U.K. leaders face tough questions from an unsparing public

The leaders of all three major political parties in the United Kingdom — David Cameron from the Conservatives; Ed Miliband from Labour and Nick Clegg from, the Liberal Democrats — each faced some hard questioning from a representative audience of voters in the studios of the BBC, the last in the BBC Question Time format before the elections on May 7.

While the leaders’ interaction with voters so far has been carefully stage-managed, here they were thrown before a cross-section of the voting public that was unsparing in the tough questions they posed.

Prime Minister David Cameron was asked where his welfare cuts of £12 billion would fall, and whether he was proud of leading a nation where one million people still depend on food banks. He was asked about his promise to bring down net immigration to the “tens of thousands” and why the final figure was so wide off the mark.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg was hauled over the coals on going back on his solemn promise to abolish college tuition fees. The Liberal Democrats had made this a poll plank in their manifesto in the last elections, yet supported the increase of fees to £9000 a year when they joined the coalition.

Ed Miliband faced a question from a businessman who said he would run out of business if the Labour party acted on its promise to do away with zero-hour contracts.

Cameron scores higher

An instant Guardian/ICM poll at the end showed that 44 per cent of those surveyed thought Mr. Cameron did “best on the night”, with 38 per cent for Mr. Miliband and eight per cent for Mr. Clegg.

The 2015 elections are predicted to transform British politics, which has for most of its parliamentary history been dominated by two parties.

“This very ‘odd’ election is likely to show a better voter turnout,” said Kate Jenkins, Visiting Professor at the London School of Economics, at a press conference.

“We have a serious election that is better and more diverse than it has possibly ever been. The SNP ruffle is very satisfactory as it pushes people to think in different ways. The old two-party system seems to be weakening quite seriously [which] is a very good thing for United Kingdom’s politics.”

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Printable version | Oct 19, 2021 4:42:18 PM |

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