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Page last updated at 07:59 GMT, Friday, 23 April 2010 08:59 UK

Parties claim success in second leaders' debate

All three major parties have claimed success in last nights' televised leaders' debate.

Speaking on today's programme the Danny Alexander, chief-of-staff to Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, said that the election had been "blown wide open" by the two debates. He told Today presenter John Humphrys that Mr Clegg performed well in the debate, taking a strong position on all the key policies.

But Mr Alexander added that there is "a sense of real fear on the other sides, especially from the Conservatives.

"This election is now a battle between hope and fear."

The shadow foreign secretary William Hague told the programme that there is an "overwhelming appetite for change in the country" with all three parties being taken seriously over scrutiny.

But he rejected as "absolute nonsense" claims that his party had been guilty of attempting to smear Mr Clegg by passing on information about the Liberal Democrat leader's campaign political financing to the media.

And he added: "This is not the X Factor deciding who's won something on an instant basis. Who's going to govern the country over the next five years is a much more serious decision than that.

"If we had a three-party parliament we would have a lot of haggling and bickering."

Earlier on the programme Labour's campaign co-ordinator Douglas Alexander insisted that Labour could still win a fourth term in power. "These polls will bounce around. This election is now wide open," he said.

"We are neither contemplating or planning for defeat. We have seen a huge change in the polls in the last couple of weeks, who knows where we will be on polling day. We are working for a majority on May 6."

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