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Aidan Burley, the Tory MP who bought a Nazi uniform for a friend to wear at a stag party, is presumably relieved by the conclusions of a report by Lord Gold, a Tory peer who was asked by the party to look into the affair. He concluded Mr Burley “is not a bad man, still less a racist or an anti-Semite” but he is stupid.

Ashcroft gave Tories a further £123,464 donation, figures reveal

New figures released by the election watchdog show the Conservatives accepted £123,464 from Lord Ashcroft, the deputy chairman of the party, who is spearheading the battle for the key marginal seats.

Matthew Norman: Will Blinky consign Labour to history?

If Ed Balls has a political philosophy, it is the domineering, top-down, we-know-best infantilising statism of Gordon himself

Gordon Brown urged to apologise over election leaflet 'lies'

Tory frontbencher Michael Gove today called on the Prime Minister to rebuke Labour MPs and ministers who had spread "fear and smears" about Conservative policies in their election leaflets.

The Sketch: The biggest laugh? Well it's the way Gordon tells them

But first the hair. Nick's was the youngest, tousled as from afternoon sex. Young people will like that, and it helps project his policy on Europe. Cameron's hair hadn't set properly, there was a bold sweep at the front but then it went flat the further into it you went. I wonder if that means anything. And Gordon's! The poor fellow, his hair is only going in one direction. Soon he'll have fulfilled Blair's promise of being "whiter than white". He should prepare for the next debate with 36 holes in the Bahamas. That advice is so good I may send him a bill (he'll have a spare £100m for emergencies if I know him).

Matthew Norman: Come on Dave, don't be chicken

This wondrously unpredictable election campaign has its first incontestable winner. I refer to the Daily Mirror and its deployment of the young man who puts David Schilling's more outré Ladies' Day titfers in the shade by following David Cameron while wearing a fluffy chicken head as a hat. Before we go on, some good news. The tripartite Vulcan mind meld conjoining Ed Balls, Charlie Whelan and Mirror political supremo Kevin Maguire into the one mental entity is holding. That resolved, back to the chicken. What most impresses about using poultry to highlight alleged cowardice is the originality. Pedants might point out that the tactic has been tried before, but who remembers the Tories doing it to Mr Tony Blair in 1997? The record book shows how spiffingly that panned out, so small wonder Mr Whelan-Balls-Maguire hunted out such an encouraging precedent. If the chicken provided Mr Cameron with one of his better moments, when on Tuesday he joshed with it in as endearing a fashion as tightly gritted teeth allowed, that's not how the Mirror chose to report it on yesterday's front page. But it is excused the confusion on a news day so frantic that only one tiny paragraph could be spared to gloss over Labour's abysmal showing in every poll published the previous evening. The key thing when facing brutal humiliation, the Mirror reminds us, is retaining professional self-respect. This enables a newspaper to bounce back quickly, live long and prosper.

Tory boys bait their hook for Charlie Whelan

Unite's political director has set his lawyers on The Spectator – so they have turned him into their cover star. Ian Burrell reports

Debate Sketch: Did you hear Mandelson praising Clegg?

There was a slight sense of sulphur in the air in the Manchester media room; surely the Iceland volcano couldn't have got here so quickly? No, it was Peter Mandelson gliding into the hall.

Labour: Demands of the campaign will force Brown to loosen his grip

He fought the last three elections from his bunker at party HQ. But this time, he'll be on the road – and the team effort will be critical, argues Steve Richards

Simon Carr: Just another dark day in a very gloomy year for Hoon and Hewitt

Sketch: We are just in the foothills of shame, really. Onwards and upwards!

Unite 'optimistic' as BA talks continue

British Airways management and unions were holding emergency talks last night to avert a potentially crippling strike by cabin crew starting tomorrow.

Steve Richards: Unite doesn't run Labour – it can't even run itself

If we want parties less dependent on outside funding we should pay them with state cash

Andy McSmith: The reality of Unite could not be further from Tory myths

"Your party is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Unite union," David Cameron told Gordon Brown in a furious exchange at yesterday's Prime Minister's Questions. "They pick the candidates, choose the policies; they elect the leader; they have special access to Downing Street."

Brown urged to step in to prevent BA strike action

Gordon Brown has come under renewed pressure to intervene in the looming strike by British Airways staff which is set to disrupt the travel plans of 90,000 passengers.

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General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence
Public relations as 'art'? Surely not

Confessions of a former PR man

The 'art' of public relations is being celebrated by the V&A museum, triggering some happy memories for DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef succumbs to his sugar cravings with super-luxurious sweet treats

Bill Granger's luxurious sweet treats

Our chef loves to stop for 30 minutes to catch up on the day's gossip, while nibbling on something sweet
London Marathon 2015: Paula Radcliffe and the mother of all goodbyes

The mother of all goodbyes

Paula Radcliffe's farewell to the London Marathon will be a family affair
Everton vs Manchester United: Steven Naismith demands 'better' if Toffees are to upset the odds against United

Steven Naismith: 'We know we must do better'

The Everton forward explains the reasons behind club's decline this season
Arsenal vs Chelsea: Praise to Arsene Wenger for having the courage of his convictions

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Praise to Wenger for having the courage of his convictions