As the general election creeps ever closer, every action of the main parties is under intense scrutiny.
The Conservatives have seen a steep decline in the polls in recent weeks despite their earlier dominance.
This decline has been driven by two main factors. Firstly, the revelation that Lord Ashcroft (Deputy Director of the Conservative Party), an influencial Conservative donor, has a non-domicile tax status has certainly damaged opinion of the Tories.
Being a non-domicile Lord Ashcroft does not pay as much tax as he would if he was registered as a full UK tax payer.
The fact that a man who has considerable clout in the Conservative Party, and who has the power to contribute to policy decisions, is not paying full-tax has compromised trust in the party.
The admission that Lord Ashcroft was only partially paying UK tax was especially critical given William Hague’s appearance on Newsnight months before. When asked by Jeremy Paxman repeatedly whether he had asked Ashcroft about his tax status, Hague refused to give a yes or no answer.
Secondly, the Shadow Chancellor George Osborne was rebuked by a group of top economists over his plans for speedy and lengthy spending cuts. The Tories had been using this policy of rapid cuts to government expenditure while claiming that Labour had lost control of government finances. This retort by leading economist has been seen as extremely detrimental to the credibility of the policy.
Labour have faced a mixed reception in recent weeks, but overall they seem to have gained ground in the polls.
Candidate, Anna Arrowsmith, is igniting controversy over her previous occupation as a pornographic film director
Gordon Brown has received criticism in the media over allegations of bullying staff. Reports of his temper have depicted a more aggresive side to the Prime Minister. However, it is not known whether these claims are entirely truthful.
Brown seems to have gained in the polls after his recent appearance on Piers Morgan’s chat show. Brown is also responding well to Cameron’s attacks in the House of Commons. In Prime Minister’s questions last week he responded well to questions regarding military spending.
The Liberal Democrats have outlined certain “tests” that they would want a party to comply with if they were to join them in the situation of a hung parliament, and at current have the power to make such demands.
The Liberal Democrats also have problems though. Candidate, Anna Arrowsmith, is igniting controversy over her previous occupation as a pornographic film director. Nick Clegg dismissed her previous job as, “not exactly my cup of tea” and defended her election bid.
Current polls indicate that the election is going to be very close and a hung parliament is a distinct possibility. Cameron has been unable to distance the Tories from Labour. It may be the most minor of factors that ends up swining the balance of the election. The margins are probably going to be very thin.