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Parties set to launch manifestos

The main political parties are putting the finishing touches to their general election manifestos as they prepared for the first week of full-scale campaigning for the May 6 poll.

Labour will be first off the blocks with the launch in the West Midlands of a manifesto which aides said will be "ambitious but affordable" and will focus on rebuilding the economy, renewing public services and restoring trust in politics.

The document's author Ed Miliband acknowledged that Labour cannot "promise the earth" in Britain's current straitened circumstances, but said the party would reject a "business-as-usual" approach to the country's problems.

Speaking in east London he said: "Above all it is a manifesto for the future because we know that business as usual won't do.

"Business as usual won't do in relation to our economy, business as usual won't do in relation to our public services, and business as usual won't do in relation to our politics either."

Meanwhile, David Cameron said the Conservative platform - to be unveiled on Tuesday - would be centred on the theme of "we're all in this together".

In contrast to Labour's restrained programme, the Tory manifesto will offer a range of "positive agenda-setting ideas" to woo voters, including better access to GPs and a crackdown on state "snooping", he said.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg warned of Greek-style social unrest in the wake of the election if a Conservative government wins power by a narrow margin and then tries to push through draconian spending cuts.

The Liberal Democrat leader said he feared "serious social strife" if an administration with minimal support raised taxes, laid off public sector workers and froze wages.


From Belfast Telegraph