Quiz time: which Parliamentary constituency includes the full names of two league football clubs?
— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) April 4, 2015
It’s Easter Sunday, and with the general election campaign now in full swing, David Cameron and Ed Miliband have used their festive messages to highlight the persecution of Christians.
In his video message, the prime minister said Easter was “time to reflect on the part that Christianity plays in our national life”.
“The Church is not just a collection of beautiful old buildings; it is a living, active force doing great works across our country,” he said.
“My thoughts are particularly with Christians in Syria, Iraq and other countries where the church suffers terrible persecution,” he wrote.
Nick Clegg also shared his Easter message on YouTube. The deputy prime minister called the holiday a time of reflection and renewal.
He said the values that Jesus lived his life by “compassion, humility and forgiveness, resonate with people of all faiths, and none.”
A Conservative government would aim to double the number of first-time buyers by 2020, George Osborne declared on Sunday.
Labour unveiled plans on Saturday to take the new ISA scheme for first-time buyers announced by Mr Osborne in the Budget and use it to finance wide-scale house building.
But Mr Osborne told the Sunday Telegraph he was determined to push even harder to open home ownership to more people.
“I think we can deliver a revolution in home ownership,” the Chancellor told the newspaper.
“In the next parliament I would like to see over a million more people helped into home ownership by a Conservative government.
“I would like to see us double the number of first time buyers up to half-a-million. That is the kind of level we saw in the 1980s.”
A leaked government memo, which claims SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon wants the Conservatives to win the general election, initially came from the Scotland Office, Secretary of State for Scotland Alistair Carmichael confirms to Channel 4 News.
Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood ordered an investigation into how the document, published in the Daily Telegraph, got into the public domain.
On Sunday, Mr Carmichael confirmed the memo came from the Scotland Office: “I understand that the memo in question did actually come from the Scotland Office, but these things circulate within government.”
Asked if the buck stops with him, Mr Carmichael added: “Of course as the Secretary of State for Scotland I am responsible for the Scotland Office, but you seem to be making some fairly substantial presumptions about the role of the Scotland office in this, that’s why we’re having a proper inquiry.”
Ms Sturgeon denies the claims.
Update 21 Oct 2015: the full interview with Mr Alistair Carmichael has been published below.
Ed Miliband had hoped to come across to voters as a “happy warrior” in the TV leaders’ debate, according to speaking notes left behind in a dressing room.
The phrase – originally from a Wordsworth poem but often used by US politicians including Barack Obama – was among the motivational messages and prepared answers to likely questions published by The Sun on Sunday.
Other reminders for the Labour leader’s only chance to take on David Cameron directly during the campaign included turning negative comments into positive messages, remaining “calm … never agitated”, to “relish the chance to show who I am” and talk to the camera to “use the people at home”.
Among the notes were several ripostes that he deployed during the two-hour clash between seven party leaders, such as urging voters to “use their vote as a weapon to fight for the NHS, by kicking Mr Cameron out of Downing Street” when challenged over wanting to “weaponise” the health service.
Labour activist, Mark Ferguson of the LabourList website, said it was “pretty unforgivable” for someone to have allowed the notes to be left behind – but insisted some of the contents could be seen as “endearing”.
It’s all creature comforts for the electioneering party leaders. In an Easter special – David Cameron posed with a rather fetching newborn lamb in Oxfordshire.
Last week Nick Clegg met Humpty the hedgehog in Solihull.
We’re waiting to find out what political animals we’ll be treated to next.