The election is two days away, and the Conservatives have changed their Ukip love-bombing campaign. Out goes the "love", when David Cameron urged those wooed by Nigel Farage to "come home", while the "bombing" remains, as Iain Duncan Smith has now warned that a vote for Ukip is a "suicide note" that will "not be forgotten" (in a blunt message we have splashed on).
The Work and Pensions Secretary told Peter Dominiczak that a vote for Ukip as "unfathomable" as it risks allowing a weak minority Labour government – backed by the SNP – to seize control of Downing Street. The former soldier's attack comes as Tory strategists try to squeeze Nigel Farage's party, fearing that a strong Ukip vote could split potential support for the Conservatives in some areas to Labour's benefit. They hope that deploying Duncan Smith, who came to prominence as a major Eurosceptic leading the rebellions against John Major over the Maastricht Treaty, will make some ex-Tory supporters notice and think twice about staying with the purple team.
Ukip HQ has already kicked back at Duncan Smith, with former Tory (now star Kipper) Douglas Carswell tweeting that his intervention showed "patrician Toryism at its worst". "If IDS finds voting Ukip unfathomable", one spinner said, "that is a failure of his understanding, not the millions who will vote for us". Meanwhile, the Conservatives' oldest thinktank has not helped party unity after its chairman called for supporters to join those potential "millions" by voting Ukip in areas where the Tories cannot win.
Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Bow Group, said people should vote Ukip as a way to "keep Ed Miliband out of Number 10", adding that a Conservative majority is "very unlikely to happen". The suggestion, which Farage seized on, was swiftly slapped down by some of the thinktank's own patrons. The tiff may be irrelevant as an issue on the doorstep, but it will irk Conservative high command as it undermines their plan to keep Cameron in No 10 by putting the pressure on Ukip.
The Conservatives may feel perky today though after the Independent newspaper threw its weight behind the Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition continuing. After urging the electorate in 2010 to "vote for the candidate best placed to frustrate David Cameron", the newspaper now says Miliband seems "unready for government", and that an extended coalition would "prolong the recovery". Such a conversion will delight Tory activists, leaving some to wonder: could Ukippers feel the same way on polling day?
SAVED FROM SCOTASTROPHE?
Ed Miliband is plotting to become Prime Minister even if he wins fewer seats than the Conservatives in this week's election, Steven Swinford reports. Senior figures in the party are trying to woo the Liberal Democrats to help "lend legitimacy" to a minority Labour government and reduce the party's reliance on the SNP. Meanwhile, David Cameron told the Daily Mail that voters will have "serious questions and problems" if Labour tries to seize power having come second in the General Election. Also, George Osborne told the FT that Britain will face "fallout Friday" if Labour win the general election with the support of SNP.
Nicola Sturgeon was today forced to deny that one of her spin doctors helped a group of separatists to target Eddie Izzard and Jim Murphy with abuse and intimidation at Labour campaign event in Glasgow, Simon Johnson reports. Meanwhile, Sturgeon has been accused of riding roughshod over the independence referendum result after arguing that the next UK Government would be "illegitimate" without the support of Scottish MPs. Here are more details.
NEWSROUND WOULDN'T ASK THIS...
A 14-year-old boy has asked Nick Clegg the best question of the campaign: can you kill Katie Hopkins? "No, no, no," I don't think that's a good idea, replied the Deputy Prime Minister, telling the kid to "just ignore" the controversial columnist who last month described migrants who drowned in the Mediterranean as "cockroaches". The Independent has more.
DON'T BE MEANIE TO THE GREENIE
Natalie Bennett, the leader of the Green Party, has complained that she is being "demonised" in the immigration debate because she is from Australia, Chris Hope reports. Bennett (no relation), who was born in Australia but is a British citizen, made the claim as she said the Greens would end immigration detention, and change immigration rules which mean that only those with a salary above £18,600 can apply for spousal visas.
OSBORNE'S TOP DOG
Lauren Davidson has found a special letter, signed with a "woof!" and a pawprint, which was penned in the voice a cream bichon frise called Lola, Chancellor George Osborne's dog. "Thank you so much for the wonderful hamper of my dreams. It was filled with everything a Lola could want!" said the note, which was accompanied by a handwritten letter of thanks from Osborne. "The bandana is super stylish and all the other pups are jealous of me!"
LOOSE LIPS SINK LEADERSHIPS
David Cameron has accused the Lib Dems of talking "nonsense" after they claimed the Prime Minister had told Nick Clegg the Conservatives could not win a majority, Emily Gosden reports. In what appeared to be intervention orchestrated by the Lib Dems, Paul Scriven, a peer and close confidant of Clegg, yesterday accused Cameron of "lying" over the Tories' chances of victory, claiming he had privately admitted to the Deputy Prime Minister that they "won't win a majority."
FOLLOW THE MONEY
Who's going to win the 2015 general election? What sort of coalition, if we get a hung parliament, will emerge? According to the betting markets, the chances of the various outcomes, as implied by the latest odds from Betfair, are as follows: Lab minority: 30.4% - Con minority: 16.2% - Con-Lib Dem coalition: 22.8% - Con majority: 8% - Lab-Lib Dem coalition: 12% - Any other government/coalition: 8.4% - Lab majority: 0.7% - Con-Ukip coalition: 1.4%.
TURNING BLUE AGAINST BLUKIP
The Liberal Democrats have been accused of mounting a dirty tricks campaign to split the Tory vote by highlighting David Cameron's support for foreign aid and same sex marriage, Matthew Holehouse reports. Lib Dems have targeted Conservative voters, "warning" them that Ukip want to leave the European Union and cut foreign aid.
ED'S BIG ENERGY BILL
Ed Miliband's commitment to eliminate the vast majority of carbon from the UK power sector by 2030 could cost Britain more than £200bn, according to analysis conducted by The Telegraph's Ben Wright. The Labour Party's manifesto promise to set "a legal target to remove carbon from our electricity supply by 2030" – referred to repeatedly by the Labour leader in speeches since September 2013 and during the election campaign – could result in a huge increase in energy costs for households and businesses.
MR DON'T VOTE SAYS.... VOTE
Russell Brand, the self-styled revolutionary and comedian, has broadcast a second part of his interview with Ed Miliband on his YouTube channel, during which the Labour leader said he wants "politics that is rooted in communities". After the interview Brand, who has previously urged his 10 million Twitter followers not to "bother" voting, acknowledged he has been 'Mr Don't Vote', but gave his full support to Labour in England. Read more here.
Senior Labour politicians attended a rally where Asian men and women were apparently separated along gender lines, Chris Hope reports. UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage said the event, which was attended by Liam Byrne and Tom Watson, was rejecting "a century and more of advancement for women's rights".
FINGER ON THE BUTTON
David Cameron is significantly more trusted than Ed Miliband with Britain's national security, international relations and the economy, a new poll has found. Nearly thirds of voters place more trust in Cameron on six of the key issues facing Britain, Steven Swinford reports.
MAKING YOUR MIND UP
Not sure who to vote for yet? The election is just days away, but you can use our quick and easy Vote Match app to help you find the party that best matches your views. The results may surprise you...
Average of polls as of Sunday, May 3: Lab: 33%, Conservative: 33.6%, UKIP 13.8%, Lib Dem 8.3%, Green 5.1%. The data is from: YouGov, Populus, Opinium, ComRes, Survation, Ipsos MORI, ICM, TNS-BMRB.
TOO MANY TWEETS...
@MichaelPDeacon: Now all that Russell Brand's fans have to do is build a time machine so that they can meet the deadline for voter registration
From The Telegraph
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Janan Ganesh - Good riddance to a carnival of nonsense and futility
Matthew D'Ancona - Why the fate of the Tories hinges on the survival of Nick Clegg
Ed Miliband campaigns in Bedfordshire and West Midlands
Nick Clegg in Cornwall
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European Commission to publish its spring economic forecasts
14:00 Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith, shadow work and pensions secretary Rachel Reeves, Liberal Democrat Steve Webb, the UK Independence Party's Suzanne Evans and the Green Party's Jonathan Bartley take part in a BBC Daily Politics debate on welfare policy
20:00 Senior representatives of the DUP, Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance and UUP participate in a BBC Northern Ireland television debate
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