- The SNP say that they will only support Labour if they drop plans to renew Trident.
- Conservative defence secretary Michael Fallon claims that Ed Miliband would stab Britain in the back over Trident to become PM like he ‘stabbed his own brother in the back’.
- Ed Miliband and other political leaders accuse Mr Fallon of dirty politics.
- Labour pledges better careers advice in schools while the Conservatives promise more apprenticeships.
- Latest polls show Labour pulling ahead.
A debate over Britain’s future nuclear programme took several twists and turns today, as parties confirmed their attitudes towards UK defence programme Trident and questioned the approaches of their rivals.
Nicola Sturgeon stated that the SNP would not enter a coalition with Labour unless Ed Miliband’s party ditched its support for Trident.
The SNP could be a potential coalition party for Labour if the election brings a hung parliament, which is the widely-expected outcome.
But Labour reaffirmed support for renewing Trident, which could involve replacing all four submarines at a cost of billions of pounds. This could prove a sticking point for any possible partnership with the SNP.
The Conservatives firmly support maintaining Trident in its current form. Defence secretary Michael Fallon earlier claimed that Labour leaders would renege on their commitment to Trident if it meant getting into government.
In comments that led to accusations of him conducting ‘politics of the gutter’, Mr Fallon said that Ed Miliband had stabbed his own brother in the back to become Labour leader.
He said that this was a sign that Mr Miliband would ‘stab the UK in the back’ when it came to Trident.
The personal comments, referring to the 2010 Labour leadership contest between Ed Miliband and his brother David, were widely criticised, although David Cameron spoke out in support of Mr Fallon.
Labour promise careers advice while David Cameron focuses on apprenticeships
Labour launched their education manifesto this morning, calling for ‘a better plan for education’.
The party promises to protect the education budget and guarantee face-to-face careers advice for young people if elected in May.
The manifesto also includes a pledge for smaller class sizes for the youngest school years, the appointment of ‘Directors of School Standards’, and a guarantee that all teachers are fully qualified.
Meanwhile David Cameron visited a textile factory and the National Grid Training Centre.
He announced Conservative plans to create more apprenticeships, and said that he was proud of the work the government had already done to increase numbers of apprentices:
We’ve already created 2.2 million apprenticeships since 2010 but a future Conservative government is committed to opening up three million more high quality apprenticeships – to help strengthen our economy and communities and give millions more people financial security.
Labour pull ahead in polls
The latest polls from TNS, Panelbase and Survation show the Labour party edging ahead of the Conservatives.
Survation and TNS show put Labour four points of the Tories, while the Panelbase poll shows a four point Labour lead.