Ten things we have learned from the third day of the campaign

Labour leader Ed Miliband conducts a Q&A session at David Brown Gear Systems in Huddersfield.
Labour leader Ed Miliband conducts a Q&A session at David Brown Gear Systems in Huddersfield.
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What have we learned from the third day of General Election campaigning?

:: 1. Pro-EU colouring-in books are brainwashing the nation’s children

Ukip believes a referendum on Britain’s membership of the European Union should not be extended to 16 and 17-year-olds because they have been exposed to pro-EU propaganda.

The party’s deputy chairman Suzanne Evans told a Westminster briefing: “It’s everything there from colouring-in books on the Common Agricultural Policy for primary school children right up to research projects at university level.”

:: 2. Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is at risk of losing his Commons seat, according to the latest poll by former Tory deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft

The Deputy Prime Minister is defending a healthy 15,284 majority in Sheffield Hallam, but the new figures have him trailing by 27% to 29%.

He insisted he was feeling confident he was going to win as he took the national campaign to Scotland.

:: 3. The Conservative candidate for Hendon Matthew Offord, who won the seat in 2010, has a dog called Max that enjoys wearing blue rosettes

His loyal canine supporter was out and about with him and Boris Johnson on the campaign trail in Mill Hill. On the same visit, the London mayor found himself popular with another pet who licked his face as he he posed for a picture with one man and his dog.

:: 4. Boris Johnson thinks Ed Miliband sounds like a “polytechnic sociology lecturer” who enjoys “binge-watching Breaking Bad”

The Conservative candidate for Uxbridge and South Ruislip used his speech to voters in north London to criticise the Labour leader.

He said his main problem is not that he cannot eat a bacon sandwich or that he would become a plaything of the SNP “peeking out of Alex Salmond’s sporran like a baby kangaroo”, but his desire to take the UK back to the 1970s with an “orgy of regulation and state socialism”.

:: 5. It was a red letter day for the Tories

More than 100 senior executives sent a letter to the Daily Telegraph warning a “change in course” in economic policy would risk jobs and deter investment. It was signed by at least five previous Labour party backers.

David Cameron claimed the letter as proof businesses back his long-term economic plan, but Labour said the signatories represented only a tiny proportion of British firms and that it was unsurprising bosses wanted lower taxes.

:: 6. The vast majority of zero hours contracts would be outlawed if Labour wins the election

Ed Miliband has promised that anyone who works on one for the same employer for 12 weeks will then be given a normal working contract based on the average number of hours completed over that period.

It represents a significant strengthening of the party’s previous pledge of a 12-month wait.

:: 7. Nigel Farage is to follow in the footsteps of Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair

A thinly disguised caricature of the Ukip leader - Bilious Barrage - will come up against Judge Dredd in a new comic-strip story.

He is not the first politician to get the comic book treatment from 2000 AD with versions of Mrs Thatcher and Mr Blair featuring previously.

:: 8. The fathers’ revolution is coming

New fathers will be entitled to six weeks of paternity leave - three times the current amount - under Liberal Democrat plans.

The announcement comes as new arrangements for shared parental leave are due to come into place at the end of the week.

Jo Swinson said shared parental leave was her “proudest achievement” as a minister and called for a “dad revolution”.

:: 9. David Cameron has made politics nastier and is a “bit of a troll” in the eyes of shadow chancellor Ed Balls

The Labour frontbencher says it’s the reason he’s “not popular with women” and why there are so few in the Cabinet.

Ed Miliband later brushed off the comments as a “light-hearted remark”.

:: 10. Bilbo Baggins is securing precious coverage for the Labour party online

Labour’s election broadcast featuring Hobbit star Martin Freeman has clocked over one million views since its release on Monday.

His endorsement was viewed 459,711 times on Ed Miliband’s Facebook page across four posts, 514,568 times on the Labour page across four posts, and 183,555 times on one YouTube post.