his Labour rival's thunder by outlining his "Conservative dream" in which people had "good jobs, worthwhile careers – and excellent public services like hospitals and schools that are there for you and your family". 

Labour is trying its best to persuade voters to trust them again with the nation's finances. However, Miliband can expect to be monstered on Thursday night's "challengers debate" when he faces anti-austerity party leaders like Nicola Sturgeon, who'll make hay with his plans to keep on cutting, however slowly it may be. Their TV clash may seem ultimately insignificant, but Labour may find itself asked by the Scottish Nationalists to ease up on planned austerity as its price for power. 


Nicola Sturgeon has refused to rule out a second independence referendum during the lifetime of the next UK parliament during a chaotic Scottish party leaders' debate, Auslan Cramb reports. The First Minister said the general election was "not about independence" but about giving Scotland a stronger voice in Westminster.


The former senior BBC journalist unmasked as Ed Miliband's secret lover has described their brief fling more than a decade ago as "costly", Chris Hope reports. Stephanie Flanders, who later became the corporation's Economics Editor, admitted for the first time that she "dated" the Labour leader for a short period in 2004. 


Hillary Clinton launched her long-awaited presidential campaign on Sunday night by presenting herself as "a champion for everyday Americans", Raf Sanchez reports. In a video message announcing her candidacy, she promised to fight for the traditional American heartland but also a rapidly changing country that included gay people and ethnic minorities. Saturday Night Live has already parodied the announcement. 


Tony Blair is an "an epic, patronising t***er" for saying Britons should not get the chance to vote on EU membership, Boris Johnson has said. The London Mayor made the blunt remark out on the campaign trail in the capital. The Sun's Craig Woodhouse has more


Millions of middle class couples including teachers and nurses will have the threat of paying inheritance tax lifted if the Conservatives win the general election, David Cameron has said. The Tory leader and Prime Minister moved to seize the initiative in the General Election battle, with a promise to end inheritance tax on properties worth up to £1 million. 


Properties worth between £2 million and £2.5 million would face an annual "mansion tax" of up to £2,000 a year, under Liberal Democrat plans. Unveiling the party's proposed tax plans on Sunday, Nick Clegg confirmed the Lib Dems had scaled back the policy and it would now raise only £1 billion – far less than the £1.7 billion initially proposed. He also indicated motorists would be hit with a £25 average increase in annual road tax. Read more details here.


Ukip supporters should vote Conservative in seats that Ukip has no chance of winning, Nigel Farage has suggested. The UK Independence Party leader took the unusual step of encouraging tactical voting, telling the Telegraph: "Of course, it's a complex electoral system and people have to use their votes as wisely as they can." Emily Gosden has more


The highest earners would face a 60p top rate of tax under Green Party plans to make the richest "pay back" to society and deter companies from paying "excessive" salaries. Britain's top earners currently face a 45p rate on income over £150,000 but Natalie Bennett (no relation), the Green Party leader, claimed that they deserved to pay even more. She also suggested that the Grand National, the world's greatest horse race, could be banned. Here are more details


A new private members' club backed by Lord Ashcroft, the billionaire Tory pollster and former party treasurer, will be opening soon in London after being given the green light by the City of London Corporation. It'll boast over six floors, a brasserie, bars and business suites, plus 68 bedrooms, according to Estates Gazette's Chris BerkinBrian Clivaz, the entrepreneur behind Mayfair's Arts Club and Marylebone's Home House, will manage the club.


An eight-month-old puppy was barred from getting too close to David Cameron after bizarrely being deemed a security risk, it has been reported. The Prime Minister's aides reportedly ordered that the terrier must be kept well away from the Conservative Party leader. 


The Bank of England has been forced to defend Mark Carney's tax status after it emerged that the governor is one of the 115,000 people Labour is targeting under plans to scrap "non-dom" rules. Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour party, announced plans last week to end rules that enable some wealthy UK residents to limit the tax paid on earnings outside Britain. Here are more details


The pound faces a month of uncertainty that could see sterling plunge to levels not seen since the depths of the financial crisis, analysts have warned, Szu Ping Chan reports. Official data this week could show the UK entered deflation in March for the first time in at least a quarter of a century. This would weaken the pound from its current level of $1.4630 against the dollar and send sterling closer to its 2010 post-election low of $1.4230.


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 Saturday, April 11: Lab: 33.8%, Conservative: 33.2%, UKIP 13.8%, Lib Dem 8.3%, Green 5.2%. The data is from: YouGov, Populus, Opinium, ComRes, Survation, Ipsos MORI, ICM, TNS-BMRB. 


@Gilesyb: If their poll ratings don't pick up I confidently expect next Tory pledge to be free Werther's Originals and a return of Morecambe & Wise


From The Telegraph

Janet Daley - Where are the voices of the grown-ups in this election?

Dan Hodges - NHS spending and inheritance tax: which party won the weekend?

From elsewhere

Matthew D'Ancona - This Tory manifesto is Cameron's last chance to give voters a stake in Britain

David Mitchell - Don't trust the doomsters during election time – sadly we have to try


1000 Greens unveil billboards in Brighton 

1100 Labour is expected to launch its 2015 General Election manifesto in Manchester

1900 Shadow employment minister Stephen Timms, Dominic Grieve, Alistair Burt, David Lammy and Sarah Teather participate in a debate on Christian principles in the run up to the election at St Martin-in-the-Fields

1900 Tim Farron participates in a general election hustings in Kendal on the issue of global justice 

2310: Nicola Sturgeon on ITV's The Agenda with Tom Bradby, alongside former British ambassador to the US Sir Christopher Meyer, The Times' chief leader writer Philip Collins and actress Elaine C Smith.

Nick Clegg campaigns in London and the South East.



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