Election starts as Cameron and Miliband get personal

David Cameron leaves Downing Street for a private audience with the Queen
David Cameron leaves Downing Street for a private audience with the Queen
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THE most closely fought General Election in a generation is underway as the latest polls show Labour and the Conservatives neck and neck.

David Cameron informed the Queen of the dissolution of parliament before returning to Downing Street to warn of a £3,000 tax rise for ordinary voters under Labour.

The Prime Minister defended the Conservative’s economic record outside the door to Number 10 while repeatedly naming Ed Miliband as the choice for “chaos” on May 7.

Mr Cameron said : “You can choose an economy that grows, that creates jobs, that generates the money to ensure a properly funded and improving NHS, a Government that will cut taxes for thirty million hard-working people and a country that is safe and secure.

“Or you can choose the economic chaos of Ed Miliband - over £3,000 in higher taxes for every working family to pay for more welfare and out of control spending. Debt will rise and jobs will be lost as a result.”

The first poll to be released since the formal start of election campaign gives the Tories a slim two-point lead over Labour - but suggests Ed Miliband is closing the gap on David Cameron in personal terms.

Tory peer Lord Ashcroft’s latest weekly survey showed his party gaining three points to 36% on last week .

Overall polls show the two main parties tied to within one per cent of each other despite months of election speeches and policy announcements.

Mr Cameron’s decision to make Mr Miliband a key feature of his personal pitch to the electorate came on the day Labour unveiled a party political broadcast featuring Hobbit actor Martin Freeman, but not the party leader, suggesting Labour election planners are seeking to address concerns the public has not warmed to Mr Miliband.

The Labour leader kicked off his General Election battle with a speech in the City to business leaders in an attempt to improve the difficult relationship between his party and big business.

Mr Miliband promised the UK would have a future in a reformed European Union, presenting this as the alternative to “two years of uncertainty” if Mr Cameron is returned to office and a referendum on the EU is held.

Mr Miliband has warned that the Tories are set to make things personal in a “very negative campaign”.

He told Bloomberg Television that David Cameron is “in a very defensive, flustered, negative frame of mind”.

Mr Miliband claimed the Tory leader would throw “lots of stuff at me”, but asserted that this showed his opponent was “worried”.

The Labour leader said that while Mr Cameron was fretting about losing his job, he was going “stay focused on the British people”.

Campaigning continues until the May 7 General Election.