DAY IN A NUTSHELL
On the third day of the election campaign, Gordon Brown hits back at criticism of his tax plans and Conservative leader David Cameron announces plans for voluntary "national citizen service", backed by Sir Michael Caine. Nick Clegg launches the Liberal Democrats' general election campaign in Scotland, Ulster Unionist leader Sir Reg Empey announces that he will fight the South Antrim constituency and Plaid Cymru kicks off its election campaign on Anglesey. The horse-trading at Westminster also continues, as ministers strive to get through 12 bills in two days before Parliament is dissolved. Among the ones to be passed is a ban on under-18s from using sunbeds in tanning salons.
See how Thursday unfolded.
BATTLE OF THE BUSES
The Lib Dems were first off the grid with their battle bus - a bright yellow machine featuring the faces of party leader Nick Clegg and his economy spokesman Vince Cable. Thursday saw the Conservatives join the fray - their transport is a sky-blue three-axled coach - emblazoned with "Vote for Change". No picture of Mr Cameron though. Does that mean it's not for his exclusive use? We await the arrival of the Labour bus on the campaign circuit.
THE VIEW FROM ABROAD
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner says "the partnership will be maintained" between the UK and France if the Conservatives win the election. Meanwhile, the former Commonwealth Secretary General Sir Shridath Ramphal says he does not expect a significant shift in London's policies towards the Caribbean.
World media on the UK's election campaign
BEST QUOTES OF THURSDAY
"This government, I think, is doing a wonderful thing with the National Citizens Service, so let's give them a second chance."
Veteran actor Sir Michael Caine muddles his lines while appearing at a Conservative Party policy launch
"In our society, the closest thing to a rite of passage is getting drunk on your 18th birthday."
Conservative leader David Cameron
"The baby face doesn't worry me. It's the baby mind that does."
Former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott on David Cameron
"At last a politician is demanding something of the people instead of bribing them. I walk with a new spring in my step."
Sir Bernard Ingham, Margaret Thatcher's former press secretary, on David Cameron
THE BIG QUESTION
"Canvassing - 'getting out on to the doorstep' - is woven into the fabric of British general elections.... Yet most politicians acknowledge that as a means of persuading people to change their minds about who they are going to vote for it is a non-starter. There are precious few doorstep conversions."
So what is the point of canvassing?
CAMPAIGN CATCH-UP FROM THURSDAY
Conservative leader David Cameron
announces plans for voluntary "national citizen service" for all 16-year-olds.
But he also confesses to a "gaffe", after
forgetting the name of one of the three Gloucestershire seats
the Tories are targeting.
Labour hit back over criticism of their plans to raise National Insurance,
saying the Tories plans are "not credible".
recycles an old Tory campaign poster
- accusing the Conservatives of planning a VAT "bombshell".
Plaid Cymru launches its campaign saying
it 'offers the best deal'
Ulster Unionist leader
Sir Reg Empey says he will quit the Northern Ireland Assembly
if elected in South Antrim in the general election.
Not everyone is happy about the
passage of the digital economy bill after it was approved in the Lords.
While the Liberal Democrats
accuse the Tories and Labour of colluding to rush legislation through
before Parliament is prorogued.
Samantha Cameron joins the campaign trail
with a visit to Leeds.
THURSDAY'S NEWSPAPER HEADLINES
leads its front page with "Labour's betrayal of British workers". The
headline is "Brown 'at war with bosses'". The
leads with "Cameron wins new backing in tax row".
The Guardian's lead
is headlined "Tory adviser's firm stands to benefit from spending cuts". It may only be day three of the campaign, but
decides Martina Navratilova's announcement she has breast cancer is their lead story. However, it does promote a feature on whether your parents influence your vote.
FIGURE OF THE DAY
650 - the number of seats in the next parliament, up from 646.