Tweet of the Day
David Hughes (@DavidHughesPA) of the Press Association comments on Nick Clegg’s branding of a potential right-wing alliance: “Made up political word of the day: Blukip - what Nick Clegg has taken to calling the Tory right, Ukip and DUP.”
Picture of the Day
The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched a campaign to unseat the 38 MPs who broke the pledge they made, ahead of the last election, to oppose any rise in tuition fees. All 57 Lib Dem MPs signed up to the pledge with just 21 voting against a fee rise. MPs who abstained or were absent are also seen as having broken their pledge.
Rumour of the Day
Nick Clegg to quit if Lib Dems aren’t in government
The Times is reporting that Nick Clegg will step down from his role as party leader, if the Liberal Democrats are not in Government after the election. At their manifesto launch yesterday he positioned his party as the “sensible choice” in Government, also claiming that another coalition was inevitable. The Times quotes sources close to Nick Clegg, with one saying “His project is bringing the Lib Dems to government. If he isn’t in power I’d expect him to stand aside” and another told the paper “I can’t see him staying as leader if he’s not in Government.”
Connects’ preview of today’s debate
The Challengers Debate: A preview of what is to come tonight…
Tonight will see the ‘challengers’ debate take place with Ed Miliband due to appear alongside Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Nigel Farage and Nicola Sturgeon. After a solid but not entirely convincing performance in the seven-party debate, Ed Miliband knows the importance of the occasion, but also the risk it carries. It represents his best chance to connect directly with the electorate, something his aides believe is the best chance of boosting his approval rating. However, privately Labour aides and candidates have allegedly been raising concerns about his inclusion in the debate. They fear his appearance alongside three parties who are further to the Left than Labour will make him look like a ‘pro-austerity, establishment candidate’.
Nicola Sturgeon will look to build on her performance in the debates so far and position herself as the anti-austerity choice in Scotland. Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood will try to improve on their performance in the previous seven-way debate and are likely to talk up the idea of a “progressive alliance” between themselves and the SNP to distinguish themselves from Labour. Finally, Nigel Farage will be the ideological outsider of the debate. On the issues which UKIP lead on such as Europe and immigration, the party’s positions are notably different to the other ‘challengers’. He is likely to repeat his strategy of solidifying his base support by once again focusing on these polarising issues and the need to cut the deficit. Ed Miliband certainly has the most to lose in this debate, but a strong performance could provide another welcome boost to his personal ratings which have already risen over the short campaign.
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