Page last updated at 18:31 GMT, Thursday, 15 April 2010 19:31 UK

UK election at-a-glance: 15 April

The three lecterns that will be used in Thursday night's debate

DAY IN A NUTSHELL

Thursday will be dominated by the first of the live television debates between the leaders of the three main political parties. Taking place in Manchester, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg will answer questions picked from a 200-strong audience and emailed in by viewers. The focus of the programme will be domestic affairs but they will get the opportunity to air other issues. All three will campaign in the north west of England before the show is broadcast. In Brighton the Green Party will launch their manifesto - leader Caroline Lucas hopes to secure the party's first seat at Westminster. See how the day unfolded

QUOTES OF THE DAY

"These poor guys, they've been up all night, having their eyebrows plucked, learning their spontaneous jokes". Professor Mary Beard, Cambridge classicist professor, on the leaders' debate.

"It's not the debate itself, it's the soundbites the morning after" that really matter. Tom Scotto, an expert on US politics and voting behaviour from the University of Essex.

"It is a great opportunity to try to communicate to those millions of people in our country who are switched off politics." Conservative leader David Cameron on the leaders' debate

"It's like having one big huge job interview in front of the whole nation." Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg

"I was looking for this chance to talk directly to the people of this country and that's what I'm going to do." Labour leader Gordon Brown

DANCING SHOES

Business Secretary Lord Mandelson dances with Hannah Mackenzie in the Tower Ballroom
Business Secretary Lord Mandelson took to the dance floor

Labour's Peter Mandelson has been on the campaign trail in Blackpool, at the Tower Ballroom.

He took a spin on the dance floor with a local Labour candidate, before being approached by Hannah Mackenzie, a spiritual healer from Huddersfield.

Ms Mackenzie told reporters that Lord Mandelson proved to be very light on his feet.

BORIS ADVICE

London Mayor Boris Johnson said he would have gone all out to get a laugh if he was taking part in the prime ministerial TV debates because the audience are not allowed to applaud or jeer. He also revealed to Sky News that he had written some jokes for Mr Cameron to use during the 90 minute clash, although he added: "I don't think any of my witticisms have made the cut." The former Tory MP backed Mr Cameron to win the debate but said "a lot of the success of the candidates will depend on how their machines spin the result".

CELEBRITY ENDORSEMENT

Eddie Izzard

Eddie Izzard was speaking to BBC Look East reporter Anjana Gadgil

Comedian and marathon man Eddie Izzard hung up his running shoes today to go out on the stump for Labour. A "passionate" supporter, he says the Tories are talking Britain down. And while he wouldn't hire Gordon Brown as a children's entertainer, he thinks he's the right person to sort out the country's economic woes.

PRIMARY COLOURS

Mauldeth Road Primary School

Children at Mauldeth Road Primary School in Manchester had a special visitor in class today - the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Perhaps getting in practice for the prime ministerial debate later, he was grilled by the youngsters, including one girl who was concerned his smaller class size policy would "separate friends". Mr Clegg was pictured in front of a colourful collage. Now, who could the children have been thinking of when they coloured in Happy, Sad, Angry and Calm?

THURSDAY'S NEWSPAPER HEADLINES

All three main parties have a £30bn funding hole in their manifestos, warns the Financial Times . It says that whoever leads the next government will have to introduce "huge tax rises or spending cuts".

The prime ministerial debate between Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg is "90 minutes that could change Britain", says the Independent .

The Conservatives are on course for a "convincing" election victory, say the Daily Telegraph . It claims the Tories are leading Labour by 12 points in 100 key marginal constituencies, and it could mean the Conservatives securing an outright majority.

The Daily Mail accuses Labour of negative campaigning, and of rounding on David Cameron in particular.

The YouGov daily tracker poll for The Sun says the Conservatives have extended their lead over Labour to nine points. It puts the Tories on 41%, up two points on the previous day, with Labour up one on 32%, and the Lib Dems down two on 18%.

The Guardian reports that the main party leaders are rowing about the rules of Thursday's TV debate.

CAMPAIGN CATCH-UP

The leaders of the three main political parties - Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg - prepare for their first TV debate.

The Green Party of England and Wales launch their manifesto with plans to create a million new jobs and help for pensioners and low earners.

More than 50 economists reportedly warn that Tory plans for spending cuts risk job losses and tipping the economy back into recession.

The Welsh Liberal Democrats pledge to increase the budget for Wales by £125m through a green economy stimulus package at their manifesto launch.

In Scotland, the campaign was disrupted by a cloud of volcanic ash - because politicians couldn't fly there from London.

In Northern Ireland, a row brews over two unionist parties who used the same stock photo on their campaign posters.

NUMBER OF THE DAY

76 - the number of rules governing the first leaders' debate.



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