Web Only: the best of the blogs

The five must-read blogs from today, on bogus jobs stats, abortion and Cameron's gaffe.

1. The Express is wrong: Half of all new jobs have gone to UK citizens

At Left Foot Forward, Nicola Smith and Richard Exell rebut the claim by the Express (based on data from the Spectator) that 98 per cent of new jobs since 1997 have gone to migrant workers. Data shows that UK nationals have taken 50 per cent.

2. Why abortion will be a campaign issue in 2010

With David Cameron's pledge to reduce the abortion limit from 24 weeks to 20 or 22, this issue will be more prominent during the campaign than in any recent election, says Sunder Katwala.

3. Leading Tory gay activist to vote Labour

Over at the Guardian, Simon Jeffery reports that the founder of the LGBTory group plans to vote for Labour in anger at Cameron's refusal to condemn Chris Grayling for his suggestion that B&B owners should "have the right" to turn away gay couples.

4. Tory "efficiency savings" would cancel their school reforms

Liberal Conspiracy's Don Paskini explains why the Tories' "efficiency savings" would destroy their "Swedish schools" plans.

5. David Cameron is right

In a campaign gaffe, the Tory leader rather foolishly told BBC Radio Derby that he preferred Nottingham to Derby. But, argues Hopi Sen, he was right.

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Scottish Parliament votes in favour of a second independence referendum

The UK government was quick to respond. 

The Scottish Parliament has voted for a second independence referendum by a margin of 10 votes on the eve of Westminster triggering Article 50. 

After hours of debate - postponed after last week's terrorism attack at Westminster - the MSPs voted 69 to 59 to back the First Minister's call to trigger Section 30 of the Scotland Act.

MSPs voted for a Green amendment which demands votes for 16 and 17-year-olds, but amendments by Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems were defeated. 

Nicola Sturgeon took Westminster by surprise in early March when she announced she would be seeking a second independence referendum for Scotland to decide before it was "too late to choose a different path". 

The Scottish Parliament can vote to demand a second referendum, it still needs permission from Westminster to hold one. So far, the Prime Minister has refused to countenance one before Brexit. After the vote, Scottish secretary David Mundell reinforced this message, suggesting a vote could not take place until the 2020s. 

However, some unionists quietly fear that a tussle between Westminster and Holyrood over powers will only play in the nationalists' favour. 

Julia Rampen is the editor of The Staggers, The New Statesman's online rolling politics blog. She was previously deputy editor at Mirror Money Online and has worked as a financial journalist for several trade magazines.