Election 2010 Lookahead: Sunday 18 April

The who, when and where of the campaign.

With another 18 days to go in this election campaign, here is what is happening today:

Labour

Gordon Brown makes an appearance on The Andrew Marr Programme this morning (BBC1, 10.15). It's the first encounter between the two since the rather uncomfortable pre-party conference conversation in which Marr raised the PM's mental health.

Conservatives

Apparently, David Cameron is launching School Stars, an X-Factor-style contest we're told. Oh, and he'll be talking about international development too. Meanwhile, Samantha Cameron is celebrating her 39th birthday.

Liberal Democrats

Leader Nick Clegg will address the congregation at Christ Church, New Malden, in south west London to mark Election 2010 World Poverty Day.

The media

Another day, another leaders' debate. This time Sky News hosts a Welsh leaders' debate. Participating in this 90 minute programme, which starts at 10.30am, will be Plaid Cymru leader Ieuan Wyn Jones, Welsh Liberal Democrats leader Kirsty Williams; Labour Party Wales Secretary Peter Hain, and Conservative Party Shadow Secretary Cheryl Gillan.

Other parties

Scotland's First Minister Alex Salmond will be campaigning for his party in Aberdeenshire. He will be joined by SNP candidate or Banff and Buchan, Dr Eilidh Whiteford.

Away from the campaign

The Bank of England Sports Ground in Roehampton, London hosts the annual PRs vs Hacks charity football and netball matches. The event is in aid of the Kids Company charity and it all kicks off at 12pm.

 

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John McDonnell accuses Labour of “rigged purge” of Corbyn supporters

The shadow chancellor criticises the party's national executive committee for its expulsion of members and supporters from the leadership election.

John McDonnell has accused Labour of targeting Jeremy Corbyn's supporters in a "purge" of those allowed to vote in the leadership election.

"Labour party members will not accept what appears to be a rigged purge of Jeremy Corbyn supporters", the shadow chancellor wrote. "The conduct of this election must be fair and even-handed."

McDonnell, who is Corbyn's campaign manager, added: "I am writing to Labour's general secretary Iain McNicol to demand that members and supporters who are suspended or lose their voting rights are given clear information about why action has been taken and a timely opportunity to challenge the decision. In particular, the specification of particular terms of abuse to exclude Labour party members from voting should not be applied retrospectively."

The statement follows the suspension of Bakers' Union boss Ronnie Draper from voting in the election, an action Draper attributed to unspecified previous social media posts. Labour's national executive committee has not commented on the reasons for his suspension.

"While Ronnie, a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn, has been denied his say in Labour's elecion, no action is being taken over the Labour peer, Lord Sainsbury, who has given more than £2m to support the Liberal Democrats," McDonnell said. "And no action has been taken against Michael Foster, the Labour party member who abused Jeremy Corbyn's supporters and staff as Nazi stormtroopers in the Daily Mail."

McDonnell's statement adds to an already febrile mood over the election, which sees Corbyn pitted against challenger Owen Smith. A week ago, a group of Labour grandees signed a letter condemning "intolerable" attacks on party staff - who are not allowed to respond to allegations made against them. The latest statement will be seen as a warning shot to general secretary Iain McNicol, who the leadership feel has consistently interpreted the party's rules to Corbyn's disadvantage. 

Helen Lewis is deputy editor of the New Statesman. She has presented BBC Radio 4’s Week in Westminster and is a regular panellist on BBC1’s Sunday Politics.