Farage v Clegg – the verdict

Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg Wednesday night's clash between Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg followed an earlier debate last week

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The self-proclaimed leader of "the people's army" can relish his victory.

Nigel Farage - whose party was once dismissed as a home for fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists - has established himself as a big beast in the political jungle.

Some feared, others hoped he would struggle to survive for two hours toe-to-toe in live debate with the deputy prime minister. They were wrong.

So does that mean that Nick Clegg's idea to challenge him to debate has backfired and done so badly? Not necessarily.

The Lib Dem leader saw this as an opportunity to present himself as the man with the guts not just to speak up for Britain's membership of the EU but to stand up for modern Britain.

Before this debate his party stood at 10% or less in the polls. His hope will be to gain the backing of some of the many more who want Britain to stay in Europe and who reject UKIP's other views on immigration, working women or gay marriage

History will record that Nigel Farage was the winner of these debates. Nick Clegg will hope that, nevertheless, he may have won something too by being seen to challenge Britain's political insurgent.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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