From Alex and Jim, our eyes and ears in Westminster.

Alex says:

Just emerging from Lib Dem world. There are many interpretations of Clegg’s remarks. But, as Robert has written, it’s safe to say that he’s telling Gordon Brown to pack his bags.

There is some wriggle room in the statement on electoral reform. But Labour should not hold their breath. Most Clegg allies realise that the electoral maths make a deal with Labour — at least within the next six months or so – virtually impossible. Cameron will be given the first crack at governing — it is just a matter of sorting out the details.

How close will co-operation be? Will it be anything more than support on a bill by bill, issue by issue basis? What needs to be done to calm the markets … etc

Clegg’s hand on pushing for electoral reform is significantly weakened by his poor election showing. So while they won’t rule out a deal with Labour, it will mainly be to strengthen their position with the Tories. An AV referendum is probably out of the question. But the Tories could offer up some other concessions: cutting the number of (Labour) MPs, recall elections, and even fixed term parliaments. Read more

From the FT:
Clegg gives Cameron shot at premiership
Cameron ponders a hesitant vote for change – Philip Stephens
UK set to become part of Europe’s coalition landscape
Has anyone heard what the people said? - Matthew Engel
Deficit to dominate new team’s agenda - Chris Giles
Hung parliament casts shadow over markets

FT Videos:
Impact of hung parliament – Chris Giles, economics editor
Cameron as PM likely outcome – Robert Shrimsley, Armchair election writer
UK market turns to US after indecisive poll – David Oakley
Result scares markets – Michael Saunders, senior economist at Citi
Gilts vulnerable - Mark Schofiled, global head of interest rate strategy at Citi Read more

From an email doing the rounds in the City of London on Thursday morning:

Westminster will never be the same again – Philip Stephens
Don’t let Downing Street call the shots, ma’am – Eamonn Butler for the FT
Battles on the path to power – The FT
The Final Projection: Tories 19 seats short of a majority – Politics Home
Could the Conservatives steal this election? – Martin Kettle for the Guardian
Big increase in postal voting could mean delayed result – The Guardian
Treasury starts work on £6 billion Conservative cutbacks – The Times
Unsure how to vote? My contortions may help - David Aaronovitch for the Times
A reminder of the price we pay for political freedom – Benedict Brogan for the Telegraph
As Britain goes to polls, economic clouds hover – New York Times

Follow every twist and turn on our live election special, running through the night and into Friday. The Westminster Blog team will track key marginal results and the latest news from FT correspondents at election counts around the country as the nation heads to the polls.

London: the key seats – The Guardian
EU warns on UK deficit – Politics Home
Lib Dems squezed on both sides – The Times
Nerd wars over the result – Chris Giles for FT Money Supply
He has his faults, but my God you have to admire GB depth and resilience – Alastair Campbell
Gordon’s fighting talk - Jon Craig on Sky
Labour jittery in Scotland - The Guardian
Why isn’t Dave 15 points ahead? - Norman Tebbit in The Telegraph

Cuts won’t trigger social unrest – George Osborne, FT
Which pledge will Cameron break first? - Gideon Rachman, FT
Brown’s legacy: no more Labour majorities – Donald Macintyre, The Independent
Honest Nick and his Lib Dem stardust – Jonathan Freedland, Guardian
Cameron in danger of pulling Queen into politics – The Guardian
Even though there are no constitutional rules – Ruth Fox, The Guardian
How has your region changed since 2005? - Political Betting
Agent Ashdown’s dead letter drop – Paul Waugh

Our expert election panel will meet for the final time on Friday afternoon for a video election debriefing. See the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

If coming third in the polls and a seemingly collapsing campaign strategy wasn’t causing enough stress within the Labour party, a Labour parliamentary candidate from North west Norfolk has called Gordon Brown “the worst prime minister we have had in this country”.

According to the Lynn News newspaper, Manish Sood, who is contesting a Tory-held seat, said: “I believe Gordon Brown has been the worst prime minister we have had in this country … It is a disgrace and he owes an apology to the people and the Queen.” Read more

Cameron details policies before final push - The FT
A lament for the loss of electoral rituals – Matthew Engel for the FT
Your election is pure – but who would want to win it? - The Guardian
Office has rotted Labour, but it doesn’t deserve to die – Jackie Ashley for the Guardian
I want The West Wing, not The Office politics - Camilla Cavendish for the Times
Brown is a goner – bring on Mandelson - Boris Johnson for the Telegraph
Cameron could be our de Gaulle - Bruce Anderson for the Independent
Clegg’s journey to the promised land – The Independent

The FT’s Robert Shrimsley joined Clive Anderson for the BBC’s weekly election show, The Heckler.  Click here for a link to the broadcast, which is a quirky, irreverent guide to this week’s events in the general election campaign. What the politicians really think of the voters they have to woo and flatter, and if we do get a hung parliament, will our leaders be simply too exhausted by all that campaigning to thrash out a deal to run the country?

Explore the FT’s new interactive graphic featuring profiles of the Lib Dem leader, his shadow cabinet and most trusted colleagues – and a sorting function to show how they are all connected. And if you missed it, the Tory Who’s Who also has full details of the Conservative shadow cabinet and the party’s behind-the-scenes strategists.

Who should govern Britain, The Economist thinks it’s David Cameron
Ten People Who Are Having a Good Election – Iain Dale
After all the fuss of yesterday, it is still the economy, stupid – Alastair Campbell
Opinion split on Bigotgate significance, says Sun/YouGov poll – The Guardian
Brown campaigns after ‘bigot’ row – Politics Home
Mervyn King: Election winner will lose power for 30 years – Evening Standard
British Leaders Brace for Final Television Debate – New York Times

Jim and Alex will be doing another live blog tonight for the final televised leaders’ debate, which will focus on the economy. This time the event starts at 8:30pm on the BBC. Our rolling commentary will probably start earlier, from around 7pm. Read more

The FT’s expert election panel will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big news stories of the campaign. Below is Matthew Taylor’s take on how Labour can – and must- rejuvenate the policy agenda.

Matthew Taylor, former director of policy to Tony Blair:
If Labour trails in a bad third next week, a divided, demoralised and impoverished Party could easily go into a long term decline, becoming a Party whose highest realistic aspiration is to a be a minority partner in a future coalition.

Finally, today it looks like policy is on the agenda. Labour has to keep it there until the debate on Thursday and then hope that Gordon Brown can win on home territory (there are, after all, still many voters who do not warm to Brown but will on probing agree he is the best on experience and on protecting the interests of ordinary families). With a little wind in its sails Labour might yet breach the 30 per cent barrier within sight of being the largest party. This would change the dynamic of the last week. Read more

Leader interviews:
David Cameron leaves door open for poll deal with Lib Dems – The Observer
Nick Clegg: I will not prop up ‘irrelevant’ Brown – The Sunday Times
Gordon Brown: My Credo – The Independent

On the election:
Voters keep the Tories waiting at the altar – Matthew Engel in the FT
Lib Dem star delighted to be outshone – The FT
The doubts about the Lib Dems – The FT
Polls show Tories ahead in six – Politics Home
Grotesque and unfair voting system must change – Will Hutton for the Observer
Nick Clegg is still ahead … but he’s beginning to grate – The Sunday Times
Brown rejects Mandelson’s cosy stitch-up – Janet Daley for the Sunday Telegraph
The long sprint to Westminster – The Independent
Election 1940 and no Thatcher? – Hopi Sen
Video: Nick Clegg on Andrew Marr

The FT’s Robert Shrimsley joined Clive Anderson for the BBC’s weekly election show, The Heckler.  Click here for a link to the broadcast, which is a quirky, irreverent guide to this week’s events in the general election campaign. Is positive the new negative? How have all the main parties taken to rebuking the others for “squabbling” – or debating policy, as it used to be called?

By John Lloyd

“Reporters do of course write stories about political life in the broader sense and about the substance of issues … but when there is a chance to use these issues as props or raw material for a story about political tactics, most reporters leap at it. It is more fun … in fact they ask questions that only their fellow political professionals care about. And they often do so with a discourtesy and rancour that represent the public’s views much less than they reflect the modern journalist’s belief that being independent boils down to acting hostile.”

The US journalist James Fallows wrote this in The Atlantic in 1996. In the 2010 UK general election, it’s truer than it was.

The Economist wrote today that the mainstream media – newspapers, radio and television – dominate news and comment on the election, almost to the exclusion of significant use of the internet. Let’s hope for better next time, when the wealth of the internet can be brought to bear on electoral choice because the record of the mainstream media so far is dismal. Read more

The podcasts, which are hosted by Robert Shrimsley, will be recorded every Monday and Friday for the duration of the campaign – see the full list in the UK election podcast archive.

Press Clegg-bashing not helping Cameron. Debate should be on policy – Alastair Campbell’s blog
Labour is now in peril as Brown appears to have become the ‘Great Ignored’ – Nick Wood for Conservativehome
Demands and Concessions: The perils of a Lib-Lab deal for our government and our party – Paul Richards for Labour List
Party leaders’ debate: advice for tonight – The Guardian
Marmite and the BNP: love them or hate them, they’ve added a new taste to the election – The Guardian
Mandelson comments were silly, juvenile and pathetic says Rifkind – Politics Home

And join the Westminster Blog team later for tonight’s debate. Read more

All three party leaders are campaigning in and around Bristol ahead of tonight’s debate.

Clarke unleashed to attack Lib Dems – The FT
Kenneth Clarke: A hung parliament would be a tragedy for Britain – The FT
Discomfort within both Labour and Lib Dems over prospect of coalition – The FT
Tory blogger Iain Dale criticises media witchhunt against Nick Clegg
SAS hero Andy McNab does not want a ‘wobbler’ in charge of the military – The Sun
David Cameron interviewed on a train – The Times
Gordon Brown is a King Lear wandering the nation with his entourage – Steve Richards in the Independent
Lib Dems are no strangers to dirty tricks, says Peter Oborne in Daily Mail
Gordon Brown: better at this than you’d think – Jonathan Freedland in The Guardian Read more

As part of the FT’s expert election panel, our three contributors will occasionally be giving their thoughts on the big election news story of the day.
Today, we asked how do the Tories and Labour need to change their tactics and strategy mid-campaign. How do the parties cope with pressure for changes of tactics and how do you balance the need for a different tack with a need not to panic?

Miranda Green, former press secretary to Paddy Ashdown:
So far the Conservative attempt to eschew the nastiness that brands them as “the same old Tories” (their most vulnerable spot, say the focus groups) has left them with not much to say except to warn of the dangers of the current electoral system delivering perverse outcomes – the system that they alone now defend as suited to modern political needs. Read more