Election 2010 Lookahead: Saturday 1 May

The who, when and where of the campaign.

It's the final Saturday of the campaign. Here's what is happening:


The party will focus on the economy today, with Gordon Brown and Peter Mandelson campaigning side by side.



The Tories are concentrating on health today, introducing their "contract for a better NHS". In the same spirit, they are also planning to send out a two-page document entitled "A contract between the Conservative Party and you" to two million households, home to 3.5 million voters.


Liberal Democrats

Nick Clegg heads west today. He's due at a campaign rally in Somerset on behalf of the Wells candidate, Tessa Munt (11.30am), and then on to the Riverfront Theatre and Arts Centre in Newport, Gwent, on behalf of the local candidate, Ed Townsend.


Other parties

If you thought we'd seen all the manifesto launches of this campaign, think again. Today the Christian People's Alliance unveils its policy portfolio ahead of Thursday's election.


The media

Two of the national newspapers that backed Tony Blair in 2005 have deserted Labour this time around. The Guardian is backing the Lib Dems, while the Times is urging its readers to vote Conservative.


Away from the campaign

The sheep-shearing season officially begins today. Fact fans: in a normal year, one in four sheep shearers working in the UK is from either Australia or New Zealand. However, given the new points-based immigration rules, there is a quesiton mark over how many Antipodeans will make it this year.

Follow the New Statesman team on Facebook.

Jon Bernstein, former deputy editor of New Statesman, is a digital strategist and editor. He tweets @Jon_Bernstein. 

Getty Images.
Show Hide image

Why relations between Theresa May and Philip Hammond became tense so quickly

The political imperative of controlling immigration is clashing with the economic imperative of maintaining growth. 

There is no relationship in government more important than that between the prime minister and the chancellor. When Theresa May entered No.10, she chose Philip Hammond, a dependable technocrat and long-standing ally who she had known since Oxford University. 

But relations between the pair have proved far tenser than anticipated. On Wednesday, Hammond suggested that students could be excluded from the net migration target. "We are having conversations within government about the most appropriate way to record and address net migration," he told the Treasury select committee. The Chancellor, in common with many others, has long regarded the inclusion of students as an obstacle to growth. 

The following day Hammond was publicly rebuked by No.10. "Our position on who is included in the figures has not changed, and we are categorically not reviewing whether or not students are included," a spokesman said (as I reported in advance, May believes that the public would see this move as "a fix"). 

This is not the only clash in May's first 100 days. Hammond was aggrieved by the Prime Minister's criticisms of loose monetary policy (which forced No.10 to state that it "respects the independence of the Bank of England") and is resisting tougher controls on foreign takeovers. The Chancellor has also struck a more sceptical tone on the UK's economic prospects. "It is clear to me that the British people did not vote on June 23 to become poorer," he declared in his conference speech, a signal that national prosperity must come before control of immigration. 

May and Hammond's relationship was never going to match the remarkable bond between David Cameron and George Osborne. But should relations worsen it risks becoming closer to that beween Gordon Brown and Alistair Darling. Like Hammond, Darling entered the Treasury as a calm technocrat and an ally of the PM. But the extraordinary circumstances of the financial crisis transformed him into a far more assertive figure.

In times of turmoil, there is an inevitable clash between political and economic priorities. As prime minister, Brown resisted talk of cuts for fear of the electoral consequences. But as chancellor, Darling was more concerned with the bottom line (backing a rise in VAT). By analogy, May is focused on the political imperative of controlling immigration, while Hammond is focused on the economic imperative of maintaining growth. If their relationship is to endure far tougher times they will soon need to find a middle way. 

George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.