Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosts a debate from the Birmingham on what issues are important to voters from ethnic minority.
Krishnan Guru-Murthy hosts a debate from the Birmingham on what issues are important to voters from ethnic minority.
The focus on ethnic minority voting trends is often on the Tories and their failure to connect with BME voters. But there are signs that all is not stable in every part of Labour’s ethnic minority vote.
Look at the graphs for voter identification and you see voters of Afro-Caribbean and African background still pretty staunchly Labour – in these communities the problem for Labour is voter registration levels.
In the Pakistani community you see a drop off in identification with Labour after the Iraq war and then a stabilsing or levelling off.
But look at the Indian community and you see a very different graph. Identification with labour drops off after 1997 and in an almost equal decline does the same again from 2010 to 2014.
This is the sort of graph you would expect to see if a core vote was showing signs of crumbling.
Around 15 million people will get the chance to take three days’ paid leave a year to volunteer, under plans unveiled by David Cameron.
Revisiting the Big Society theme prominent in the 2010 election, the prime minister said the move would “strengthen communities”.
It will apply to employees of firms with at least 250 staff – an estimated 10 million in the private sector and five million in the public sector.
However companies will not be forced to organise paid time off for employees, Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said on Friday.
Mr Pickles indicated that workers who want to take paid leave to volunteer will have to be flexible with the time off promised by the prime minister if it causes problems to their company.
But Labour raised concerns about the cost.
Shadow minister Lisa Nandy said: “Giving every public servant three extra days off could cost millions of pounds but there’s no sense of how it will be paid for. If just half of public sector workers took this up it would be the time equivalent of around 2,000 nurses, 800 police and almost 3,000 teachers.”
The Telegraph is reporting that the Conservatives do not intend to commit to meeting the Nato target of spending 2% of national income on defence.
Defence chiefs and MPs from the right of the Conservative party have lobbied the Prime Minister hard to make the commitment. Barack Obama has also urged Mr Cameron to commit to the 2% figure.
The paper says a “well placed source” has said that they will not make such a commitment when they unveil their election manifesto on Tuesday.
Senior military figures, including General Sir Richard Shirreff, the British officer who until last year was Nato’s deputy commander in Europea and General Lord Dannatt, the former head of the Army have reacted with disappointment at the story.
Ukip have been quick to jump on the suggestion that the Conservatives will not meet the pledge. Patrick O’Flynn, the party’s economic spokesman, suggested that defence spending should be prioritised over foriegn aid.
He added: “Despite his party’s failure to pledge 2% of GDP for defence, I shall not be claiming Michael Fallon plans to stab Britain in the back.”
Yesterday Michael Fallon, the defence secretary, dodged questions about committing to the 2% pointing to next week’s manifesto and the fact he will be speaking again about defence today. We’ll bring you his reaction to the Telegraph claims when he speaks.
Among today’s pledges the one that is most likely to cut through to the voting, or at the very least, the commuting public is on train fares.
It is not a completely new idea – the Conservatives have been capping the rail fares at the rate of inflation for the last few years – but it will be welcome to commuters already shelling out what the transport secretary describes as a “King’s Ransom” to get to work.
Toady the Mr Cameron will say that under the Conservatives rail fares will be frozen for the whole of the next parliament. It means season ticket prices will increase by no more than the rate of inflation and will apply to London’s buses and tubes.
It is likely to appeal to workers and families in the home counties – the Conservatives say the move will benefit a quarter of a million annual season ticket holders, and save them an average of £400 over the five years from 2015 to 2020.
However Labour say the promise is unfunded and say that the transport secretary himself said such a commitment would cost £1.8 billion.
The Lib Dems have made a pitch for generation rent this morning. As increasing numbers of young professionals put off their dreams of owning a house many are struggling to pay exorbitant deposits on expensive rented properties – often a month or two of rent.
The Lib Dems are proposing offering loans to help young people renting pay their deposit. Mirroring the coalition’s house buying scheme the Libs are calling this offer “Help to Rent.”
Under the scheme young people aged 18 to 30 could get a government loan of up to £1,500, or £2,000 in London to help them get their feet on the renting ladder.
Mr Clegg said: “You’ve got this generation that is sometimes called “the clipped wing generation”, or “the boomerang generation”, of an increasingly large numbers of youngsters – I think the estimates are now about two million people in their 20s and 30s – who simply can’t find the money needed for a deposit to rent a flat or home of their own.”
However, like the other announcements this morning – today has already been branded “Freebie Friday” – it is unfunded.
The heath secretary has been asked whether the Conservatives plan to make a commitment to 2 per cent spend of national income on defence after reports that the party do not intend to the make the pledge in their manifesto next week.
Questioned on Radio 5 live he dodged the question saying that Britain has has been one of the biggest contributors in the EU to Nato.
Nicky Campbell points out that Mr Hunt’s father was a rear-admiral. The health secretary admonishes him: “He was a full admiral”.
Ed Miliband’s love life, or at least the love life he had before meeting his wife Justine, has been splashed all over the national papers today.
The Labour leader’s wife Justine gave an interview yesterday where she talked about the first day she met Mr Miliband – at a dinner given by his then girlfriend.
The comments have sparked a search for who this mystery girlfriend would be and an “expose” of Mr Miliband’s complicated love life pre-Justine.
Except it mainly amounts to the fact that he had other girlfriends. Then he met Justine and got married. End of story.
Business bodies are split over the Conservative plans to compel businesses to allow their staff to volunteer.
The Institute of Directors says that the policy is not thought through and not in the “spirit of philanthropy”. Instead it warns that it will put pressure on already squeezed public services.
Simon Walker, director general of the IoD, said: “This announcement not only undermines the Tory record on reducing business regulation, it also puts additional pressure on public sector employers, and ultimately the taxpayer. Frankly, the essence of volunteering is that it is voluntary.
“The IoD would welcome proposals to incentivise and make it easier for companies to facilitate volunteering, but it has to be a choice.”
However the CBI welcomed the annoucement. John Cridland, the CBI director general said it was a “win-win”.
He said: “Businesses encourage their employees to volunteer in the community and should do even more to increase this. It is a win-win for everyone concerned.”
Under the plans, the working time regulations will be amended to make clear people are entitled to 28 days’ paid holiday and three days’ paid volunteering or serving as a school governor. However critics have questioned how organisations such as the NHS could cover three extra days’ holiday for their consultants and nurses and other workers when services are already under pressure.
Meanwhile the Institute of Economic Affairs doesn’t like the plans to freeze rail fares.
Director Mark Littlewood said:: “The decision to ‘cap’ rail fares to inflation-only increases is severely misguided. As it is, price controls on rail fares have led to severe overcrowding on certain routes and at certain times, whilst rail companies are prevented from offering more flexible fares to tempt customers into changing their travelling habits and ease congestion.”
TUC General Secretary Frances O’Grady says that “trade unions are the UK’s biggest voluntary groups”. She said: “The TUC has long called for a Community Day Bank Holiday to encourage volunteering and community engagement. We therefore welcome any move that makes employers recognise the benefits of volunteering and social action. “Trade unions are the UK’s biggest voluntary groups. This new right will give every union member a guaranteed three days for time off to get involved with union activities.”
.@NickBolesMP The answer is simple – someone who would restore relations with Russia.
— Alexander Yakovenko (@Amb_Yakovenko) April 10, 2015
Michael Crick is with miniature pigs David Hameron, Ed Swiliband, Nigel Forage & Pork Clegg as they prepare for the real election battle of the day: the Ham Stakes race at Pennywell Farm Devon close to where David Cameron will be campaigning this morning.
We’ll bring you more on who comes out on top soon.
Miniature pigs David Hameron, Ed Swiliband, Nigel Forage & Pork Clegg ready for Ham Stakes race, Pennywell Farm Devon pic.twitter.com/xw6zTnxCvE
— Michael Crick (@MichaelLCrick) April 10, 2015
Meanwhile David Cameron has arrived in Plymouth.
The defence secretary is speaking at the Royal United Services Institute where he defended his comments about Ed Miliband stabbing his brother David in the back.
The TUC seemed delighted this morning that their members could use the three days to volunteer for union activities.
A Conservative spokesman has tried to kaibosh this saying that acceptable volunteering “definitely won’t include trade unions”.
The TUC criticises the idea of an “approved state list of volunteering opportunities”.
So what does count as volunteering and who can you actually help on your days off?
And George Osborne is clad in orange showing off his blue-collar credentials yet again in Glamorgan this morning. Although they don’t quite beat yesterday’s “one of the lads” car mechanic pictures.
— George Osborne (@George_Osborne) April 10, 2015
Ed Miliband has claimed the Conservative general election campaign is descending into “desperation and panic”, after David Cameron unveiled plans to freeze commuter rail fares in real terms and offer workers three paid days off for volunteering.
In his first Scottish campaign trip the Labour leader accused the Tories of deploying personal abuse and “unfunded and unbelievable promises”.
Speaking in Edinburgh, he says Nicola Sturgeon’s plan for full fiscal autonomy for Scotland would leave a £7.6bn gap in the public finances north of the border. He is also attacking austerity, a topic he avoids in Westminster in the face of Conservative accusations of reckless spending plans.
His comments came as a clutch of polls suggested the opposition was taking a slight advantage from the first 10 days of campaigning and that Mr Miliband’s own personal rating was on the up.
Labour vow that the child sex abuse inquiry will be extended to cover Northern Ireland if they win in May.
Yvette Cooper, Labour’s shadow home secretary, said that the Government’s child sex abuse inquiry will be extended to cover Northern Ireland if Labour wins the election.
She said that under a Labour government the current inquiry will be allowed to explore allegations that children were trafficked between Belfast and London.
Earlier this week a Kincora abuse victim from Northern Ireland told Channel 4 News how he was also abused at London’s Elm Guest House and Dolphin Square at the hands of “very powerful people”.
Richard Kerr’s harrowing account of what happened to him as a boy links three of the most notorious locations of historic child abuse for the first time – Dolphin Square, a luxury complex, popular with MPs and civil servants; Kincora Boy’s Home in Belfast, where boys were systematically abused and Elm Guest House, a former gay brothel where children are also said to have been molested.
Earlier this month Channel 4 News brought Mr Kerr to England from America, with his counsellor, to revisit his past. On being back in London for the first time, he tells reporter Cordelia Lynch he feels “very emotional, very painful. I’m scared.”
David Cameron confused a Devon cream tea for a Cornish cream tea, risking the wrath of Devonians when he declared that “it all tastes the same”.
When tucking in to a cream tea in Devon you put the cream on the scone then the jam in a messy dollop. Further west it isCornwall it is the other way around.
Indulging in a scone in Tew Cafe in Barnstaple, Devon Mr Cameron immediately said: “When you are in Devon you do the jam and the cream in a different order to Cornwall, is that right?”
“I’m going to get this wrong, aren’t I?”
And he did.
“In Devon it’s… jam first and cream on top?” he said, to the disappointment of the Devonian staff. “Wrong way round. I knew I’d get it wrong,”
Michael Crick is in Devon at the Ham Stakes race at Pennywell Farm Devon. He and producer Tim Bouverie have been watching David Hameron, Ed Swiliband, Nigel Forage and Pork Clegg racing this morning.
The farm, which holds regular pig racing events, decided to stage the run as the election starts to heat up.
The four miniature pigs, dressed in their respective parties’ colours, lined up on this sunny Devon morning. While Ed Swiliband started well, he paused at the first gate allowing Nigel Forage to quickly overtake him.
Pork Clegg was quick to shed his yellow Liberal Democrat colours and David Hameron also lost his shirt. Unencumbered, both gave chase on Nigel Forage. Meanwhile Ed Swiliband became rather distracted by an interesting patch of grass.
Tune in tonight at 7pm on Channel 4 to find out who came out on top.
If you use the hashtag, the party logo appears next to the tweet.
Nick Clegg has suggested that he would consider new laws allowing childless couples to pay women to be surrogate mothers.
The deputy prime minister said Britain should learn from controversial laws in California where commercial surrogacy deals have been legalised.
Speaking to the PinkNews website, he said it could help same-sex couples yearning to start a family. “Families come in all different shapes and sizes – and there will almost certainly be more and more gay couples considering adoption or surrogacy in the future.
“It’s great that so many gay couples are looking to start a family, and government should support these couples as much as possible.
“I agree this is an area that needs further investigation. We should be learning from the experience of couples who have used surrogacy, and looking at how full legalisation has worked in places like California.”
British laws currently prevent anyone from paying a woman to have their baby or drawing up a binding contract with a surrogate.
Tim Bouverie, our political producer, is in Devon with David Cameron. He reports:
David Cameron is once again touring a series of Lib Dem seats in Devon. This is becoming a major theme of the Conservative campaign – they have clearly calculated that they are unlikely to take sears of Labour but rural Lib Dem seats are ripe for the picking.
The Conservative campaign has hit some bumps – today they are coming under fire over appears to be two not entirely costed policy announcements.
Meanwhile at the Pennywell Farm in Devon the people we spoke to, even some Conservative voters, felt that the mudslinging should stay in the pig pens and out of the election campaign.
Last night Diane James said that she admired Vladimir Putin “from the point of view that he’s standing up for his country”, the fact he is “very nationalist” and because he is “a very strong leader”.
She said he is “putting Russia first and he has issues with how the EU encouraged a change of government in the Ukraine, which he felt put at risk and put in danger a Russian population in that country.
The Ukip leader, who has attracted critism in the past for saying that the Russian president is the world leader he personally most admires, defended her comments.
He told journalists at a campaigning event in Manston, Kent: “What she said was that he stands up for his country. He undeniably stands up for his country. But I think we’ve got to a point where he maybe poses us potentially a bit of a threat.
“Which takes us back to the defence argument. Why will no one else commit to spending just 2% of our national income on defence? It seems to me that it’s vital that we do so.”
Launched in 2010, the brainchild of Steven Hilton, the Big Society was on the lips of every Conservative politician in 2010. The flagship of the manifesto and after the coalition were formed, the Big Society Bank and the Big Society Network were launched.
By 2014 the Big Society Network was put into administration. By this time David Cameron had stopped using the phrase (he stopped in 2013) and it was no longer used in government documents.
In fact as recently as this week Michael Gove, the chief whip, said that Big Society was no longer a description the government would use.
Which is why commentators are surprised at its resurrection less than a month before polling day. Some argue that after a few days of aggressive campaigning the polls are indicating that the public are being turned off by personal attacks, while others say that the Conservatives need a “nice” policy to match Labour’s extremely popular plan to scrap the non dom tax (59 per cent of the public back it).
Either way today’s announcements on volunteering are an attempt to breathe life into a widely mocked agenda with the prime minster describing the policy as the “clearest demonstration of the Big Society in action”. Watch from 10 mins in:
— Ian Katz (@iankatz1000) April 10, 2015
David Cameron has donned this sleeveless number to inspect the new railway in Dawlish.
PM manages to carry off the high viz/hard hat look – not sure how many votes in it though pic.twitter.com/tPLy7AXQa8
— Carole Walker (@carolewalkercw) April 10, 2015
David Cameron has told Sky that he doesn’t really know Ed Miliband, but thinks he is profoundly wrong.
He said: “I don’t really know him to be honest. We face each other across the dispatch box at prime minister’s questions, but we have a very profound disagreement about the way to run our country.
“I say stick with the plan – that’s delivering the jobs and the growth. He has opposed every single step that we took to put that plan in place. He opposed every efficiency; every change to welfare; every reduction in taxes; our plan to allow people to buy their own home.
“He has opposed every step, so I think he’s profoundly wrong. And I think that will be the wrong team and the wrong person to run our country. And in the end whether you call it personal or not, elections are about choosing the team to take the country forward.”
Meanwhile Ed Miliband appears quite pleased with how the recent days of campaigning have been playing out.
Liz Truss, the environment secretary, is out “cutting caulis” with a “cauli expert”, less cue than Tuesday’s lamb and Wednesday’s calf but suitably rural.
— Elizabeth Truss (@trussliz) April 10, 2015
Meanwhile The Daily Telegraph have produced a fool proof guide on how to properly eat a cream tea to avoid any blushes on your summer holiday.
Michael Crick has been speaking to the prime minister on his journey back from Devon. He asked him whether he and his party looked like “arrogant public school bullies” over recent personal attacks on the Labour leader.
Mr Cameron responded: “For heaven’s sake, Michael … I haven’t met anyone who takes that view.”
“Frankly, the point about Ed Miliband – really to say he stabbed his brother in the back is hardly adding to the political lexicon of Britain. It is a point that has been made by almost everybody else including many people in the Labour party.”
Asked if he thought Mr Miliband was a “decent man”, (the Labour leader described Michael Fallon as a decent man even though he had called him a backstabber) the PM replied: “I don’t really know Ed Miliband that well. All I would say is that his political ideas are the wrong ideas.
“All the things we did to get the country back on track … every single dot and comma he opposed. “This isn’t an election about whether he is decent chap or not. The question is who has got the right team and the right ideas to take the country forward?”
A Labour Party candidate in Ceredigion has apologised “wholeheartedly” for suggesting Tippex be thrown over cars displaying English flags.
Huw Thomas, in 2006, said that he refused to buy English flags as he was “neither a simpleton nor a casual racist”.
Mr Thomas even attacked shops for selling flags and “making the situation worse”.
He says that shops were selling the flags during the 2006 World Cup to “cash in, using special offers and social pressure to create a fake group mentality – Nationalism Asda style!”
Writing during the tournament nine years ago he said: “Having said this, I had the opportunity, when I had the opportunity to buy an England flag for half price in WH Smith, Oxford, to answer with the phrase: ‘Since I am neither a simpleton nor a casual racist I must decline your offer’. Poor ‘Stacey’ didn’t know where to look.”
In a statement on Friday, Mr Thomas said: “I apologise wholeheartedly for these comments, made while I was a young student. These are not my views now and I deeply regret writing this post online.
“Every candidate at this election will have gone through a political journey. Most will have said or thought things when they were young and at university, college or school that they now regret. This is certainly the case for me.”
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has been promoting the story while Conservative MP Bob Neill said that Ed Miliband should sack him as a candidate.
Last year Emily Thornberry resigned from the Labour front bench after posting a tweet of a white van parked on a drive in Rochester in the shadow of three England flags. Mr Miliband said that the tweet “conveyed a sense of disrespect”.
.Had various bits removed so walking very oddly! The staff at Queen’s are excellent and thoroughly professional. Well done #NHS!
— Michael Fabricant (@Mike_Fabricant) April 10, 2015
Get well soon @Mike_Fabricant
— Guido Fawkes (@GuidoFawkes) April 10, 2015
— Tim Stanley (@timothy_stanley) April 10, 2015
Labour Monday, conservatives Tuesday, Ukip Wednesday and we are still waiting for the Liberal Democrats to decide on a day.
The Greens in the Basingstoke constituency are smarting today after the local returning officer refused to let them run two joint candidates in the election – to become the local MP as a job share.
The party was told this morning that their joint candidature had been rejected against against the rules.
The Greens had nominated Sarah Cope, a 36-year old mother who is the primary carer for her two young children. She had teamed up with Clare Phipps, a 26-year old PhD student who is disabled.
Permitting people to be elected as MPs in job-shares has been Green policy since 2012.
Sarah Cope says: “Allowing job-share MPs would open up Parliament to a much more diverse group of people, including more women, those with childcare and other caring responsibilities and those with disabilities.”
The returning officer’s decision means the Greens will be without a candidate in Basingstoke, where the former Culture Secretary Maria Miller is defending the seat.
After a whirlwind week of campaigning which has taken him to every corner of the country the Prime Minister is brought back down to earth by the British Parliamentary system tonight, Tim Bouverie reports.
This evening Mr Cameron will be giving us a poignant reminder that we have a parliamentary system, not presidential like America. and because of this even as Prime Minister he will still have to do his own constituency hustings in a church hall in Witney, Oxfordshire. No cameras are allowed but you can hear the PM and the other candidates on Radio Oxford, if you happen to be in the area.
And now for the big reveal! The winner of today’s political pig race – between David Hameron, Ed Swiliband, Pork Clegg and Nigel Forage – won it by a snout.
Watch the video to see who won:
The SNP will be taking heart from polls suggesting they could “wipe out” Labour in Scotland – but what is the truth behind the number?
Gary Gibbon looks at the impact of tactical voting.