The EU debate - who won?

Related Stories

Much will be written about who won and who lost this debate. For what it's worth one instant poll hands it to Mr Farage. That, though, ignores the reason both men agreed to take part. They knew they could both be winners.

Nick Clegg relished the chance to present himself as the leader of "the party of IN", the man willing to stand up to UKIP's populism who is using his stance to appeal to Tory and Labour pro-Europeans to lend him their votes.

Nigel Farage saw this as an opportunity to establish that his party is part of the political premier league and that he is more than a man with a pint, a fag and a jokey soundbite. He too is counting on those in the bigger parties to vote for him to make their views on Europe plain.

Both men were confident. Neither stumbled. However, the UKIP leader looked vulnerable when challenged to justify his party's inflated claims on the scale of immigration and the cost of the EU. The Lib Dem leader looked least comfortable when trying to defend past promises that voters would get a referendum and would get EU reform.

Few voters were likely to be watching or listening weighing up whether to back Farage or Clegg. What the leaders of Britain's smaller parties want was the status of men prepared to stand up and fight for what they really believe.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

Is Conservative benefit freeze fair?

David Cameron defends a benefits freeze which will affect more than twice as many working families as workless families.

Read full article

More on This Story

Related Stories

Features & Analysis

Elsewhere on the BBC

  • FilmsOnes to watch

    BBC Culture picks nine top films coming out next month

Programmes

  • A computer simulation showing a planned station upgrade in Hong KongClick Watch

    Simulated world - how architects are using virtual and augmented reality to transform our cities

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.