Michael Heseltine, one of Britain's most respected politicians and a senior minister in the Conservative governments of the 1980s and 1990s, has spoken to IBTimes UK about the coming general election.
Lord Heseltine gave his views on a range of subjects, including the "sexing up" of Ed Miliband, the chances of a Tory-Ukip coalition, and the prospect of him agreeing to Chuka Umunna's request to help Labour if they win the 7 May vote.
Here is the full interview:
What do you make of news that Chuka Umunna will ask for your advice if Labour win the election?
Wishful thinking. I'm booked to help the next Conservative government.
What sort of advice will you provide the Conservatives?
The advice in my report, No Stone Unturned, which the government accepted and has been implementing for the past two years.
Michael Crick suggested the major parties have been slow to bring out their "big beasts" this year. Do you feel you have been under-used?
No. There is no appetite for jobbing back to yesteryear. There are new generations out there.
As one of the UK's most successful media entrepreneurs, what do you make of the "sexing-up" of Ed Miliband? What do you think have been the key factors behind his image overhaul?
Passed me by.
On the flip side of that, what do you think Cameron could have done better in his own campaign? Do you feel he has overplayed the economy card?
The economy card is critical and central. David Cameron rightly is playing to his strengths.
What do you make of the strategy of Lynton Crosby?
I believe his advice is sound. It coincides with all my experience.
What advice would you be giving the Tories on how to handle the final few days of campaigning? What key messages would you be emphasising?
Stick to the central message and keep going.
Are you now genuinely worried by the prospect that Miliband will win?
I don't think Ed Miliband will be prime minister.
Some people seem to suggest Cameron isn't passionate enough. Do you agree?
I want competence, determination and a sense of direction in a prime minister not the qualities of a B-movie star.
Do you think Cameron should have attended the second leaders' debate?
You declared yourself a "great enthusiast" for the coalition's approach in 2012, after they adopted 81 of your 89 recommendations on localism. Why did you change that approach to the extent that, by the autumn of 2014, you said people were "deeply frustrated" by 2014. What caused you to lose faith in the coalition?
My view about my report remains unchanged. The frustration flows from the impact of recession which squeezed living standards.
'It remains to be seen whether Miliband can do the full transition from Ugly Duckling to Crown Prince, sufficient to take the net negative ratings into positive. That's a long way to go.'
Read branding queen Rita Clifton's assessment of the campaign here.
How would you assess the performance of Britain's LEPs?
The most significant devolution of economic policy I have seen. A good start. Much yet to do.
You have always been staunchly pro-European. Do you agree with Miliband's criticism of Cameron's 'small-minded isolationism'?
No. David Cameron wants to improve Europe not isolate us from it.
Do you feel a Tory-Ukip coalition is a genuine possibility?
Unthinkable and unacceptable as has been made clear.
How much does that possibility worry you?
It doesn't, because it isn't going to happen.
Who do you think will be the next leader of the Conservative party, and when do you think they will take over?
My concern is with this election. Speculation about events years away is a distraction.
Lord Michael Heseltine is one of the Conservatives' most respected and charismatic politicians. First elected to parliament in 1966, he held various ministerial offices between 1983 and 1987, including the posts of deputy prime minister and president of the board of trade.
He retains an active interest in the Conservatives' fortunes, and presented a landmark masterplan for UK economic growth in 2012.