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Nicola Sturgeon pulls off pre-election balancing act

Scottish National Party leader Nicola Sturgeon has shown off some of the balancing skills she may need after the election on a visit to a gym club today.

Ms Sturgeon managed not to use her hands, keep talking and stay upright as she walked across a balancing beam gym apparatus in front of cameras and a group of press photographers.

Ed Miliband rules out 'confidence and supply' SNP deal

Ed Miliband has ruled out a confidence and supply deal with the SNP after the general election.

Labour leader Ed Miliband speaking to Andrew Marr. Credit: PA Wire

Asked if he would negotiate with SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon in the event of a hung parliament, Mr Miliband told the BBC's Andrew Marr: "It's not happening".

The Labour leader added: "I want to be clear about this. No coalition, no tie-ins. I'm not doing deals with the Scottish National Party."

Mr Miliband had already ruled out a formal coalition but had so far declined to comment on a potential looser arrangement with the Scottish nationalists - which had been seized on by the Conservatives.

He accused the SNP and the Conservatives of wanting to "set England and Scotland up against each other", promising his party will represent the whole of the UK.


Sturgeon: SNP MPs will work for 'fairer' carers deal

Nicola Sturgeon has pledged that SNP MPs at Westminster will work to deliver a "better, fairer deal" for Scotland's 100,000 carers.

Scotland's First Minister said: "It is simply unfair that carers do not receive the same support as those looking for work. That's why the SNP will use our influence at Westminster to put carers firmly on the Westminster agenda, securing an increase in carers' allowance benefiting carers to the tune of £600 per year.

Nicola Sturgeon said the SNPs will use their influence in Westminster to deliver a better deal for carers.

"We will never be able to do enough to fully recognise the incredible work our carers do. But carers in Scotland - and across the UK - can be confident that the SNP will be a strong voice for their interests in the House of Commons.

SNP: We will borrow more as it is 'what the public want'

SNP: We will need more borrowing as 'it's what public want' Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Campaigning in Edinburgh, Scotland's Deputy First Minister John Swinney has responded to the IFS analysis of the parties' spending proposals and criticised George Osborne for using the figures during campaigning.

I accept the analysis of the IFS that the SNP's proposal will result in more borrowing than is proposed by the Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat parties on the proposition that we've put forward of increasing public spending by half a percent in real terms.

I accept that because that's what the public are calling out for. They're fed up with austerity and they want a clear voice to say austerity has got to come to an end and the investment in our public services and our public infrastructure has got to recommence.


Salmond has no regrets over Labour budget joke

Former first minister Alex Salmond said he has no regrets after joking that he would be writing the next Labour Party budget.

Salmond said he had merely been "poking fun" with the remark as he criticised David Cameron for his "po-faced" response to it.

The Prime Minister tweeted a video, apparently filmed at an SNP event on April 13, in which Salmond tells the crowd he had heard a Labour spokesman say that Scottish Labour leader Jim Murphy would not be writing the party's budget.

Asked by BBC Radio Scotland if he regretted making the remarks, Salmond said, "Not in the slightest. I was making fun, poking fun, at the Tory claim that I'd be writing the Labour Party's budget. It was a joke, it was taken as a joke and people saw it as that."

Cameron: Brown 'absolutely spot on' over SNP 'chaos'

David Cameron has told supporters he agrees with former prime minister Gordon Brown that having a large number of SNP politicians in the Commons would cause "constitutional chaos".

"For once Gordon Brown is absolutely spot on right," Cameron told the crowd in Penzance, Cornwall.

"You can have David Cameron and George Osborne back at their desks working, or you can have months of constitutional chaos," he added.

Brown warns of '£7.6bn hole' in SNP election plans

Gordon Brown told Scottish voters Labour was the 'party of fairness'. Credit: Andrew Milligan/PA Wire

Gordon Brown has warned that Nicola Sturgeon's plans would leave a £7.6 billion hole in Scotland's economy, as he pitched Labour as the country's "party of fairness and social justice".

In a letter to voters, the former Prime Minister claimed both the SNP and the Conservatives would leave the NHS at risk.

He said the nationalists would "scrap the Barnett formula, meaning that our NHS and other public services could only be funded by taxes raised in Scotland."

He also warned that the Conservatives were "committed to billions of pounds more austerity - which means less money for Scotland and our NHS".

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