Page last updated at 16:38 GMT, Friday, 16 April 2010 17:38 UK

UK election at-a-glance: 16 April

(l-r) David Cameron and Gary Barlow, Nick Clegg, Gordon Brown


Friday is dominated by the fallout from the first of the live television debates between the leaders of the three main political parties. In Manchester, Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg clashed while answering questions on immigration, crime, education, social care and defence, in front of a studio audience. Elsewhere, Chancellor Alistair Darling and his Conservative shadow George Osborne are both on the campaign trail in Scotland, while the SNP's focus is on renewable energy. In Wales, the Conservatives vow to end Labour's "poverty of ambition" as they launch their Welsh manifesto. See how the day unfolded.


Eddie Izzard v Gary Barlow on the campaign trail

While comic Eddie Izzard has been out on the road supporting the Labour cause for the past couple of days - it was the Conservative Party who got their celebrity big gun out on Friday - with no less a character than Take That front-man Gary Barlow. Both appeared in places of learning (Izzard a sixth-form college, Barlow a school), both were seen in close proximity to their party leader and both received a rapturous welcome. Perhaps a 1-1 draw?


Peter and Rita: Not dancing around the issues

One of Thursday's campaign highlights was the sight of Business Secretary Lord Mandelson tripping the light fantastic with Huddersfield's Rita Mackenzie at the Tower Ballroom in Blackpool. Despite giving a short verdict on the peer's performance for the cameras at the time ("he's nice to dance with"), BBC Two's The Daily Politics felt short-changed. So Rita came back onto the show on Friday, declaring the peer was ready for Strictly Come Dancing. Head Judge Len Goodman has not been approached for a comment.


"Last night, on the TV debate, I felt a bit like I was in Britain's worst boy-band - so it's a pleasure to share the stage with the founding member of Britain's best ever boy-band."
Conservative leader David Cameron appearing with Take That's Gary Barlow

"I am a serious guy. I don't think there was a lot of laughs from any of the candidates, to be honest."
Prime Minister Gordon Brown reflects on a gag-free first TV debate

"I think last night potentially was a game change."
Former Liberal Democrat leader Paddy Ashdown

"We had three Westminster politicians who agree with each other on 99% of the issues."
Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond

"Long after the United States, and even after Iran, Afghanistan and Mongolia, politics in Britain is moving into the television age."
The New York Times


Nick Clegg's apparent strong showing in the first prime ministerial TV debate will force the Lib Dems' policies under the microscope, his rivals have said.

Chancellor Alistair Darling says there is "all to play for" in the fight for Scottish seats.

Scottish National Party leader and First Minister Alex Salmond urges support for Scotland's renewables sector.

Also on the campaign trail in Scotland is former Lib Dem leader Charles Kennedy, highlighting his party's plan to cut taxes.

The Conservatives launch their Welsh manifesto.

Initial viewing figures for the first-ever televised prime ministerial debate in the UK show 9.4 million people tuned in to ITV1.

Among those watching was former Deputy Prime Minister John Prescott, who joined members of a working men's club in Southampton.


The Daily Telegraph headlines its story "Clegg's star rises in great TV showdown". The paper said he exploited his equal billing with the two main party leaders to score points. The Guardian says "Clegg the outsider seizes his moment in the TV spotlight". It says he made a powerful pitch that he represented change from the two old parties. The Times takes a similar line with its headline "Nick Clegg seizes his moment in historic TV debate. "Clegg smashes the two-party system" is the Independent's verdict on the first prime ministerial debate. The Sun's first edition goes for a volcanic ash cloud metaphor, saying "We're all paralysed by hot air". However, its online edition's headline is "Brown beaten into third in debate". The Labour-supporting Daily Mirror comes out firmly for Gordon Brown with "It's a man vs boys". The Scotsman agrees with the Fleet Street broadsheets in concluding "Nick Clegg victorious in historic TV debate", as does Wales' main morning daily The Western Mail.


Nick Clegg's performance in the first prime ministerial debate earned rave reviews in the Spanish press. A piece from a Spanish daily, featured on the ABC website, described the Liberal Democrat leader has having "reason to be pleased".

"With an attractive and charismatic image, Clegg cleverly exploited his position as the alternative to Labour and the Conservatives."

David Cameron, the piece said, connected to the audience using stories, and personal experiences. However, Gordon Brown was criticised for being "too rational".

Moderator Alistair Stewart won praise for the "agile" way he kept proceedings ticking along.


37 - ITV's per-centage share of the total TV audience for the First Prime Ministerial Debate.

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