Election 2010 Lookahead: Friday 30 April

The who, when and where of the campaign.

With only six days to go until the closest election in recent times, here is what you should be looking out for today:

Labour

Gordon Brown today launches his final week message alongside the Business Secretary, Peter Mandelson, the deputy Labour leader, Harriet Harman, and other cabinet ministers in the West Midlands (9.30am). Later on he will be interviewed by Jeremy Paxman (see below).

 

Conservatives

William Hague is to join the Conservative candidate Rory Stewart in Penrith, where he will speak at an outdoor rally in the Market Square (5pm).

 

Liberal Democrats

Vince Cable will visit Ashfield School near Nottingham to speak to first time sixth-form voters and visit their new skills training centre alongside the Lib Dem candidate for Ashfield, Jason Zadrozny (10.30am). Lord Wallace, Liberal Democrat foreign affairs spokesman in the House of Lords, will set out Lib Dem UK defence policy at the Royal United Services Institute in London (1pm).

 

Other parties

The UK Independence Party leader, Lord Pearson, will meet and campaign with the Conservative candidate Mark Reckless, as part of the party's policy of supporting Eurosceptic candidates from other parties, at Caxton in Rochester (2pm).

 

The media

The fallout from yesterday evening's televised election debate on BBC1 with leaders of the three major parties continues apace. For a more varied diet, look to BBC Radio 4's Today programme, which includes interviews with representatives of the British National Party, Ukip, Green Party, Scottish National Party and Plaid Cymru. There has been pressure for other parties to receive more airtime following the decision to exclude them from the three prime-time leaders' debates.

A tough week for Gordon Brown continues tonight with his interview in Jeremy Paxman Interviews: Gordon Brown on BBC1 (8.30pm).

 

Away from the campaign

The BBC presenter Adrian Chiles presents his final edition of The One Show before he moves to ITV on a four-year contract, where he will host the channel's football coverage and take over on the GMTV sofa. Chiles has been with The One Show since it first started in August 2006.

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Theresa May's Brexit stance could come at a political cost

The Prime Minister risks raising unrealistic expectations among Leave backers.

Good morning. For Leavers, there's only one more sleep before Christmas: tomorrow Tim Barrow will moonlight as a courier and hand-deliver Theresa May's letter triggering Article 50 to Donald Tusk and Britain's Brexit talks will start.

Well, sort of. That we're pulling the trigger in the middle of, among other things, the French elections means that the EU27 won't meet to discuss May's exit proposals for another month. (So that's one of 23 out of 24 gone!)

The time pressure of the Article 50 process - which, its author Colin Kerr tells Politico was designed with the expulsion of a newly-autocratic regime in mind rather than his native country - disadvantages the exiting nation at the best of times and if there is no clear winner in the German elections in October that will further eat into Britain's negotiating time.

That Nigel Farage has announced that if the Brexit deal doesn't work out he will simply move abroad may mean that Brexit is now a win-win scenario, but heavy tariffs and customs checks seem a heavy price to pay just to get shot of Farage.

What are the prospects for a good deal? As I've written before, May has kept her best card - Britain's status as a net contributor to the EU budget - in play, though the wholesale rejection of the European Court may cause avoidable headaches over aviation and other cross-border issues where, by definition, there must be pooling of sovereignty one way or another.

That speaks to what could yet prove to be May's biggest mistake: she's done a great job of reassuring the Conservative right that she is "one of them" as far as Brexit is concerned. But as polling for BritainThinks shows, that's come at a cost: expectations for our Brexit deal are sky high. More importantly, the average Brexit voter is at odds with the Brexit elite over immigration. David Davis has once again reiterated that immigration will occasionally rise after we leave the EU. A deal in which we pay for single market access, can strike our own trade deals but the numbers of people coming to Britain remain unchanged might work as far as the British economy is concerned. May might yet come to regret avoiding an honest conversation about what that entails with the British public.

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