Election 2010 Lookahead: Monday 26 April

The who, when and where of the campaign.

With just 10 days to go until the general election, here are today's movements:

Labour

Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families Ed Balls gives a speech this morning at the UNISON schools seminar, where he is expected to lay out Labour's education plans (11am). Also speaking is the union's general secretary Dave Prentis (10:00am).

As parties seek to shore up the green vote, Ed Miliband debates the environment with his opposite numbers on The Daily Politics this afternoon (2.15pm; see below).

Elsewhere, Secretary of State for Defence Bob Ainsworth will set out "A Labour Party View of UK Defence Policy" at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) in Whitehall (1pm).

 

Conservatives

After a bad start to the day for Michael Gove, with the shadow education secretary having his plans for parent and charity-run "free schools" criticised by Kent County Council Paul Carter, the Tories are seeking to regain some momentum with a question and answer session at their headquarters in Millbank (8.30am).

David Cameron has been repeating his opposition to electoral reform, and said that the Liberal Democrats are in a "complete muddle" about the possibility of a hung parliament. Elsewhere, Milband's shadow Greg Clark is talking on The Daily Politics a little later in Millbank (2.15pm; see below).

 

Liberal Democrats

Leader Nick Clegg has been speaking in Edinburgh this morning, where he reiterated yesterday's statement that he would not prop up Gordon Brown in a coalition if Labour came third in the number of voters (7.30am).

 

Other parties

Scottish First Minister and SNP leader Alex Salmond joins actress and comedienne Elaine C. Smith and local SNP candidate Richard Thomson for a public question and answer session at Inverurie Town Hall in Aberdeenshire. Also features local SNP candidate Richard Thomson.

With the day's focus firmly on the environment, the Green Party's parliamentary candidate for Lewisham Deptford Darren Johnson is on The Daily Politics debating opponents from the three main parties (2.15pm; see below).

 

The media

BBC2's The Daily Politics continues its live election debates with a debate on the environment between Ed Miliband for Labour, Greg Clark for the Conservatives, Simon Hughes for the Lib Dems and Darren Johnson for the Greens. They are cross-examined by Andrew Neil and Newsnight's Justin Rowlatt (2.15pm).

Over at ITV1 Scotland tonight, Bernard Ponsonby questions David Mundell of the Conservatives in Election Face to Face (10.45pm).

 

Away from the campaign

After having his World Cup dreams defeated by his achilles tendon, David Beckham appears on ABC's Emmy Award-winning daytime talkshow The View alongside hosts Barbara Walters and Whoopi Goldberg in one of the strangest line-ups of the modern era (11pm).

 

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Theresa May is paying the price for mismanaging Boris Johnson

The Foreign Secretary's bruised ego may end up destroying Theresa May. 

And to think that Theresa May scheduled her big speech for this Friday to make sure that Conservative party conference wouldn’t be dominated by the matter of Brexit. Now, thanks to Boris Johnson, it won’t just be her conference, but Labour’s, which is overshadowed by Brexit in general and Tory in-fighting in particular. (One imagines that the Labour leadership will find a way to cope somehow.)

May is paying the price for mismanaging Johnson during her period of political hegemony after she became leader. After he was betrayed by Michael Gove and lacking any particular faction in the parliamentary party, she brought him back from the brink of political death by making him Foreign Secretary, but also used her strength and his weakness to shrink his empire.

The Foreign Office had its responsibility for negotiating Brexit hived off to the newly-created Department for Exiting the European Union (Dexeu) and for navigating post-Brexit trade deals to the Department of International Trade. Johnson was given control of one of the great offices of state, but with no responsibility at all for the greatest foreign policy challenge since the Second World War.

Adding to his discomfort, the new Foreign Secretary was regularly the subject of jokes from the Prime Minister and cabinet colleagues. May likened him to a dog that had to be put down. Philip Hammond quipped about him during his joke-fuelled 2017 Budget. All of which gave Johnson’s allies the impression that Johnson-hunting was a licensed sport as far as Downing Street was concerned. He was then shut out of the election campaign and has continued to be a marginalised figure even as the disappointing election result forced May to involve the wider cabinet in policymaking.

His sense of exclusion from the discussions around May’s Florence speech only added to his sense of isolation. May forgot that if you aren’t going to kill, don’t wound: now, thanks to her lost majority, she can’t afford to put any of the Brexiteers out in the cold, and Johnson is once again where he wants to be: centre-stage. 

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics.