Ed Miliband warns of a “financial bombshell” that means most English hospitals face having to cut staff, beds and services this year.
A “cash crisis made in Downing Street” is putting severe strain on the NHS and will mean major budget cuts in the coming months, the opposition leader has claimed.
Leaked documents indicated two-thirds of trusts are expected to be in the red by the close of the financial year, according to Labour.
Mr Miliband said: “Britain faces a clear choice on Thursday: between a Labour government that will put working people first – or a Tory government that will only ever work for the privileged few.
“There is no bigger choice at this election for everyone in our country than the future facing our National Health Service.
“Right now, our NHS is in grave danger because David Cameron has broken his promises on the NHS.”
Responding to Mr Miliband’s claims, a Conservative spokesman said: “NHS providers say hospital deficits have been caused partly by the decision to hire more staff to avoid a repeat of Mid Staffs and other hospital tragedies that happened under the last Labour government.
“Yet today, for the second election in a row, Labour is refusing to give the NHS the budget it is asking for, unlike the Conservatives, who have committed to the full £8bn.
“Without that support Labour are once again risking a repeat of the very tragedies that scarred the NHS when they were last in charge.”
Green Party MPs would “give Ed Miliband a spine” over climate change by any minority Labour administration, Natalie Bennett will say today.
With just two full days of General Election campaigning left, she will urge voters to help boost the party’s Westminster influence – after it secured its first MP in 2010.
“Green MPs will do all they can to stop a Tory government taking office, but if they do get back in you can rest assured that Green MPs will be on their case, holding them to account and exposing their shortcomings,” she will say at a campaign event in Cambridge.
“But, with a Labour minority administration looking increasingly likely, you’ve got a chance to elect a strong group of Green MPs who can have an effective influence on Ed Miliband on climate change – including issues like fracking, home energy efficiency and breaking up the influence of the big six energy companies.”
Political leaders will embark on a frenetic final 48 hours of campaigning as they desperately seek to secure a decisive breakthrough with voters at Thursday’s General Election.
With polling stations open in just two days for one of the most finely-balanced contests in living memory, they will tour the country to push key messages in a bid to move stubbornly-deadlocked polls.
The latest YouGov survey for The Sun showed the Conservatives and Labour tied on 3 per cent, Ukip on 12 per cent, the Liberal Democrats 10 per cent and the Greens 5 per cent.
On the day that The Independent surprised commentators – and their own employees – by plumping for a Conservative led coalition we take you through which papers have backed which party.
Independent – Conservative-led coaltion
A hung parliament is certain this week. For all his talk of no deals with the SNP, Miliband is bound to rely on that party to get his legislative programme through. This would be a disaster for the country, unleashing justified fury in England at the decisive influence of MPs who – unlike this title – do not wish the Union to exist. If that were to be the case while Labour were the second biggest party either in terms of vote share, or seats – or both – how could Labour govern with authority? They could not. Any partnership between Labour and the SNP will harm Britain’s fragile democracy. For all its faults, another Lib-Con Coalition would both prolong recovery and give our kingdom a better chance of continued existence.
This title casts no vote. But we prize strong, effective government, consider nationalism guilty until proven innocent, and say that if the present Coalition is to get another chance, we hope it is much less conservative, and much more liberal.
The Guardian – Labour
The Observer – Labour
Labour does not have all the answers. Far from it. But it is the only party which has correctly identified the task that faces our society. For that reason, it deserves to form the next government.
The Sunday Times – Conservatives
Tactics aside, a vote for the Conservatives this week offers the best chance of meeting our three priorities: political stability, continuity and a pro-business, pro-enterprise government that will provide more for working people than crass intervention and crude redistribution. The Conservatives have our endorsement.
The Sunday Telegraph – Conservatives
Labour offers socialism and chaotic government. David Cameron wants to build a strong future with common sense policies. We would urge our readers to back the Tories in this election
Financial Times – Conservative-led coaltion
At this delicate moment, the best outcome would be a continuation of the 2010 coalition between the Conservatives and Lib Dems. Mr Clegg’s party has proved a responsible partner in government. Tough decisions, such as the reversal of his party’s stance on university tuition fees, will hurt the party. The Lib Dems would be more awkward in a second term coalition. It is also far from clear whether they will have enough seats to be kingmakers with either the Tories or Labour.
Voters must decide not just on the party but also on the combination which would have the best chance of forming a stable, reform-minded government. The country would benefit from the countervailing force of Lib Dem moderation at Westminster. In seats where the Lib Dems are the incumbent or the main challenger, we would vote tactically for them.
Mail on Sunday – Conservatives
The contest is so tight our fate could be sealed by just a handful of votes in a few marginal seats.
Voters have a stark alternative: turn to Cameron for prosperity, security and unity; sharp turn left for profligacy and disarray.
The Mail on Sunday urges its readers to make the right choice – for all our sakes.
Express – Ukip
Ukip has been criticised as a Right-wing party. Yet for grass-root voters it represents the people Labour has long left behind: the backbone of Britain.
These are the people who, for idealistic reasons of their own might never contemplate voting Tory but who equally could not stomach Mr Miliband’s Labour government, in all likelihood propped up by the SNP.
The Sun (England, Wales) – Conservative The Scottish Sun – SNP
Economist – Conservative-led coalition
— The Economist (@TheEconomist) April 30, 2015
On May 7th voters must weigh the certainty of economic damage under Labour against the possibility of a costly EU exit under the Tories. With Labour, the likely partnership with the SNP increases the risk. For the Tories, a coalition with the Lib Dems would reduce it. On that calculus, the best hope for Britain is with a continuation of a Conservative-led coalition. That’s why our vote is for Mr Cameron.
New Statesman – Labour
We endorsed Ed Miliband in the 2010 leadership contest as the candidate most committed to breaking with New Labour and to effecting far-reaching political and economic reform. Mr Miliband has remained true to this vision while keeping his party unified. He has performed well in the election campaign, growing in confidence as a communicator as his personal ratings have improved. But his five years as opposition leader have revealed severe limitations and strategic weaknesses. He has never succeeded in inspiring the electorate and has struggled to define himself. His narrow rhetorical and ideological focus on political economy has left him unable to reach the aspirational voters required to build a broad electoral coalition.
The Spectator – Conservative
For this reason, the stakes could hardly be higher. It may be a wrench, and may involve more forgiveness than Mr Cameron is entitled to. But there really is more reason now than at any time in a generation to vote Tory.
The Mirror – Labour
The pinnacle of an Ed Miliband government will be saving the NHS, with thousands more doctors and nurses, and no more privatisation. That would be just the start. The disadvantaged and poor would be protected, ordinary people helped by improving living standards and the rich made to pay their dues. It is time to heal our great nation. For your sake, for Britain’s sake, it has to be Labour.
After securing an endorsement from Russell Brand, broadcasting to his 9 million plus followers Mr miliband has been interviewed by Louise of the Sprinkle of Glitter blog which has 1.2 million followers on twitter.
She said her interview was “weird and new” interviewing an “unusual guest”. She begins the chat with: “You might know who Ed Miliband is, I hope you do”.
David Cameron has endorsed comments from his work and pensions secretary in The Daily Telegraph this morning that a vote for Ukip is a “suicide note” which will “not be forgiven”.
The Mayor of London has jumped to the Prime Minster’s defence during a Q&A in which the Tories were accused of being all the same sort of people who went to the same schools and have links with banking families.
Boris Johnson, who is from Primrose Hill in North London, tells the crowd that he went to the same primary school as Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour party.
“You might as well talk about the sinister grip of Primrose Hill primary school on British politics. I don’t think the British public care about where you come from, what they care about what you are saying to the country and how you are going to take it forward”, he adds.
Mr Johnson went on to study at Eton and Oxford University with David Cameron. Ed Miliband went on to Haverstock school in Chalk Farm, north London and then to Oxford.
Elliot Nichols who was a former Tory councillor who defected to Ukip in March 2013, has now defected back.
He said his decision to come back into the Tory fold was an effort to recifty a “grave error of judgement” and that a vote for Nigel Farage’s party would increase the change of a Labour victory.
In a statement Elliot Nichols said: “Two years ago I left the Conservative Party and joined UKIP. I switched with high hopes. Since then events – especially in recent months – have convinced me that this was a grave error of judgement.
“I made a mistake – a big one – and today I am proud to rectify it.”
Ukip has paid for a double-page ad in the Daily Telegraph on the same day the paper’s front page claimed that voting for the party was like writing a “suicide note” for Britain.
The advert, across pages 2 and 3, was headlined “one thing affects everything” with an image of dominoes – with the first, ready to fall, branded “European Union” and and open letter from Nigel Farage.
According to a survey of 5,000 children by First News, a children’s newspaper 40 per cent of children would back David Cameron for PM. Just 22 per cent say they
prefer Ed Miliband.
Nick Clegg polled just 9 per cent of the vote, which, according to First News, would not see the coalition gain a majority.
Those votes in full:
David Cameron, Conservative: 40% Ed Miliband, Labour: 22% Natalie Bennett, Green: 18% Nick Clegg, Lib Dem: 9% Nigel Farage, UKIP: 6% Nicola Sturgeon, SNP: 4% Leanne Wood, Plaid Cymru: 1%
Boris Johnson says he went to the same school as Ed Miliband and the British people don’t care about where you come from, just what you are saying about the country.
The Lib Dems have resorted to some special election tactics this morning: quite impressive cookies and Newquay rock
Our producer Matthew Moore is with Alex Thomson in Scotland with Jim Murphy.
Jim Murphy says that Labour can “have the removal vans outside Downing Street, but only if we elect Scottish Labour MPs.”
Lucy Powell appears to have made rather a big gaffe on Radio 5 Live today telling voters that just becuase Ed Miliband has carved his pledges in stone, doesn’t won’t stop him from breaking them.
She says: “The point we are trying to make there is that Ed Miliband, who has been really clear about this throughout the campaign he stands by his pledges and his promises…
She adds: “I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that the fact that he has carved them in stone means that, you know, he’s absolutely not going break them or anything like that.”
You can listen to the excerpt here.
Not sure that is the exact message Mr Miliband intended with his 8 ft limestone pledge sculpture.
Gordon Brown has been giving a fiery speech in Glasgow where Alex Thomson reports his voice is “shaking with emotion, struggling to control the hair, pacing the stage – certainly fired up”.
He says that the SNP “DNA” understands nationalism not sharing and that they would put this before social justice.
While giving speech at a garden centre in Twickenham David Cameron is interupted by a heckler.
His words aren’t easy to make out but it’s a man with a Scottish accent shouting ‘come on SNP’ before he is removed from the room.
The Vice Chair of Labour’s General Election Campaign says that he full comments shows her meaning to be absolutely clear that under the Conservatives hospitals are in crisis, families worse off and food banks soaring. She adds that the overall meaning of what she was saying was the opposite of what she has been quoted.
Earlier today she said on 5 Live Radio: “The point we are trying to make there is that Ed Miliband, who has been really clear about this throughout the campaign he stands by his pledges and his promises…
She adds: “I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that the fact that he has carved them in stone means that, you know, he’s absolutely, you know, not going break them or anything like that.”
Nick Clegg is back in his party’s dwindling heartlands again, it feels like her has barely left Cornwall in the last three weeks.
Determined to hold on to as many MPs as possible here he is campaigning hard on the local issues.
I hadn't even thought of that! Forget foodbanks, workfare, pay cuts and the NHS, let's vote for no tolls on the Severn Bridge! @nick_clegg
— Susan (@marthasydenham) May 5, 2015
She say’s that it was but her words are pretty clear: ““I don’t think that anyone is suggesting that the fact that he has carved them in stone means that, you know, he’s absolutely, you know, not going break them or anything like that.”
The Conservative Party chairman Grant Shapps has taken the opportunity to take a pop at Ms Powell. He said: “£30,000 worth of limestone doesn’t change the fact that Ed Miliband will say one thing and do another.
“Labour’s campaign is crumbling thanks to Ed Miliband and bungling Lucy Powell – they’re just not up to the job”
Well that was peak Gordon Brown. A three-shredded wheat kind of performance. 48 hours out from polling day and he was making one last rallying cry to undecided voters. This time, he said, as a mere “footsoldier”.
One reporter described him as “thunderous”. He bounded around the stage like an old wisened, silver back, thumping each point home. To those thinking of casting their votes elsewhere, make no mistake Labour pledges were “undeliverable” without Labour MPs.
Taking aim at David Cameron, he accused the Tories of “whipping up English nationalism against Scottish nationalism” of having put the “Union on life support”.
Perhaps the most revealing moment of the day, was when Murphy was asked by colleague Alex about legitimacy:
“This thing about cooperation with the SNP, we’ll deal with that after the votes. But let’s be clear there will be no deal, no formal coalition with the SNP.” Did the besieged Labour leader just open the door to working with the SNP? Was it tiredness or the guard slipping?
Nicola Sturgeon has been doing a Mumsnet chat which she appears to be using to lovebomb the English.
Asked by an English reader who says they are bewildered by the idea that being pro-Scottish equals being anti-English.
She says: “There is not an anti English bone in my body. I am the grand-daughter of an English woman. I love England and her people and, regardless of politics, consider you to be family…and always will.” In another answer she says that she doesn’t take a vote for the SNP as an “endorsement for independence”.
She adds that her party will “not seek another referendum as a result of this election – no matter how many seats we win – I promise you that.
And how does she look so bright eyed and busy tailed all the time?
“Adrenalin, belief and, in my case, a daily dose of Berrocca Boost!!”
And her hair washing habits? “I’m a first thing in the morning, in the shower, kind of girl – for hair washing purposes!!”
She also had no problem, as Gordon Brown so famously did, plumping for her favourite biscuit.
“It’s an easy choice for me – Tunnock’s caramel wafer”.
In 1999 Alex Salmond was pictured feeding a girl a Solero ice cream on the banks of the river next to Stirling university.
The bizarre picture shows the former First Minister feeding the girl the ice cream without explanation and it sparked an online Buzzfeed campaign to find her.
However the Herald has beat them to it tracking her down in Australia.
Kate Adamson, 33, now lives in Melbourne with her two year old daughter. She is still an SNP supporter.
The paper reports:
Then 17, she recalls going along to Stirling University with her father, who was campaigning for the SNP in the inaugural Scottish Parliament elections in 1999, for “something to do”.
There, she was approached by a photographer who asked if she would be willing to have her picture taken with then-SNP leader Mr Salmond, who also happened to be on the scene. One of the snappers produced an ice lolly, and in her words, ‘Solero girl was born’.
She says: “The photographer said they needed someone wearing white – I’m not sure why or if that was even true. They asked me to stand near the tree and lots of photographers were shouting.
“It was strange to have so many photographers shouting instructions and as I was so young and perhaps a little naive I didn’t consider at the time what the outcome would be or what their intentions were.
“When the picture was published in The Sunday Herald they had a thought bubble over Alex Salmond’s head saying ‘there’s another sucker for a vote.’ At the time I thought it was amusing as I couldn’t even vote… It was definitely a lesson for me in trusting the integrity of the media and not believing everything you read or see online or in the papers. It taught me how news can often be manipulated.”
Neil Kinnock, the former Labour leader has spoken to the New Statesman ahead of the Thursday’s election.
He is the first senior Labour figure to admit that he doesn’t think Mr Miliband will win a majority – rather off message as Mr Miliband himself refuses to countenance anything else.
He told the magazine: “I think the most likely result is that Ed becomes prime minister and that he follows a fairly conventional course in the House of Commons. You gather majorities for specific issues, whether they are big statutory requirements, like the Queen’s Speech or the Budget – in some senses they are the easiest things to get majorities for – or amendments on bills.
Kinnock is still close to Mr Miliband. He endorsed him during the Labour leadership contest; his daughter, Rachel, works as Miliband’s events director; his son, Stephen, is standing in the safe Labour seat of Aberavon.
He is interesting on the silent Conservative vote: “That’s always a danger … There’s a superstition that somehow a Tory government will look after your pocket, it’s a triumph of propaganda over reality and people who tell pollsters that they’re not sure or they’re not going to vote Conservative will, in the privacy of the ballot booth, say: ‘To hell with it, I’ll stick with what I know because they say they’re going to cut my taxes’ – even when their record is of course to have put taxes up.'””
Meanwhile the Populus poll from earlier today has the parties neck and neck: CON 34, LAB 34, LD 10, UKIP 13, GREEN 5
polls we expect over the hours before the polls open
And it is actually quite funny….
As Olivia, who introduces the video after a spot of washing up, puts it: “We may have ovaries but we also have brains”.
Robin Grey, the busker who serenaded the Prime Minister, during a visit to Alnwick, Northumberland, with an impromptu ukulele song – ‘F*** Off Back To Eton, With All Your Tory Chums’ – has released the song which he describes are “a General Election anthem“.
The 34-year old from London said he was overwhelmed by messages of support from around the world including doctors, nurses, teachers and a priest, who have asked him to record his “Partly Satirical Broadcast”
He says a share of profits will go to the the Radical Housing Network and the Land Workers Alliance “.
Last month Mr Cameron is accosted during his first on-camera walkabout of the election campaign by Mr Grey singing a shorter version of this song.
Lord Ashcroft’s focus groups took place this week in Pudsey, Rossendale & Darwen and Hazel Grove, two very close Conservative-Labour marginals and a seat where the Liberal Democrats are seeking to fend off the Tories.
And they are rather wonderful.
On choosing between politicians: “If you asked them what colour underpants they were wearing, they’d say, ‘Well, what colour would you like me to be wearing?’”
On watching the debates: “I started but then there was something more important to do, like tomorrow’s sandwiches.”
And do people really hold the fact he went to Eton against David Cameron? “Yes! I went to Pangbourne and we played rugby against them and they cheat.”
This video from Vote for Policies asks which leader would be the best housemate, but it’s worth watching for the bizarre Friends mashup alone.
We’ve been keeping an eye on statements made by all the major parties since the “long campaign” began just before Christmas.
The questionable factual claims, half-truths and outright fibs have come thick and fast.
Steve Coogan, the comedian and Labour supporter, filmed a party political broadcast in support of Ed Miliband’s message this week. He explains to Jon Snow why he’ll be voting Labour even though they’ll leave him more out of pocket than the Tories, because he is “not interested in my own narrow interests”.
He says that he’s just one of a series of celebrity Labour endorsers who would never consider voting Tory – because entertainers in the arts think of the Conservative party as a “busted flush”.
Nick Clegg says that if his party is not included in some form of post-poll coalition, the country faces another campaign before Christmas.
Michael Crick explores the probability of another deal:
Krishnan Guru-Murthy is in Barry, south Glamorgan, where he is looking at how the election campaign has been playing out in Wales and talking to local voters, as well as the leader of Plaid Cymru, Leanne Wood.
American photojournalist Stanley Greene has documented conflict, violence and human disasters across the world for over 25 years. Channel 4 News asked him to capture the battle for Number 10.
Watch his report here:
Plaid Cymru leader, Leanne Wood, tells Krishnan Guru-Murthy that they are willing cooperate with the SNP and the Green Party – but that Nicola Sturgeon will not be her “boss”.
Political Editor Gary Gibbon says that parties are more focussed on ground operations, and that undecided voters may not be the factor that sways the vote.
But could it cause a hung parliament?