In a front page interview with the Guardian, David Cameron has warned that a vote for Nick Clegg risks the country being “stuck” with Gordon Brown in No 10 after the election. In the interview, Cameron repeatedly argued that a hung parliament could not guarantee decisive government or the removal of Brown. But while Cameron says he will not indulge in negative tactics, the Mirror reveals a series of attacks from his surrogates. Tory head of press, Henry Macrory, has already tweeted negative remarks about Clegg twice today.
A YouGov poll for The Sun puts the Liberal Democrats in the lead on 33 per cent, Conservatives on 32 per cent, and Labour on 28 per cent while a ComRes poll in the Independent suggests that the proportion of businessman who have confidence in the Lib Dem leader has doubled from 20 to 41 per cent. The Sun says, “Voters last night rejected the Lib Dems’ potty policies – despite the party taking a shock lead in the race to win the General Election.” Cameron tells the Guardian that he would not allow a referendum on a new voting system for the Commons: “Most proportional voting systems break one or two cardinal rules – first that there is a direct link between the MP and his constituency and second that you can throw the government out of office.” The Sun’s poll found that 54 per cent support a change to the voting system so “individual constituencies become larger and parties are represented in line with their national vote.” Only 16 per cent oppose.
In what the Independent dubs “Mandleson’s Dunkirk”, the Government has revealed it is planning a sea rescue of the thousands of Britons stranded abroad by the volcano ash flight ban. In a press conference outside Downing St, Lord Mandelson – flanked by four ministerial colleagues including foreign secretary David Miliband – said: “We need to look at every single logistical option for getting our people back home.” The Guardian details a four point plan including deploying the Royal Navy, cruise ships and commercial shipping to transport passengers to the UK if the crisis worsens. Ryanair, Europe’s largest short-haul carrier, cancelled all flights in northern Europe until Wednesday afternoon with BA and BMI scrapping schedules for tomorrow. The Times details that about 150,000 Britons are stranded abroad, according to the travel association Abta.
A Financial Times survey, featured on their front page, suggests that, “Investors fear effects of a hung parliament”. The paper says, a “clear election victory by either Labour or the Conservatives is needed to sustain the appetite for gilts among the world’s biggest investors”. Nine out of the 10 funds surveyed said they were equally happy to see a new Labour or Conservative government, provided it had a clear majority. The paper suggests this contradicts claims by George Osborne, the shadow chancellor, that the markets want a Tory victory and international investors “would rush for the exits” if Gordon Brown was re-elected. Meanwhile, a ComRes poll of 170 business leaders for the Independent found that the number of businessmen who believe George Osborne “lacks experience” has risen from 78 to a record 80 per cent.
The Times suggests that Gordon Brown “takes a gamble by focusing Labour campaign on economy”. Figures will be published this week on inflation, unemployment, retail sales, public finances and, growth figures for the first quarter. The Guardian details his assessment of the Lib Dems’ economic policy on Andrew Marr yesterday: “Why do the Liberals want to cut child tax credits? Look, it’s not fair. Why do they want to cut the Child Trust Fund? Why are they restricting the winter allowance for pensioners? … I think they’ve made a mistake on their economic policy.” Meanwhile, the Independent reports that, “More than 500,000 public-sector jobs could be axed in the next five years under a post-election squeeze on spending” according to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
In the US, Senate Democrats are making political capital from the fraud suit against Goldman Sachs. According to the New York Times they are leverage the public’s anger at banks to heighten pressure on Republicans to back Obama’s financial regulations overhaul bill. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner said: “I am very confident that we’re going to have the votes for a strong package of financial reforms that will bring derivative markets out of the dark, help protect the taxpayers from having to fund future bailouts and try to make sure we’re getting Americans some basic protection against fraud and abuse.” Gordon Brown and Angela Merkel joined the attack on Goldman Sachs yesterday.
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