The election week outside Westminster


• Polling data for STV had Labour on 36% (up 2), SNP 26% (down 6), Lib Dems 20% (up 12) and Conservatives on 14% (down 3).

In another poll, Scottish voters said they trusted the Lib Dem’s more than other parties, but less than half were aware of what their manifesto said, compared with 52 per cent who were aware of the Tories pledges and 53 per cent of Labour’s commitments.

• The Tories launched their manifesto for Scotland, with Scottish Conservative’s Annabel Goldie declaring, “Scotland can be part of the change that our country so desperately needs.” Labour’s Jim Murphy concluded, “Scotland has changed for the better over the past decade but the Tory Party have not.”

• The SNP launched its manifesto with Alex Salmond offering voters a choice, “They can elect…SNP MPs who will win a better deal for our nation”. Labour’s Iain Gray concluded, “This was Alex in Wonderland.”

Alex Salmond dropped a big hint that he thought English voters should vote Lib Dem. “I think voting for the objective of denying Labour or Conservative parties an overall majority would be a legitimate and proper thing to do,” he said.

• STV hosted the first Scottish debate, with participants facing voter fury over expenses. Scottish Secretary, Jim Murphy was declared the winner by the audience. Jim Murphy told the SNP, “You want Labour to lose. And your preferred option, though you wouldn’t wish to admit it, is the Tories.”

• The Lib Dems launched their Scottish manifesto, with their Shadow Scottish Secretary, Alistair Carmichael concluding, “a Liberal Democrat-led government could well be one of the options which is available.”

• Scotland officially emerged from recession. Alex Salmond said it was “good news”. The Scottish Chamber of Commerce kept the pressure on the SNP Government, stating, “The Scottish Government must review the huge rises in business rates that have been imposed on many Scottish businesses.”

• 87 per cent of teachers said they lacked the confidence to implement the SNP Government’s new Curriculum for Excellence.


• As Sky News hosted the first Welsh Leaders debate, Conservative Shadow Welsh Secretary, Cheryl Gillan dropped a clanger by wrongly implying that Rhodri Morgan was still First Minister. Wales Office Minister, Wayne David declared, “we do question to what extent she is engaged with political reality when she gets wrong not once but twice that Carwyn is the First Minister.”

A poll suggested that Cleggmania had hit Wales with Labour on 33% (down 4), Lib Dems on 29% (up 17), Tories on 23% (down 6) and Plaid on 9% (down 5). Nick Clegg declared, “I believe the age of Labour dominance in Wales is now starting to come to an end.” Labour’s First Minister, Carwyn Jones simply noted, “I remember people saying that in the mid-80s. It was wrong then and it’s wrong now.”

• Conservative Philip Hammond described Plaid’s relationship with the SNP as “odd”.

• Wales was reported to be the third most patriotic country in Europe, behind just Scotland and the Netherlands. Plaid Cymru President, Dafydd Iwan explained, “It has got a lot to do with history and the fact that we are a very small nation.”

    Northern Ireland

    • Left Foot Forward reported on sectarian politics in South Belfast.

    SDLP leader, Margaret Ritchie was forced to dismiss speculation of a merger with Finna Fail. In a statement she said, “Merger with Fianna Fáil? Not on my watch.”

    • Launching his party’s manifesto, DUP Leader, Peter Robinson, concluded, “This is the first time in the history of the DUP we have been able to publish a manifesto that concentrated on the economy as the primary issue. This shows just how far we have come.” Conservative Home sought to highlight the DUP’s incontinences on Europe.

    • In launching the SDLP’s manifesto, Margaret Ritchie reiterated her call for a “new politics” in Northern Ireland.

    • Martin McGuniess and Peter Robinson published their proposals on regulating parades. SDLP MLA, Dolores Kelly reacted, “The new model, its structure and who controls it, will lead to new mischief.”
    Police made an arrest following the attack on MI5 headquarters in County Down, as a family escaped injury from a Pipe Bomb in Limavady.

    • UUP Health Minister, Michael McGimpsey conceded that he still did not know how patients would be affected by a planned £113 million cut from the health budget.

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