Page last updated at 22:21 GMT, Thursday, 29 April 2010 23:21 UK

In quotes: Reaction to debate

Some of the parties give their first reaction to how Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg did in the final prime ministerial TV debate.


They were talking tonight about local manufacturing, local agriculture, but the question we have to ask them is: why are we still importing huge amounts of goods from half-way around the world when we could be growing them locally, we could be manufacturing them locally? That's how to create the new jobs for the future.

We need the investment in apprenticeships in training for young people. We can create those jobs if we lead the way, if we have Greens in Westminster pushing the other parties in the right direction.


I think what we've got to remember is that Wales needs to come out of recession. We've got to lead the recovery here in Wales, and what I didn't hear tonight was any of them recognising the special problems that we have particularly here in Wales.

We do need a fair funding formula to protect us against those major cuts that have been promised - Alistair Darling talking about cuts deeper than Margaret Thatcher, the Tories are going to cut even more, Liberal Democrats talking about savage cuts - what we want is a party to stand up for the interest of the people of Wales.


[Rochdale woman] Mrs [Gillian] Duffy being abused by the prime minister yesterday for expressing legitimate concerns about immigration led to a very good question tonight: is there a disconnect between our politicians and ordinary people on the question of uncontrolled mass immigration?

And they all looked uncomfortable with this, but we got an admission from Nick Clegg that as members of the European Union, there is absolutely nothing we can do about uncontrolled numbers coming into this country from the rest of the European Union. This is something that we've been saying for years.

I think the British public will realise that we cannot have our own immigration and asylum policy and be members of the European Union, therefore we have to make a big decision


I don't think there was any clear winner. Gordon Brown was certainly the loser - just in terms of his demeanour through the debate. And the ending, uttering the word 'desperate' and then there was that strange smile to the camera which was the last thing the viewers saw.

So, I think Gordon Brown was the loser. But there was no clear winner of the debate because basically each of them were yet again allowed to get away with the extraordinary circumstance where these three London parties are planning huge cuts in public spending, but each has a vested interest in keeping that secret from the people.


All three British establishment parties' motor-mouthed leaders showed increasing desperation about boosting their careers, but none of them were willing to even mention England or the English Nation, although most of what they talked about were issues that only affect England and yet there they were in Birmingham, an English city, in the heart of England.


[Gordon Brown] pulled it off. I don't know what the polls will say immediately, but it's clear he won the argument, he won the debate tonight, and considering the media furore he sparked yesterday, I think to show such strength and such passion, I thought it was a barnstorming performance.

But more importantly than that, he has set the agenda on the economic recovery which we believe the Tories will pose a major risk to, on fairness in taxation, where David Cameron was unable to justify his proposal to reward the 3,000 wealthiest estates in the country on inheritance tax, but also on Mr Cameron's proposal to give a major tax gift to the banks at the expense of manufacturers in this country


I think it will confirm people's views that really Gordon Brown is something of a busted flush and the real competition is now a two-party race between the two people offering change: David Cameron and Nick Clegg.

Clearly I think that people will think over the three debates that Nick has been the most impressive.


I thought David did fantastically well. I thought he was strong on substance, strong on leadership, I thought he was the only one there showing how we can get the economy moving and creating jobs.

Gordon Brown was unremittingly negative, had nothing new to say, his arguments were as tired as he looked, and actually Nick Clegg for the first time came under major scrutiny on the immigration amnesty, on VAT on homes, on the euro.

So, I thought David showed he is ready to lead this country, and I thought it was all summed up in those closing statements this time, where David was positive, upbeat about the future for this country. Gordon Brown had nothing left to say.


With this being the third debate, I think they have demonstrated that they have become much more comfortable with doing this kind of debate and certainly if there is a sense of nervousness it is now well disguised.

The issue that struck me most was the complete lack of concern about Northern Ireland and trying to include it in the debate at all. Given that one of the party leaders wants to represent Northern Ireland and claims to have candidates here, you would have thought he would have used it as an opportunity to get Northern Ireland in there.

These cuts that they are talking about will affect us here and we will need a strong team at Westminster to make sure that we can battle against those cuts and make the recession recovery plan relevant to Northern Ireland.


I think the performances were all fairly level. Taking them in turn, David Cameron still hasn't sealed the deal, and he is landing some blows there certainly but he is not landing them seriously enough.

Nick Clegg seems to be user-friendly, but when we go beyond the user-friendliness, the substance may be lacking. Gordon Brown is coming in with a lot of substance but there is a minor lack of user-friendliness there. They are all still punching - my feeling would be, from where I am sitting, it would be a draw between the three of them.


David Cameron was the clear winner tonight. Last week Gordon Brown conceded the argument on style and this week lost the argument on substance, in particular on the economy.

There's one real stand-out point which I think most people at home will have noted and that is when David Cameron said - in terms of supporting small and medium businesses, setting aside a substantial part of government contracts to help those businesses progress, as well... as cutting national insurance for new businesses for the first ten employees.

Proper policies to help grow the private sector, which of course is important in Northern Ireland, where at this election for the first time in a generation people here have a chance to vote for who will be the next prime minister.


One of the things that struck me was the body language. Gordon Brown seems to have forgotten the lesson of the first debate, which was that if you want to be seen as honest by people, you need to look straight into the camera at them.

Clegg did that for the first debate, Cameron learned that lesson, Brown learned it for the second debate but then forgot it again for the third debate. Another thing that struck me was that Brown and Clegg were both looking at whoever the other speaker was.


David Cameron frightened me. His economic policies, as far as I can see, would be disastrous as far as Northern Ireland is concerned.

We are not yet out of a recession and taking money out of the economy at the present time is foolhardy and you could easily end up in a double-dip recession.

I am just worried about his economic record. He basically seems to be consistently wrong and I think that if he had been in charge during recent years, we would actually be in a depression rather than a recession.


This debate, like the others, is very interesting, entertaining theatre for us political anoraks. I am not sure how it plays with the general public. In terms of offering hope to us as we set about with a new government restoring our broken economy, I found the whole thing decidedly underwhelming.

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