Politics Summary: Wednesday, May 5th

Labour’s big beasts have rejected yesterday’s calls for tactical voting. The front page of The Times features an interview with Gordon Brown Brown who tells the paper, “the best tactic is to back Labour”. In an apparent rebuke to Ed Balls, who has symapthised with tactical voting, Mr Brown joked “Ed who?“. The Prime Minister also set out his message that the Conservatives are “anti-poor, even anti-middle class, in so many things that they are doing in terms of child tax credits and Child Trust Funds”.

The Guardian’s front page reports Tony Blair’s second intervention of the election campaign as he also tells voters to reject tactical voting: “Vote for what you believe in. If you think their polices are good, vote for them, but if you don’t, don’t.” In a front page editorial, the Daily Mail shares the sentiment if not the desired outcome with the headline: “Vote DECISIVELY to stop Britain walking blindly into disaster”. Left Foot Forward yesterday looked at the “truth about tactical voting” showing that the Liberal Democrats cannot win in 81 of the Tories top 116 target seats.

The economy is showing “signs of a strong recovery” according to the front page of the Financial Times. The paper reports that manufacturing in April jumped to the highest level since September 1994 with signs that manufacturing output grew by as much as 2 per cent in the past three months, a growth level that suggests the sector will make a strong contribution to second-quarter gross domestic product growth. Meanwhile, employment growth rose in April to its highest level since February 2007. George Osborne tells the same paper that an incoming Conservative government would have the mandate to carry out deep public spending cuts.

The Telegraph front page reports that “Ulster pact could seal victory for Cameron” in a deal that will cost the taxpayer £200 million. The paper reports that Northern Ireland MPs have indicated that they will formally back the Conservative leader if he protects the region from this year’s public spending cuts. The Democratic Unionist Party are understood to be willing to enter into a formal coalition with the Tories should Mr Cameron fail to win an overall majority in a move that could deliver an extra nine or ten parliamentary seats. But, as reported on Left Foot Forward yesterday, the Financial Times reports remarks by Ken Clarke who said, “In the end you can always do a deal with an Ulsterman, but it’s not the way to run a modern sophisticated society.”

In a front page leader article, the Independent demands, “Britain now has a historic opportunity to end our unfair and discredited voting system for ever. It must not be missed.” The paper wants a coalition between the Labour party and Liberal Democrats. Polls suggest that the country is heading for a hung parliament with two new polls giving the Tories a lead of 8 points (ComRes) and 5 points (YouGov). The UK Polling Report poll of polls puts the Tories on 274, Labour on 264, and the Liberal Democrats on 81.

The Telegraph reports that pressure is growing on President Obama to block new offshore drilling in the wake of the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. Senators from Florida and New Jersey have said for the first time that they would strongly oppose new laws allowing exploration off Alaska and the east coast. Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, also condemned the proposals. Meanwhile, Left Foot Forward last night reported Conservative party plans to increase offshore drilling in British waters including in an area of Ocean off the Shetland Islands that is important for its whale and dolphin populations.

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