The UK parliament has been dissolved, meaning the start of the election campaign. Prime Minister David Cameron will meet with The Queen at Buckingham Palace later, as a formality to dissolve parliament, although with fixed term parliaments, this now happens at midnight on the chosen date. Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is also expected at the Palace, but not at the same time.
The dissolution means that all 650 MPs are now candidates and lose all their privileges at the House of Commons. The nation will go to the polls on Thursday 7th May, in what is being projected will result in a hung parliament. A number of the main party leaders have been speaking today about the election, with the Prime Minister saying that their is a "stark choice" between himself and Miliband. David Cameron will make an address following his meet with the Queen. Ed Miliband is in The City launching Labour's business manifesto.
Although today marks the official day of the election campaign, the party leaders have been engaged in campaigning for many months. Last Thursday, Prime Minister David Cameron faced Labour leader Ed Miliband in the first of the TV pre-election specials. This Thursday, they will be joined by five other leaders in the first debate of the official campaign period.
Polls are indicating that this election will result in another hung parliament, meaning deals will need to be done with the smaller parties. In 2010, the Conservatives struck a deal with the Liberal Democrats to form a coalition. The Scottish National Party, led by Nicola Sturgeon, is expected to hold the balance of power at Westminster, as her party is projected to get up to 50 seats in Scotland. Nicola Sturgeon spoke at the SNP conference at Glasgow on Saturday where she vowed to keep David Cameron out of Number 10.
The smaller parties will be get to debate on the national stage on Thursday when ITV hold the leaders' debate. David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg will be joined by UKIP's Nigel Farage, Nicola Sturgeon for the SNP, Natalie Bennett's Green Party and Leanne Wood from Plaid Cymru.