REFORM SCOTLAND NEWS: 4 MAY 2010

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All newspaper references refer to Scottish editions. Where there is a link to a newspaper’s website, the relevant page reference is blue and underlined.

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In addition to the newspaper stories outlined below, further news coverage can be found online at BBC News Scotland, STV News and Sky News.

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General Election

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Lib Dem’s 20 seats: Nick Clegg will be in Glasgow today.  Senior figures within the party believe that the Lib Dems could win 20 seats in Scotland – four more than their target list drawn up before the election. (Scotsman page 1

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Coalition deals: Sources within the Conservative Party suggest that David Cameron would rather lead a minority government than do a deal with the Liberal Democrats. However, Nick Clegg said yesterday he was open to talks with the Conservatives. Dr Madsen Pirie, president of the Adam Smith Institute comments in the Sunday Post that a hung parliament would only worsen the economic situation. (Scotsman page 6, FT page 1)

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Marginal seats: An Ipsos Mori poll of marginal seats suggests that the Conservatives could win the election with a majority of two, while a poll of marginal seats for the Telegraph puts the Tories 14 short of an overall majority. However opinion polls carried out in Scotland suggest the Conservatives could be left without any Tory MPs in Scotland.  Alan Cochrane in the Telegraph comments that if Scotland matters that much to the Conservatives why has David Cameron only managed one visit throughout the 4-week campaign. (Herald page 1, Express page 2, Telegraph page 1, Monday’s Scotsman, Lesley Riddoch in the Scotsman, Allan Massie in Monday’s Mail)

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Gordon Brown writes in the Guardian that voters in Labour – Tory marginal should back Labour if they want to see real reform after the election.

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Immigration: Allan Massie in the Scotsman comments that Brown, Cameron and Clegg have all talked seriously immigration while Alex Salmond has ducked the issue.

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Celebrity backers: Former Celtic footballer Murdo MacLeod and Rangers owner Sir David Murray have backed the Conservatives, while Taggart star John Michie has backed Labour. (Sun page 1, Herald page 9, Times page 8, Record page 6, Courier page 13, Scotland on Sunday page 1)

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SNP blog: Lothian & Borders Police are investigating claims that an SNP activist illegally leaked postal vote results on a website. (Scotsman page 7, Sun page 7, P&J page 11)

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Lib Dem defence policy: Senior defence and intelligence figures have said that Lib Dem policies in these areas risk leaving Britain exposed to terrorism. (Times page 1, Letters to the editor)

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Postal vote fraud: The police have launched 50 criminal inquiries across the UK amid widespread cases of electoral rolls containing many bogus voters. (Mail page 1, Leo McKinstry in the Mail)

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Nick Clegg: Nick Clegg is interviewed in the FT.

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Labour leadership: Labour insiders have claimed that David Miliband is ready to run for the Labour leadership as soon the election result is known. (Monday’s Telegraph page 1, Boris Johnson in Monday’s Telegraph)

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Transport

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More volcanic ash: Flights over the Outer Hebrides closed yesterday following the return of volcanic ash over Scottish airspace.  Flights in and out of Ireland have also been affected. (Scotsman page 2, Herald page 2, Express page 8, Mail page 2, Record page 4, Telegraph page 1, P&J page 1)

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Local government

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Benefit cheats: Scottish local authorities have protested that a crackdown on benefit cheats by the Department of Work and Pensions may breach their ‘human rights’. (Mail page 2)

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Crime

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Gun crime: The number of operations by armed police in Scotland has trebled since the mid 1990s to more than 548 in 2007-08. (Mail page 4)

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Shorter sentences: The average length of sentences handed to convicted murderers and sex offenders is14 months less than it was a year ago. (Monday’s Mail page 1)