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Live Reporting

Bernadette McCague, Marie Jackson and Jenny Matthews

All times stated are UK

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  1. Tuesday round-up

    So, we are shutting up shop for the night but before we go, let's remind ourselves of some of the day's biggest news:

    - David Cameron said he would 'put the country first' if he failed to win an outright majority

    - Ed Miliband said he did not accept an Institute for Fiscal Studies assessment that debt would be £90bn higher in 2019-20 under his plans than under the Conservatives' if he won the election.

    - Nick Clegg said an EU referendum was not a coalition "red line" for the Lib Dems - and warned of the risk of a second election before Christmas if parties tried to go it alone as a minority government

    - UKIP candidate Robert Blay was suspended after being filmed apparently threatening to shoot a Conservative rival while another of the party's candidates apologised for offensive remarks about a female journalist

    - The SNP suspended two members of their party following scuffles at a rally held by the Scottish Labour leader in Glasgow

    - The Green Party urged voters to "send a message" on climate change

    - Lucy Powell, the vice-chair of Labour's general election campaign, denied suggesting Ed Miliband could break his election pledges.

    - The Democratic Unionist Party said a commission on the union would be a "red line" in any post-election negotiations

    - Footage has surfaced of Ed Miliband when he was known as Ted Miliband

    Ed Miliband
    Image caption: Ted Miliband

    My learned colleagues will be back with you tomorrow from 06:00. We promise to do our best to avoid starting every sentence with: "Less than 24 hours to go..." So with just over 24 hours to go, goodnight!

  2. Mystery solved

    Some clarification for Newsnight viewers wondering who the four pints behind UKIP's Mark Reckless were for:

  3. Down the pub

    Independent on Sunday political editor

  4. Reckless apologises

    BBC Newsnight presenter

  5. Number 10

    10 Downing Street
    Image caption: Who's going to walk through that door? The wait is almost over.
  6. Unscripted arguments and elephants in the room

    Newsnight

    An interesting discussion has gone on on Newsnight. Labour peer Baroness Morgan says she thinks party leaders have handled the media well and come out pretty unscathed. But she feels the campaign has lacked drama, leaving a lot of people feeling disconnected. Conservative peer Lord Finkelstein defends David Cameron's reluctance to engage in unscripted arguments with members of the public. He has a lot to do - to be professional, get his message across and not drop the ball, he says. Independent editor Amol Rajan says the first past the post system is an issue that will need looking at. Lord Finkelstein says, though, the real elephant in the room will be having "nearly 50 separatist MPs" in Westminster after the election, referring to the SNP's expected success.

  7. Independent front page

  8. 'Not embarrassed at all'

    Newsnight

    Emma Reynolds

    Evan Davis does his best to get straight answers out of his Newsnight guests. Labour shadow housing minister Emma Reynolds is pressed on whether she would be embarrassed if a smaller party were to become the governing party. "Not embarrassed at all," she finally says.

  9. The i paper front page

  10. Sun front page

  11. Daily Mail front page

  12. Mirror front page

  13. Late swing

    BBC Newsnight has started on BBC2.

  14. Second general election speculation

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    Underneath all the frantic last-minute campaigning and spinning is a strain of uncertainty pervading the parties, says James Landale.

    Quote Message: Normally they sort of sense which way the wind is blowing - the voters want change or the voters want more of the same. This time, I think, the politicians, the pollsters and the media are struggling to read the election. That's why there is so much focus on what happens if there's an uncertain result. As such, Thursday might not be the end of the process. It might just be the calling of the half-time whistle. Not only could we see a long process of protracted negotiation between the parties if none of them win outright, but also Nick Clegg has raised the speculation that there could even be a second general election this year. That will concentrate one or two minds.
  15. The Times

  16. Daily Express

  17. The Guardian

  18. Wednesday's Daily Telegraph

  19. The Scotsman

  20. Tomorrow's Financial Times

  21. The usual, please

    Chancellor George Osborne
    Image caption: Chancellor George Osborne is also in the Midlands, pulling a pint at the Hutt pub near Nottingham.
  22. Hospital visit

    Labour candidate Catherine Atkinson and Ed Miliband
    Image caption: Ed Miliband accompanies Labour candidate for Erewash Derbyshire Catherine Atkinson on a visit to Ilkeston Hospital in Derbyshire
    Raymond Pounder and Ed Miliband
    Image caption: On the visit, Mr Miliband chats to 78-year-old Raymond Pounder
  23. Closing speeches

    A lot of talk about changing the political landscape in the leaders' closing speeches. Mike Nesbitt of the UUP urges people to vote for "hope" on Thursday. "We don't have to jump into a virtual blender and all come out the human form of beige," he assures them. Naomi Long, of Alliance, says she believes Northern Ireland needs a "shared and inclusive future". Martin McGuinness, of Sinn Fein, warns people against voting for a party "that is sleepwalking us out of the (European) Union". The SDLP's Mark Durkan stresses the importance of protecting public services against future privatisation. Nigel Dodds, of the DUP, says his party is not allied to Labour or the Conservatives, and would do the best deal for "you, your family and your community".

  24. Ted Miliband

    Ed Miliband in 1991

    Footage has surfaced of Ed Miliband when he was known as Ted Miliband and involved in one of his first political struggles, leading a rent strike on behalf of Oxford students in the spring of 1991. ITV News Meridian dug out the archive clip of a youthful grey-jumpered Mr Miliband speaking against a 27% proposed rise, telling an interviewer: "People wouldn't get angry if it wasn't unaffordable, and it clearly is an unaffordable rise."

  25. Tribal politics?

    After an impassioned debate among leaders about the SNP, audience members respond. One says he's more interested in Northern Ireland's place in the EU than in the UK, another complains all he has heard is tribal politics. "It's so disappointing," he says. Another says there should be a referendum on independence, while a fourth says that's not the issue - it's a distraction from the more important issues of jobs, health and education.

  26. A referendum on same-sex marriage

    Martin McGuinness

    Martin McGuinness (Sinn Fein) suggests a referendum in Northern Ireland on whether same-sex marriage should be legalised. Northern Ireland is exempt from legislation passed in Westminster permitting gay marriage. The DUP and UUP have blocked such a law in a series of votes in the Northern Ireland Assembly. Speaking at the NI leaders' debate, the UUP leader Mike Nesbitt says he was brought up to believe that marriage is "between a man and woman" while the DUP's Nigel Dodds says his party doesn't believe in the "redefinition of marriage".

    Martin McGuinness says he has a way of getting the two parties "off the hook".

    Quote Message: Put it to a referendum, let the people decide."
  27. UKIP hopeful suspended over threat

    A UKIP candidate has been suspended after being filmed apparently threatening to shoot a Conservative rival if he ever became prime minister.

    Robert Blay, who is standing in North East Hampshire, was secretly filmed by the Daily Mirror making the comments about Ranil Jayawardena.

    Read more here.

  28. Tackle 'poor mental health' in Northern Ireland

    The Northern Ireland parties are laying out their red lines on working with other parties at Westminster if there's a hung parliament. Naomi Long (Alliance) says her support will be reliant on "how much of our manifesto we can deliver". But she adds that no-one should take her party's support "for granted". Mike Nesbitt (UUP) would seek more support to tackle what he called "poor mental health and wellbeing" in the country. But Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness says the parties are indulging in "a lot of wishful thinking" about their potential role as kingmakers. Sinn Fein has a policy of not taking up its seats in the House of Commons.

  29. Role in post-election coalition?

    northern ireland leaders' debate

    The debate in Northern Ireland kicks off with a discussion on what role the parties in Northern Ireland might play in any coalition talks after the general election. Nigel Dodds, deputy leader of the DUP, says his party can play a "real role" and would be acting "in the best interests" of Northern Ireland. Mark Durkan, former SDLP leader, says his party will play "no part in putting the Tories in power".

  30. The Northern Ireland leaders' debate

    The Northern Ireland leaders' debate is now underway - although there is only one party leader present. The BBC TV debate features representatives from Northern Ireland's five biggest parties. The panel includes Nigel Dodds (DUP deputy leader); Martin McGuinness (Sinn Fein); Mike Nesbitt (UUP); Mark Durkan (SDLP); and Naomi Long (Alliance).

  31. Jon Stewart on the election...

    Comedy Central

    The host of the US's Daily Show, Jon Stewart, has been sharing his thoughts on the election. Speaking to Channel 4 News, he complimented David Cameron and Ed Miliband on not representing themselves as "Churchillian or charismatic". It is smart, he said, to lower the public's expectations. He said that Americans admired the UK because it didn't spend too much money on elections. He was complimentary about the British media too, calling news programmes "sober" and "clear-minded". But the compliments came with a sting in the tail. For all these institutions, he said, Britain still made the "same stupid decisions".

  32. How to value the mansion tax?

    Daily Mail political correspondent

  33. UKIP candidate apologises over remarks

    Yasmin Alibhai-Brown
    Image caption: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown says she gives the apology no credence at all

    A UKIP parliamentary candidate has "apologised unreservedly" for posting offensive remarks about female journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown on an online forum.

    John Leathley used sexually-suggestive language about the British Muslim journalist during her appearance on Question Time in November last year.

    "I am very sorry and regret deeply being so coarse, it is out of character but no more excusable for that," he said.

    Speaking to the Mirror Online, Ms Alibhai-Brown said: "If this is what people who go into public life are going to be like then God help us. I saw the apology and of course I'm not going to give any credence to it at all."

  34. A big fight for the blue team

    David Cameron has denied suggestions that Boris Johnson has been underused in the campaign. He was asked about the involvement of the London mayor when the two men appeared together at an event in Hendon.

    Mr Cameron said: "Boris has been helping in the most positive way possible. You can see today. People always long to write that there is some kind of dreadful competition... there is not actually, we work very closely together and he gives me great support."

    He was also asked whether he and Samantha had warned their children they may need to move out of Downing Street, He replied: "They know that this is a close election, they know that Daddy is in a big fight for the Blue team, but we will deal with consequences when the consequences have to be dealt with."

  35. Donors give parties £1.6m

    Donations to the Conservatives, Labour, Lib Dems, UKIP and the Greens in week four (27 April to 3 May) of the election campaign topped £1.6m, according to the Electoral Commission. This is how they broke down:

    - Conservatives: £1,368,450 (including £20,000 from the Duke of Bedford, whose family seat is Woburn Abbey)

    - Labour: £131,242 (a little over £48,000 came in two donations from trade unions, the rest coming in four donations from individuals)

    - Liberal Democrats: £89,000

    - UKIP: £7,896 (one single donation from Bown Properties Ltd, an estate management company based in Kent)

    - Green: £10,000 (a single donation from Roger Manser, founder of the steel newsletter, Steel Business Briefing)

  36. Newsnight seat forecast

    Newsnight seat forecast

    The Tories, still well short of a majority, have extended their lead by one seat over the long weekend. Labour are down three, and the SNP - having surged past the 50 mark for the first time last week - have added another two seats.

    For the course of the general election campaign, Newsnight each evening will be publishing an exclusive Newsnight Index on the likely outcome, based on a sophisticated forecast model.

    It is produced by Dr Chris Hanretty from the University of East Anglia and his colleagues at electionforecast.co.uk. For more information on how the Index is produced, see here.

  37. 'Perfect storm'

    BBC News Channel

    Torcuil Crichton

    Torcuil Crichton, Westminster editor of the Daily Record, is explaining the SNP's popularity to the BBC's Ben Brown.

    Quote Message: "It's a perfect storm of anti-austerity, anti-politics, the whiplash back from the referendum when people voted with their heads against the economics of independence but in their hearts now feel patriotic Scots."
  38. Protesters 'crossed the line' - Sturgeon

    BBC News Channel

    Of the SNP members suspended after disrupting a protest in Glasgow, party leader Nicola Sturgeon said they "crossed the line".

    "We have today suspended two members - I should say two out of our 110,000 members - who were involved in a protest that I think crossed the line yesterday in Glasgow," she says.

    "We will condemn, we will take action where that is appropriate because I will never ever condone action that I think falls short of the democratic standards we should all expect."

    Ms Sturgeon says all politicians should be able to take their case to the public without abuse.

  39. Snip, snip

    Radio presenter

  40. Miliband in Bedworth

    Ed Miliband
    Image caption: Friendly faces greet Ed Miliband as he arrives at the Mayor's Cafe in Bedworth, Warwickshire
    Justine Thornton
    Image caption: He was accompanied by his wife, Justine Thornton
  41. Bingo in Broadstairs cancelled

    Robin Brant

    Political Correspondent

    The bingo betters of Broadstairs will be disappointed tonight - Nigel Farage has cancelled a visit to the Mecca bingo hall in what's been a slightly disorganised end to the penultimate day of campaigning.

    There's no four-town 48-hour tour for the UKIP leader. He's focused very much on the local push in Thanet South and winning here on Thursday. He started the day in Sandwich - safe to say the Tory heartland of the constituency.

    Yet again he found himself talking to a supporter who was worried about Islamist extremists and migrants coming across the Med. It seemed incongruous to hear about this from the streets of Margate or Sandwich but Nigel Farage insists these fears are genuine and he says he's not scared to talk about what he thinks should be a much bigger issue in this election. I'm told we are back at the bingo tomorrow for the last day on the trail.

  42. Time for electoral reform?

    Andrew Neil

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    Looking at calls for reform of the voting system - and potentially moving from First Past the Post (FPTP) to Proportional Representation (PR) - with UKIP’s Susanne Evans and journalist Peter Hitchens, who take opposing views. Jo Coburn also introduced a clip of the SNP's John Swinney, and spoke to guest Lord Heseltine for his view in a Daily Politics debate. Watch the debate

    Suzanne Evans and Peter Hitchens
  43. Who will win over battle-weary voters?

    Andrew Neil

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    The Daily Politics is touring the UK talking to voters at 18 locations and asking for their views on the general election. Tuesday's stop was in Nottingham with the Napoleonic Association, who re-enact the Battle of Waterloo.Watch the clip with reporter Giles Dilnot.

    Giles Dilnot talks to members of the Napoleonic Association in Nottingham about their voting intentions.
  44. SNP 'socially responsible' - Sturgeon

    BBC News Channel

    Nicola Sturgeon

    SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon is answering viewers' questions. Asked about the chances of a second referendum on independence, she says: "Even if the SNP win every single seat in Scotland, that would not result in another referendum." This election, she says, is about making Scotland's voice better heard in Westminster.

    On borrowing, she says, the deficit should fall - but not at the expense of pushing people into poverty. Her party is proposing an alternative to austerity not because "we are financially irresponsible but because we are socially responsible", she adds.

  45. Pick of the pictures

    Our picture editor Phil Coomes has compiled the best pics of the day here. This is our favourite.

    Boris Johnson and David Cameron
  46. One Direction trumped

    One Direction

    Ben Page, of Ipsos Mori, can give us no more insight into the outcome of the election ("too close to call" and "will go right up to the wire") but he has some other interesting points of make.

    - there are signs that voter turn out will be higher than in 2010

    - On certain days, election news on Twitter has trumped One Direction and Kim Kardashian mentions

    - Young people say they find out more election information on social media than any other news source, except the televised leaders' debates.

  47. More from Miliband on borrowing

    Here's a bit more from James Landale's (JL) interview with Ed Miliband (EM):

    JL: Would you spend more than the Conservatives plan to, yes or no?

    EM: Well I believe that we are not going to adopt the same kind of extreme spending cuts as them... so yes. They would cut spending more than us, of course they would.

    JL: Would you borrow a lot more than the Conservatives plan to?

    EM: No, I don't believe that, the experience of the Conservative Party...

    JL: The Institute for Fiscal Studies says very clearly that debt will be about £90bn more in 2019 if Labour's plans were implemented rather than the Conservative's plans? That is £90bn more debt.

    EM: Well, I don't agree with that.

    Read more here.

  48. Feeling lucky

    Political Correspondent BBC tweets

  49. 'Odd hiccup'

    Norman Smith

    Assistant political editor

    There's been the odd hiccup today (see Lucy Powell, vice-chair of Labour’s election campaign, comments in our 12:15 entry) and a heckler during a David Cameron speech at a Twickenham garden centre. But despite that, Labour and Conservative are still neck and neck, and that doesn't look likely to change. Attention behind the scenes is now moving towards what will be done in the event of a hung Parliament.

  50. Miliband on borrowing and his stone

    James Landale

    Deputy political editor

    Ed Miliband tells the BBC's James Landale that he does not believe Labour would end up borrowing more money than the Conservatives plan to, if he forms the next government.

    The Labour leader says he does not accept the assessment of the Institute for Fiscal Studies which has said that debt would be £90bn higher in 2019/20 if Labour's plans were implemented rather than the Tories.

    Mr Miliband also says his campaign vice chairman Lucy Powell was wrong to suggest his decision to carve his key policies in stone did not mean he was "absolutely not going to break them".

    And for the first time, the Labour leader acknowledged that he might not win an outright victory on Thursday by making clear that his plan to abolish non-dom status for foreigners would be non-negotiable in any post-election negotiations.

  51. Picture postcard

    Wish you were here?

    Conservative battle bus parked in St Ives, Cornwall
  52. Twitter predictor

    Computer scientists at the University of Warwick are using Twitter to predict the election outcome and say their forecasts could be more accurate than traditional opinion polls. Here's what they're predicting as we write:

    Screengrab of

    They tell us they are using an algorithm that harvests political tweets, aggregates various features about every party and then injects this information into conventional polling reports to predict voting shares.

    Apparently, they have already tracked the "surge" in SNP support and the "fluctuating fortunes" of UKIP.

  53. On the campaign trail

    BBC News special correspondent tweets

  54. Conservatives in Cornwall

    David Cameron speaking to party faithful in St Ives, Cornwall
    Image caption: David Cameron in a warm embrace from the party faithful in St Ives, Cornwall
    Notice in a shop front in St Ives, Cornwall, where David Cameron is speaking
    Image caption: But the welcome was less warm on one street, where a sign in a shop front asked passers-by: "Why vote Tory?"
  55. Editing on winding Cornish rounds

    BBC News senior producer covering the Conservative Election Campaign

  56. Second SNP member suspended

    Further fallout from yesterday's interrupted Labour rally in Glasgow. A second SNP member is suspended by the party. James Scott is under "administrative suspension", pending an investigation, says the SNP. Earlier, we told you Piers Doughty-Brown had been suspended (see 15:08 entry).

  57. Poll watch

    The Conservatives lead by two points in this week’s Ashcroft National Poll , conducted over the past weekend. The Tory lead is down by four since last week, with Labour unchanged on 30%. The Liberal Democrats are up two points at 11%, UKIP up one at 12%, the Greens unchanged at 7% and the SNP up one at 5%.

  58. All fired up

    Gordon Brown
    Image caption: Former PM Gordon Brown has been campaigning for Labour in Glasgow today
  59. Cameron in Twickenham and Hendon

    Carole Walker

    Conservative campaign correspondent

    David Cameron’s final non-stop 36-hour drive for votes began at a garden centre in Twickenham, south-west London - in the constituency of Vince Cable, one of the Lib Dem ministers he is hoping to oust from power. It was a lively start with a Scottish heckler objecting to the tone of Mr Cameron’s warnings of the dangers posed by the SNP, accusing him of racism. Security staff escorted the man away and the prime minister moved on to north London where he stuck to that core message of his campaign.

    At a high-tech office in Hendon he repeated those warnings about the dangers of a Labour government propped up by the SNP. No matter that Ed Miliband has ruled out a deal with the Scottish nationalists, Mr Cameron said Labour would be dependent on the votes of the SNP. He warned north London voters that their local rail and tube improvements would be in jeopardy with the SNP interested only in funding projects north of the border.

    The London Mayor Boris Johnson, who came along to rally support, weighed in with a vivid evocation of Alex Salmond with his feet up in Downing Street and a glass of pink champagne in hand, calling the shots for Ed Miliband.

    There were tough questions too about why voters should put their trust in a bunch of people who all went to the same school and look after their friends in the City. But most of the questions were about what Mr Cameron would do if he fails to win an outright majority, as the polls suggest. He refused to be drawn, insisting the real choice was between him or Ed Miliband as prime minister - a choice he said was between stability under his leadership or chaos under any of his rivals.

    It is a message he will be repeating today, tonight and tomorrow as he campaigns in many of the key marginal seats he needs to win if he is to win a second term in power.

  60. The rise of inequality

    Blog tweets

  61. 'Incredibly thin on promises' - Abbott

    BBC Radio 5 Live

    Shameless creator and writer Paul Abbott tells BBC Radio 5 Live's Afternoon Edition:

    Quote Message: I have to do a postal vote because I never know where I’m going to be. And I have. I’m kind of into the vote. There are times when I listen and I’d rather have ECT. There is no pulse and I find it incredibly thin on the promises. Everybody is grasping at every demographic, subculture in the last few days. They’re offering deals to everybody, I just find it so counterfeit. I just wish people would start telling the truth and accounting for it.”
  62. Out and about

    Political Correspondent for BBC East tweets

  63. Plaid 'going all out for best results ever' - Wood

    Labour has to move if it wants the support of Plaid Cymru in the event of a hung parliament, Leanne Wood tells the BBC.

    The Plaid Cymru leader says Labour shouldn't take their votes for granted and says her MPs stand in a good position to hold the balance of power after the election. Ms Wood also says they're going all out to record their best ever Westminster election result.

    Quote Message: We have a fantastic manifesto, a great team of candidates with activists working hard in key constituencies for us. I'm confident we'll improve our showing on last time. Let's wait until Friday when we see the results."
  64. Views on the streets of Sandwich

    Robin Brant

    UKIP campaign correspondent

    Nigel Farage in Sandwich

    Is there a threat from IS (Islamic State) on the streets of Sandwich?

    This was the question put to a man who stopped to talk to Nigel Farage in the Kent town today. He'd told the UKIP leader about his fears of 'Arabs' and extremists coming to the UK.

    It was the second time in as many days that a supporter had raised the issue off the cuff. Mr Farage spoke last week about what he sees as the dangers posed by Islamist extremists using the cover of migrants trying to cross the Mediterranean to get in to Europe and the UK.

    Today he said he can't believe the issue isn't bigger in this campaign. The Sandwich man conceded that he felt no direct threat in his town. (During a brief exchange I pointed out that the 7/7 bombers were British). But Nigel Farage believes these fears of people - UKIP supporters - in Margate and Sandwich are genuine and its something he's focusing on as vote day nears.

  65. SNP questions

    BBC News Channel

    At 5.30pm, SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon will be live on the BBC News Channel to take your questions on the party's policies.

    You can tweet questions to at #BBCAskThis -- or you can email video questions to YourPics@bbc.co.uk.

    That's at 5.30pm on the BBC News Channel.

  66. Packing furniture

    Political Correspondent at BBC tweets

  67. Weather report

    BBC Reality Check for the Election Campaign journalist tweets

  68. 'Fire in his belly'

    Shirt-sleeves rolled up, David Cameron is delivering an impassioned speech in St Ives, Cornwall, to the party faithful.

    He's urging supporters to remember who got hurt in the economic crash - it was hard-working, low-paid people, he says. "Labour hurt the many - and we will never let them forget it," he says. In these last two days, be proud of the plan we have put forward, he says, which is by far the most positive of them all. Once again, he promised the "good life" - more employment, training more apprentices, cutting people's taxes and building homes for local first-time buyers.

    He goes on to say "we really care about this part of the world" - the work on the railway line and on the A303, before asking: "Do you think anything south of Bristol would get a look in" if Labour is propped up by the SNP?

    The BBC's Jonny Dymond says despite a slightly croaky voice, the prime minister certainly had "fire in his belly".

  69. How newspaper readers vote

    Deputy political editor of the Times

  70. Add to the debate

    Text: 61124

    Henk:

    SMS Message: If you want to talk about democratic legitimacy, you need to discuss changing the voting system. With the First past the Post system most votes in this country are meaningless and lost. Insane and totally undemocratic!!!!
  71. Waiting for Osborne

    Political Editor, Newsnight tweets

  72. SNP suspend Glasgow protester

    Some news on yesterday's scuffles at a rally in Glasgow attended by Labour leader Jim Murphy and comedian Eddie Izzard. The SNP has suspended one of the protesters involved - party member Piers Doughty-Brown - while his actions are investigated, says Tim Reid, our Scotland political correspondent. The SNP says it had nothing to do with the protest.

  73. Fight hard

    Deputy Political Editor, The Telegraph tweets

  74. Welfare debate: Closing statements

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Welfare debate

    Time for the final pitches now from the parties' representatives on welfare...

    • Suzanne Evans of UKIP says the "Punch and Judy" show seen in Westminster has been "mirrored in the studio". She says the only way to "knock their heads together" is to vote for UKIP.
    • Jonathan Bartley of the Greens says "the money is in the wrong hands". He says a "proper safety net" means voting Green.
    • Iain Duncan Smith of the Conservatives says there's a simple choice - either continuing with the government's welfare reforms or "the rest coming together to spend more on welfare and borrow more and tax more".
    • Steve Webb of the Liberal Democrats says his party has helped reform pensions to ensure that savers get the benefit of their money. He says £12bn of welfare cuts is "unacceptable".
    • Rachel Reeves of Labour says "wages are down, insecurity is spreading and the welfare bill hasn't even fallen". She offers a better future that will get the economy "working for working people with a fair and affordable social security system".
  75. Positive coverage

    Whitehall correspondent at The Sun tweets

  76. Add to the debate

    Email: politics@bbc.co.uk

    Jim, Carnoustie:

  77. Food banks

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Welfare debate

    Next the debate moves on to jobs and prosperity. Rachel Reeves says this is the first parliament since the 1920s when living standards have fallen, not risen. But Iain Duncan Smith says the coalition inherited a “disaster” and that it’s spent the last five years fixing the problem.

    Is there really no connection between his policies and the rise in use of food banks, then? The reason for this was the “terrible recession we had”, he says, claiming there’s a “huge lag” which explains why food bank use is still high even though the economy is now recovering. The Greens’ Jonathan Bartley says benefit problems are the main reason for food bank usage.

  78. Email your comments

    Email: politics@bbc.co.uk

    Mike Richards:

  79. Evening Standard backs Conservatives

    London free newspaper

  80. Means-testing

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Rachel Reeves, Steve Webb and Iain Duncan Smith

    Child benefit was means-tested in the last parliament, Rachel Reeves points out. Why is it logical to do that and not the same for winter fuel allowance? Because pensioners are vulnerable, Iain Duncan Smith says. "They get very confused later on."

    The Greens' Jonathan Bartley says there are 1.6m pensioners in poverty for whom the present system just isn't "delivering". He proposes introducing a citizen's pension of £180 a week which would cost £26bn.

  81. In the courts?

    Westminster reporter, for The Northern Echo tweets

  82. Pensions debated

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Steve Webb

    Steve Webb says the state pension was allowed to erode by the link to prices for decades. That's now changed and should be written into the law of the land, the pension minister says.

    Rachel Reeves says it's "easy" to restrict winter fuel allowance, which will bring in an extra £100m or so to Treasury coffers. Iain Duncan Smith says it's important to see pensioners as a "vulnerable group" in their own right. But what about wealthy pensioners? "There needs to be a stability in belief about you being able to get those certain benefits," he says. Without that, he says, "the poorest don't claim".

  83. Smiles in Sandwich

    Douglas Carswell (second from left) and Nigel Farage (centre) in Sandwich, Kent
    Image caption: UKIP's Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell meet supporters in Sandwich, Kent, watched by the media
  84. 'Bedroom tax' debated

    Welfare debate

    Now it's time to look at the 'bedroom tax'. The problem, Rachel Reeves says, is that the changes are forcing out some people who have lived in the same home all their lives. The shadow work and pensions secretary says often it's the most vulnerable people who are affected. Two-thirds of those affected are disabled, she says.

    Suzanne Evans attacks Ms Reeves for making a distinction between forcing those who are in private housing to abide by the rules of the 'bedroom tax'. And then comes Iain Duncan Smith, who says 50,000 people have now moved as a result of the policy. It was introduced because of an "imbalance" that needed correcting, he says.

  85. £12bn welfare cuts

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Iain Duncan Smith

    Next on the Daily Politics' welfare debate, Iain Duncan Smith explains that the reason the Conservatives haven't provided any details about where their planned £12bn of welfare cuts over just two years because they haven't "done the work" on it yet. He says voters have a clear choice nonetheless. But Rachel Reeves challenges that. "It's very difficult for people to make that choice," she suggests, without any further details. The work and pensions secretary says:

    Quote Message: I don't say this is easy. But... we have to do this to get us back in line with where we were before the recession hit.
  86. Basic income

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Jonathan Barley

    Jonathan Bartley says a “simplification of the existing system” is what’s really needed. His proposal is for a basic level of non-means-tested income that will ensure everyone is removed out of poverty. Would even millionaires get this, then? Mr Bartley suggests that everyone gets the personal allowance right now – but Andrew Neil points out that you lose the personal allowance once you earn over £100,000. “In the longer-term benefit reforms, we have to move forward with a more simple system that gives people a basic subsistence level,” Mr Bartley says. This basic income would be about £80 a week, he says.

  87. Have your say

    Email: politics@bbc.co.uk

    Geoff Kegg:

  88. Kitchens and clothes

    More from Sandwich, Kent. Asked how well UKIP would do at the election, the party's candidate for Clacton, Douglas Carswell,says:

    Quote Message: “UKIP, despite everybody trying to talk us down over the last month or so, has been rock solid. It’s been a strange election campaign. We’ve tended to focus a bit more on the leaders' kitchens and what clothes their children are wearing, than issues like Steve Barrett and fishing."

    (Steve Barrett posted strong views on Facebook following the massacre at the Paris offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January.)

  89. Welfare debate heats up

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Welfare debate

    Steve Webb says the Liberal Democrats and Conservatives are now “divergent” looking ahead. In the past five years, he says the biggest difference over the last five years has been the issue of “people with spare bedrooms in council houses”. Rachel Reeves says the Lib Dems voted against the “bedroom tax” seven times and failed to do so.

    That's followed by a clash over housing benefit and the living wage between Ms Reeves and Iain Duncan Smith. There's a bit of a theme developing: Ms Reeves outlines Labour's plans and Mr Duncan Smith then complains the New Labour government had 13 years to make these changes - and didn't.

  90. 'Too far'

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Suzanne Evans

    UKIP’s Suzanne Evans says the Conservatives have gone “too far” with their benefits approach. She says “there is a middle way” as she agrees with the critics of the government’s welfare checks. “We should not be putting sensitive medical information… in the hands of private companies,” Ms Evans says.

  91. National security

    News from Sandwich, in Kent, where Nigel Farage is campaigning. The BBC's Robin Brant says the UKIP leader has been asked by a supporter about the national security threat from migrants from IS (Islamic State). Mr Farage told him it was huge issue and one he would be addressing with other leaders.

    He also joined a new centenarian on her birthday - sadly for him, though, she's voted Labour all her life, and will be voting Labour again on Thursday.

  92. Angry exchange

    BBC correspondent tweets

  93. Welfare suicides

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Iain Duncan Smith and Jonathan Bartley

    Jonathan Bartley of the Greens says, regardless of the motives, there is a "huge compassion deficit here", claiming that 60 people have committed suicide because of welfare reforms. Iain Duncan Smith questions that, saying it's a "scurrilous" point to make.

    "I am not prepared to accept the welfare changes... you cannot make allegations about individual cases... and say this is directly the result of government policy," Mr Duncan Smith says. Mr Bartley says he has no direct evidence of this - only that he's seen it reported that the government is carrying out a review on the issue. The work and pensions secretary says there's no such review taking place and calls Mr Bartley's allegation "cheap".

  94. Welfare motives

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Rachel Reeves

    Rachel Reeves begins by attacking Iain Duncan Smith's so-called bedroom tax and his policy of "not allowing tax credits to keep up with the rising costs of living". Is it Mr Duncan Smith's motives she doubts? "I don't want to make it personal," she says. But she says the Conservatives' motives are "wrong". Mr Duncan Smith responds by saying that under Labour there were one in five households where no-one was in work. That had to be "tackled", he says. His priority was to try to "improve the incentives" to get people back to work in a fair way.

  95. Welfare debate: Opening statements

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Welfare debate

    Time for the latest in the Daily Politics' series of election debates, covering welfare. Here's a summary of their opening statements:

    Labour's Rachel Reeves says Labour has a "better plan" for welfare that would be a "fair and affordable system there for you and your family". She says her party will uphold the principle of "something for something".

    The Liberal Democrats' Pensions Minister Steve Webb says his party is behind reforms which have helped improve pensions. "We need to remove some of the harsher elements of the system," he says, on benefit sanctions, and says disabled people should be treated with dignity.

    Work and Pensions Secretary Iain Duncan Smith says Labour's "something for nothing" system has been transformed. Now more people are in work than ever before, he says, while pensioners are £950 a year better off than they were in 2010. "With Conservatives, it pays to save and it pays to work."

    The Green Party's Jonathan Bartley pledges to scrap the bedroom tax, halt the implementation of Universal Credit and introduce a 'living wage' of £10 an hour. Benefit sanctions would be ended entirely, he says.

    UKIP's deputy chairman and manifesto author Suzanne Evans declares that the "current welfare regime" has produced "unjust outcomes" and needs to be ended. She says that child benefit should only be available for two children per family and wants "Atos-style capability assessments" to be scrapped.

  96. Labour's 'coalition discussion bluff'

    Sir Andrew Stunnell

    The former Liberal Democrat MP, Sir Andrew Stunnell, says Labour claimed during the 2010 coalition talks that the "nationalists would come along with them".

    Sir Andrew, a member of the Lib Dem negotiating team, told Radio 4's World At One that had the Lib Dems been able to reach a deal with Labour, a third party would have been required to create a workable coalition.

    Sir Andrew said: "We were told by the Labour negotiating team that we weren't to worry about that because the nationalists would come along with them."

    Quote Message: I have no idea whether that was just a bit of coalition discussion bluff or whether there was any substance to it."
  97. Losing weight on the campaign trail

    FT's deputy political editor tweets

  98. Get involved

    Email: politics@bbc.co.uk

    GL Hull:

  99. Clegg in Cardiff

    Nick Clegg

    Nick Clegg has been speaking on the latest leg of his final campaigning tour of Britain, his wife at his side. "If you want a stable, decent, united United Kingdom, you've got to vote for it," he says. "If you want to avoid the shambles of a second election before Christmas, you've got to vote for it." That gets lots of cheers from what looks like a (relatively) small audience. Mr Clegg is in Cardiff Central to help Jenny Willott, who is defending a majority of 4,576.

  100. It's on...

    Daily Politics presenter tweets

  101. Strength in weakness

    The Daily Telegraph

    A lot of the political rhetoric around hung parliaments has been of fear that they would produce instability – and even, as the Liberal Democrats’ latest warning shows, a second election before Christmas. Professor Anthony King of the University of Essex suggests there’s no need to panic.

    He claims in an article for the Telegraph that there are one or two advantages of a government not being able to do very much, either in its first 100 days or afterwards. “It might actually do good by doing nothing in particular,” he argues. A Labour minority, in particular, would actually hold the upper hand over its SNP supporters. “The SNP leadership talks loudly but in reality carries a broken stick,” Prof King argues.

  102. Shy Tories?

    The World at One

    BBC Radio 4

    When the Conservatives, led by John Major, had a surprise victory in the 1992 general election their success was partly put down to "shy Tories" - people who wouldn't admit their real voting intentions, even to pollsters.

    World at One presenter, Martha Kearney, asked head of political polling at Comres, Tom Mludzinski about the phenomenon. He replied that he wasn't sure if it was "fashionable" nowadays to say you were voting Conservative or Labour.

  103. Another election?

    Political Correspondent, Daily Telegraph tweets

  104. Another election?

    Nick Clegg

    There’ll be a second general election before Christmas if the Liberal Democrats aren’t in government, Nick Clegg is claiming. He’s suggesting one-party minority governments are doomed to fail: Labour would not be able to survive without granting full fiscal autonomy to the SNP, while the Conservatives would have to either slash aid spending, hold an EU referendum this year or buy DUP votes – all unacceptable moves, the Lib Dems claim. Here’s what Mr Clegg has to say:

    Quote Message: If they try to stagger through with a messy and unstable minority government instead of putting the country first then they will risk all the hard work and sacrifices people have made over the last five years. The last thing Britain needs is a second election before Christmas. But that is exactly what will happen if Ed Miliband and David Cameron put their own political interest ahead of the national interest.
  105. Turning up the volume

    Political editor of the Guardian tweets:

  106. Have your say

    Email: politics@bbc.co.uk

    Brian, Norfolk:

  107. £8bn for NHS "at the low end"

    The World at One

    BBC Radio 4

    Radio 4's The World at One has been investigating NHS funding. The head of the NHS in England, Simon Stevens, says the health service needs an extra £32bn a year by 2020 - with £22bn from efficiency savings and £8bn more from central government. Richard Murray, from the independent health think-tank, the King's Fund, tells the programme that £8bn sounds like a lot but it's actually "at the low end" of what the NHS needs.

  108. Warning: No polling booth selfies

    Polling stations

    Voting is not an entirely straightforward affair – and with people now thinking about the logistics of how they’re going to fit it into their day, the Electoral Commission has offered some advice. Its handy hints include:

    • Vote on time – polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm
    • Check your polling card so you know where you can vote
    • Hand in your postal vote if you haven’t had time to post it
    • Ask polling station staff if you need help on how to vote
    • Don’t take a picture of yourself inside the polling station as posting this could be a breach of the law
    Quote Message: This year’s elections will be a chance for voters to have their say on the issues that affect them. We don’t want anyone to miss out because they didn’t know what to expect on polling day. from Andrew Scallan, Director of Electoral Administration at the Electoral Commission
    Andrew Scallan, Director of Electoral Administration at the Electoral Commission
  109. There's more Daily Politics to come

    Andrew Neil

    Daily and Sunday Politics

    Coming up - the welfare debate. Andrew Neil and Alison Holt are joined by Conservative Iain Duncan Smith, Labour's Rachel Reeves, Lib Dem Steve Webb, UKIP's Suzanne Evans, and Green Jonathan Bartley, live on BBC Two from 2pm. It will be repeated on BBC Parliament at 9pm.

    Welfare debate graphic
  110. More from Twickenham

    Chief Political Correspondent for the Financial Times tweets

  111. Waiting for the big night

    Political Editor, BBC News tweets:

  112. Finding a way

    BBC News Channel

    Akash Paun

    Akash Paun of the Institute for Government think-tank says the worried conversations taking place five years ago about the potential chaos of coalitions were resolved because, “ultimately, politicians are pragmatic”.

    He says it’s the responsibility of parties and their leaders to “find a way to govern" in the event of a hung parliament, and adds that this means "one way or the other finding a way of working with each other”. Mr Paun, who is standing by the Thames on a rather breezy sunny day, adds that “the winds of change are blowing across Westminster quite literally right now”. The rise of the SNP doesn’t make the country ungovernable, he says. By the time of the Queen’s Speech, which will take place on 27 May, Mr Paun says it’s “probable” that “we’ll know the name of the prime minister at least”.

  113. Key quotes

    Vice-chair of Labour's general election campaign tweets

  114. Tea in Alnwick

    Sunday Politics presenter tweets

  115. Can Gordon Brown move Scotland?

    In the last days of the Scottish referendum campaign, Gordon Brown was credited with influencing public opinion with a rousing speech. Can the former prime minister pull it off again? He's been making a speech in Glasgow urging voters to reject the SNP and to join Labour's fight "to reach the mountaintop of social justice".

    And he said the election was "not just about the future of the UK but about the very existence of the UK".

  116. Out haired

    Tweet us @bbcpolitics

  117. 'Destructive and foolish'

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    George Galloway makes clear he’s not a fan of the SNP, but defends their right to have a say in the next parliament. He says:

    Quote Message: They will be legitimate members of the British parliament and we can’t have legitimate members of the British parliament being treated as second-class or a kind of untouchable. They have votes in the Commons like any other MP and they have the right to vote for or against anybody’s Queen’s Speech.

    Mr Galloway goes further, saying that he has no problem with Labour and the SNP combining to deny the Conservatives another five years in power. He adds:

    Quote Message: It would be a huge betrayal of the Labour movement and the British working people... to allow David Cameron into Downing Street to continue his wrecking campaign just because you don't like the Scottish National Party. That would be destructive and foolish.
  118. Hung parliament history

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Palace of Westminster

    Here’s a little factoid courtesy of the Daily Politics: If we do end up with a second consecutive hung parliament, it will be the first time this has happened since 1910.

  119. Get involved

    Text: 61124

    Professor Marty St. James, Guangzhou, China:

    SMS Message: What a comedy! So much for our ever efficient democracy. We are told we all have duty to vote, it's our right. I am on business in China and have never received my request from my council to a postal vote. Whatever happened to the use of modern technology in this election? So I will look on from afar and feel like a reincarnation of that 'don't vote former comedian' bloke. Or maybe I'll just sit and wait for the post to arrive in time for the next election in couple of months time!
  120. Galloway's 'casting vote'

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    George Galloway

    Respect Party leader George Galloway says he’ll stand for election as London mayor if he loses his seat in parliament. Not that he’s counting on that, though. “You’re probably talking to the man with the casting vote in the next parliament,” he says. “At least I hope so, and many other people do too.” He says that Respect are “real Labour” and predicts that Ed Miliband will be prime minister after the election.

  121. Bow Group backs tactical voting

    Daily Politics

    Live on BBC Two

    Ben Harris-Quinney

    Ben Harris-Quinney, chairman of the Tory-supporting Bow Group, is on the Daily Politics explaining why he’s calling for Conservative supporters to back UKIP in seats where that could help Nigel Farage’s party win extra MPs. He’s warned of "sleepwalking into a Labour government" without the tactic in a paper out now – you can read our story about the move here. After a rather long interview about his credentials it turns out he hasn’t impressed Michael Heseltine much. “What this guy is saying is completely incompatible with Conservative party policy.” Lord Heseltine dismisses Mr Harris-Quinney out of hand, saying: “This guy is of no account.”