In Depth

Election 2015: Nick Robinson, one man who’d welcome a second election

Election day arrives: it's all over bar the voting (and the talk of Downing Street plots)

The BBC’s election commentators and analysts have gone into purdah until 10 pm when the polls close.

Under its election guidelines,  the BBC may not cover political issues on polling day, for fear of influencing people’s votes. As the BBC’s economics editor Robert Peston tweeted this morning, “Coverage restricted to uncontroversial factual accounts such as the weather.”

Once Big Ben chimes ten tonight, it’s all systems go and the BBC’s panel will include their political editor Nick Robinson, determined to be back for the big night after spending most of the campaign recuperating from surgery to remove a bronchial carcinoid tumour.

As Robinson blogged last night, such is the uncertainly over the outcome that there may have to be a second general election sooner than expected.

"That may give me the chance to do what I've been unable to do for much of this campaign as I've had to follow much of it from my sickbed.

"I'm all too aware, though, that the thought of another few weeks like the last may be enough to make most people feel pretty unwell.”

Read Nick Robinson’s blog in full

A tale of two Downing Street plots

Posted at 10.30, Thurs 7 May 2015

With virtually every major pollster showing Labour and the Conservatives on level-pegging this morning, all the talk now is of what happens tomorrow and beyond if this proves to be the messiest hung parliament in living memory.

As The Mole writes, the Daily Telegraph claims Ed Miliband is plotting to oust David Cameron from Downing Street, even if the Tories win the most seats today. 

But Cameron too is accused of plotting, with Guardian columnist Seumas Milne claiming the Tories have no intention of giving up power just because they cannot muster a Commons majority.

Read The Mole’s column in full

Read Don Brind’s polling analysis here

Thick of It writer demolishes 'Ed Stone'

Posted at 11.20, Wed 6 May 2015

Ed Miliband’s decision to have Labour’s election promises carved into a 8ft high stone slab - much derided by his rivals when it was unveiled on Sunday, and quickly attracting the hashtag #EdStone – has been demolished by one of the creators of The Thick of It.

Simon Blackwell tweeted: “Ed Miliband builds a policy cenotaph. And you wonder why we stopped doing The Thick of It.”

More frustrating for Team Miliband was an apparent gaffe yesterday by Lucy Powell, vice-chair of Labour’s election campaign. Talking to Radio 5 Live, she appeared to make the entire “setting it in stone” exercise redundant.

"I don't think anyone is suggesting that the fact that he's carved them into stone means that he is absolutely not going to break them or anything like that," she was quoted later as saying.

This brought the response from David Cameron: “I thought that was the whole point of the thing!”

Powell claims she was misquoted: “Anyone who heard the whole interview knows I said the opposite."

For readers who want to judge for themselves, the website Left Foot Forward carries an explanation of how Powell’s words got twisted. 

Neil Kinnock on Ed Miliband's chances

Posted at 11.00, Wed 6 May 2015

No general election has been invoked more often during this campaign than that of 1992, the New Statesman comments. So what does the man who lost that election against all expectations – Labour’s Neil Kinnock – have to say about Ed Miliband’s chances tomorrow?

“What the Tories forget is that [John] Major started out with a 100-seat majority and ended up with a 21-seat majority,” says Kinnock. Whereas this time the Tories started off with no majority “and they’re going to end up losing seats”.

Kinnock, now 73, believes Miliband has been performing “outstandingly” on the campaign trail and that some people have been “a bit surprised” by that. 

“But anybody who’s talked to me over the years knows that I’ve always said, I’ve always said, that he’s manifestly very bright [and] he’s brave, which is a terrific quality – not full of derring-do, but steadfastly so, [on] everything from Murdoch to Syria and the Mail and the banks.”

But here’s the rub: “If campaigns win elections, we are doing well. But I do recall that I got the prize for the campaign [in 1992] and still didn’t win.”

Tories ahead in one poll, tied in others

Posted at 11.00, Wed 6 May 2015

Four new polls are out today: one gives the Conservatives a one-point lead, the other three have them tied with Labour, Don Brind writes.

What should give Conservatives cause for concern is a finding by Lord Ashcroft: there’s been a four-point fall in the number of voters agreeing that “although the last few years have been difficult, the country is heading in the right direction and we need to stay on the same path”. 

Only 41 per cent of respondents agreed with that statement while 51 per cent agreed that "the policies of the last few years have failed and it is time for a change".

Read Don Brind’s column in full

PR is back on the agenda 

Posted at 11.00, Wed 5 May 2015

Is Britain’s first-past-the-post electoral system destined for the dump? With neither main party likely to score a majority tomorrow 0- fior the second general election running - proportional representation is back on the agenda, The Mole writes.

Lord O’Donnell, who drew up the Cabinet Manual that will be the rule book for the post-election negotiations, told Radio 4 listeners this morning: “There will be questions about whether it’s fair that Ukip and the Greens got lots and lots of votes, and very few seats. It’s for us to think about: is this the electoral system we want for our country?”

Read The Mole’s column in full

Boris and Dave hit Hendon

Posted at 11.00, Wed 6 May 2015

A Boris and Dave double-act in front of a youngish audience at a utilities firm in Hendon, north London yesterday offered Fleet Street’s finest a golden opportunity, Jack Bremer writes.

“Boris went first, howling his way through a lively, ten-minute speech about how the capital had gone awry under Labour,” wrote Quentin Letts in the Daily Mail. “Now, thanks to the Tories, it was a magnet for ‘fin-tech, bio-tech, med-tech, Aztec’.

“The youngsters blanked his surreal Aztec joke but Boris’s wife, Marina, on a rare outing, smiled on the sidelines.”

Read Jack Bremer’s round-up here

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