Further reading

Our economics team ran some tests to show the regional impact of cuts and illustrate the challenge of eliminating the deficit without punishing the poor.

If you cut social security payments by 10 per cent, for instance, they found the poorest areas were hit hardest. Household disposable income fell by 3.6 per cent in Merseyside and only 2.1 per cent in Berkshire and Buckinghamshire. Read more

I’ve never met Danny Alexander, the new chief secretary to the Treasury, and have no axe to grind on his behalf. I also share the widespread concerns about whether he has David Laws’ mettle for the job. More than a week ago this blog was pondering how the 38-year old had gone from Cairngorms National Park press officer to key government figure in only five years.

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Treasury chief David Laws ‘should stand aside’ – The Telegraph
David Laws: I hope he Survives – Iain Dale
David Laws’ full statement via the BBC
Julian Glover: I fear he won’t survive – The Guardian
Andrew Grice: Suddenly the coalition’s star is not in control of his destiny – The Independent
David Laws on ’the most difficult day of my life’ – The Times

The official announcement has just come through. There are 56 new peers entering the House of Lords. There are 29 Labour, 16 Tories, 9 Lib Dems, 1 DUP and 1 cross-bencher.


John Prescott (pictured): Croquet-playing, Tweeting, sentence-mangling former deputy prime minister.

John Reid: Scottish former defence secretary (and home secretary, and health secretary) who now chairs Celtic football club

Margaret Wheeler: Unison, director of organisation

Michael Williams: former adviser on foreign affairs

Des Browne: Scottish former defence secretary

Quentin Davies (pictured): former defence secretary who crossed the floor from the Tories and put his bell tower on expenses

Bev Hughes: Former immigration and prisons minister

Sir Jeremy Beecham, former chair of Local Government Association

Rita Donaghy, former chair of Conciliation and Arbitration Service

Tommy McAvoy: Former senior whip in the Commons

Hilary Armstrong: North-east MP who remained loyal to Blair until the end.

John Hutton (pictured): Blarite former defence secretary who resigned last summer but did not knife Gordon Brown Read more

Robert Peston is not only a former colleague but also a superb financial journalist. But I can’t quite agree with the premise on his blog today – “a coalition housing crash” – that changing stamp duty could prompt a damaging property downturn. (To be fair his argument is more nuanced than the heading suggests).

I’ve been pondering for some time how the government could restrain any newfound housing bubble if the current trends (prices rose 10.5 per cent in the year to April, according to Nationwide*) continue. Prices are still lower than their peak but shooting up in many parts of the country (admittedly not all) as a direct result of the Bank of England base rate being at the artificially low rate of 0.5 per cent. Mortgage rates are therefore lower than they might otherwise be, a situation that could in the coming few years have a dangerous impact on the market. Letting this trend continue – until it is once again unsustainable – is the real risk for the coalition. Read more

Guido revealed via Tweet this morning that Lord Adonis has started writing a book. I can elaborate that it will be on the “Five Days that Transformed Modern Politics” – although this may only be a working title. This is a reference to the Clegg coalition talks (with both Tories and Labour) in the frenetic days after May 6.

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I first wrote a few months ago that Tory MP Julie Kirkbride was seeking to follow her husband Andrew Mackay into the world of lobbying. I can now reveal that she has taken up a job with Tetra Strategy. Read more

Stalemate looms in game of political chess – Philip Stephens in The FT
Downing St doubts trouble London shares – The FT
The life and times of Gordon Brown - The FT
Head v hearts – Nick Robinson’s newslog
Lib Dems face an historic choice – The Times
Brown’s tragedy was overreaching himself - The Times
Is Labour serious about a progressive alliance? – Polly Toynbee
A Lib Dem pact risks Labour’s survival – David Blunkett
A Labour-Lib Dem coalition is not what we voted for – Benedict Brogan
MPs in danger of confirming the electorate’s worst suspicions – The Telegraph

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

Will I be up for Balls? – Gideon Rachman in The FT
The last Brown and Cameron battle could be yet to come – The Guardian
General election 2010 is shaping up to be a good vintage – The Guardian
Labour voters return as doubts grow over Clegg – The Times
New parliament will be least experienced in decades – The Telegraph
The White House dreads a Hung Parliament - The Telegraph
Will the golden rule survive the night? – Mike Smithson on Political Betting

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

Labour’s possible defeat fills European Left’s cup of woe – Tony Barber in The FT
Brown ponders post-defeat exit – The FT
Tories fear tax credit threat - Benedict Brogan in The Telegraph
Election leaflets: The best and worse revealed – The Guardian
Brown’s barnstorming speech: What took him so long? – Jonathan Freedland
The Ulster effect – James Forsyth on Specator Coffee House

They’re not perfect but the Tories fit the bill - FT Leader
Farewell New Labour but does Cam have a plan? – Philip Stephens, FT
Electoral reform is not a precondition – Clegg interview, FT
National Insurance row is an ‘irrelevance’ – FT
Vote Lib Dem if it makes sense in your area – Peter Hain in the Independent
My family will be voting Lib Dem in Norfolk – Ed Balls in New Statesman
Duffy and the shrieking gibbons – Armando Iannucci, The Independent
Tories 12 points behind in Lib Dem marginals – The Telegraph
But a word of warning about the sample size – UK Polling Report
Giving Lib Dems hope of taking Wells - The FT
Tory fundraising begins for second election – The Mail
The money is back on a hung parliament - Political Betting
Is Ed Balls throwing in the towel? – Mary Riddell in The Telegraph
Ministers drop tactical vote hints – The Evening Standard
Labour left clinging to hope – Julian Glover in The Guardian
Impartiality is over: Cameron gets my vote – Michael Grade for the Times
Off with their heads! Soon the cuts will begin – Rachel Sylvester for the Times
Brown delivers best speech of his campaign – Spectator Coffee House

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

Poll blow for Clegg as voters think twice – The Sunday Telegraph
Brown’s game is up – James Forsyth in The Mail on Sunday
Once in a generation chance for change – The Independent
Cameron’s smooth approach to transition – Robert McCrum in The Observer
No need for hang ups about a hung parliament – Andrew Rawnsley in The Observer
Tories in 4-seat majority (if you include the unionists) – The News of the World
Tories plan bonfire of Labour laws – The Sunday Times

Britain’s historic general election – Martin Wolf for the FT
Cameron’s plans risk a postcode lottery – Vernon Bogdanor for the FT
UK hung up about hung parliament - The FT
Beleagured Labour unleashes Blair - The Guardian
Cameron is concealing his inner Bush - Johann Hari for the Independent

The debate:
An international view: In final British debate, economy is the focus – The New York Times
No surprises, lots of disappointment - The FT’s Chris Giles for Money Supply
The last debate – have Labour imploded? - Gideon Rachman’s blog for the FT
Barring an earthquake, David Cameron is on his way to No 10 - Jonathan Freedland for the Guardian
We came, we saw, but what did we learn? - David Aaronovitch for the Times
Pundit reaction – Politics Home

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

Gordon Brown interview: Waiting for substance to tell – The FT
Labour’s new welfare rights cost £8bn a year - The FT
Nick the negotiator says deal or no deal – Robert Shrimsley in The FT
Roy Greenslade on how the media dealt with Gordon’s gaffe – The Guardian
Brown was not acting out of character, says Andrew Rawnsley – The Guardian
Gillian Duffy turns down big cash offers from the newspapers. Could the gaffe cost 2m Labour votes? – Daily Mirror
Gaffe goes global – Coverage from the New York Times
Will the leaders answer the big economic questions tonight? Robert Chote in The 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