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Lib Dems leadership special

  • Newsnight
  • 19 Nov 07, 05:22 PM

Nick Clegg and Chris HuhneOn Tuesday's Newsnight the two contenders for the Liberal Democrat leadership go head to head.

The race caught fire over the weekend after Chris Huhne's team dubbed his opponent "calamity Clegg" in a briefing paper. Mr Huhne then accused Mr Clegg of "flip-flopping" over policies. Mr Clegg has lodged a formal complaint with senior Lib Dem officials.

So, Tuesday's hustings promises to be a lively affair.

What do you want to hear from the two candidates? Post your questions and comments and we'll feed as many as we can into the debate.

And don't forget, there's loads more on the leadership race on the Big Fat Newsnight Politics Page.

Comments  Post your comment

  • 1.
  • At 06:21 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Just remind Nick Clegg that 16yr olds are not allowed on the(fighting) front line...the analogy drawn twixt 16yr olds having voting rights he conceded made the case for such

  • 2.
  • At 06:46 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Roger Crouch wrote:

I am a Liberal Democrat member in Bath and I would like to ask Nick Clegg to clarify his position on school vouchers. He has cried foul over the Huhne dossier but not refuted the allegation.

To Chris Huhne, I would like to know why he is willing to give voter's a right to veto unpopular legislation but is not prepared to allow a referendum on the EU treaty/constitution.

  • 3.
  • At 06:51 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • iain wrote:

after seeing the outburst on the politics show i'm amazed at just how usless Lib Dem leadership candidates are! Chris Huhne is a disgrace for sending out a document attacking his future leader in that way. I guarantee that both Labour and the Tories will now thanks to huhne will call Nick Clegg "calamity Clegg"

  • 4.
  • At 06:54 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Iain wrote:

I assume that Brian Kelly works for the Huhne camp and sent the original email to the politics show judging by that stupid statement at the top.

  • 5.
  • At 07:40 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • missmibs wrote:


  • 6.
  • At 07:43 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • missmibs wrote:



  • 7.
  • At 07:59 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • missmibs wrote:


£100K WILL DO....

  • 8.
  • At 10:16 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • EDWARD SYNGE wrote:

In the mid eighties I was that humblest of financial creatures,a mortgage broker.We made a clear decision never to use Northern Rock,in the three companies I worked for,for the following reaons.
1)Their rate was far too high 2)The % of property value was too high (3 The redemption terms were a joke 4) The admin was a nightmare.I cannot believe that many others were not aware of the shortcomings of this company.

  • 9.
  • At 10:17 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:

I have two questions, if that is OK.

Firstly, should I be leaving university in two years with probably more than £30,000 of debt?

Secondly, I will be seeing these two on saturday in manchester because I have an active interest in politics. Quite a few people here at university also do, but the majority or young people do not. Why should they? What can be done to encourage this?


  • 10.
  • At 10:43 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Robert Hover wrote:

I have a question. Why should I vote lib dem?

  • 11.
  • At 10:51 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Peter Douglas wrote:

Can either candidate support the provision of final salary pensions for public sector workers like me, when I retire at 60 years of age?

  • 12.
  • At 10:54 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • keith flett wrote:

Given that Mr Clegg and Mr Huhne are both middle aged clean shaven white men in suits I'd like to know if beards, and indeed, sandals, are still welcomed by the LibDems.

  • 13.
  • At 10:56 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Terry Freeman wrote:

I would like to ask both candidates if they can accept the fact that the Liberal Democrats cannot and will not win the next general election.
A simple YES/NO answer would suffice.

  • 14.
  • At 10:58 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Dave Oakley wrote:

There is only one matter the two contenders should be bothering themselves with and that is how to obtain more votes for the Lib Dems.
Please therefore ask them the following

My question for both candidates to answer is:

" With public confidence and trust in Parliamentary and Public institutions at an all time low, resulting in millions no longer bothering to vote, what specific policies on the probity and public accountability of these bodies will you commit to today that will reverse this apathy and enthuse disillusioned voters to support the Liberal Democrats? "

Please stress the questioner is only interested in specific policies and commitments not just meaningless fine words.

Thank you. I look forward with interest to the programme. As prospective leaders they should now be prepared to commit themselves and not just waffle. Please try for specific answers.

  • 15.
  • At 10:58 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Tim Pascall wrote:

Question to both candidates:
Do you believe in using the tax-system to redistribute earned and inherited wealth, or do you believe tax to be a bad thing which should therefore be reduced?

  • 16.
  • At 10:59 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Peter wrote:

My question: must we have these bland, irrelevant people and their bland, irrelevant party pollute the entirety of newsnight for an evening?

  • 17.
  • At 11:02 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • neil cohen wrote:

As a voluntary disability worker, I am baffled by what the government is tying to accomplish, by its reforms over incapacity benefit. Roughly 20,000 people,slightly higher than the newspapers published figures, have ailments that, yes really need to be refused. But this is not even a fraction of the 2.7 million claiming just a slight change in the form was needed to change this and consultation with B.M.A. is welcomed, but such Draconian measures are over the top and will result in many claims going into an appeal system which has DLA, immigration and many other claims in backlog. This will result in many people being disqualified benefit who need it. Mr Hain promised to listen to disablement charities before making changes, He clearly has not!
This looks like another bungling
situation the government has got itself into!

what would a lib dem leader do about this subject?

  • 18.
  • At 11:09 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • b t legg wrote:

Sir ,Regarding the troubles with Northen Rock ,I was a small investor with Railtrack it took the goverment little time to take control and suspend my shares resulting in losing most of my investment ,why was Northen Rock treated differently .
B T Legg .

  • 19.
  • At 11:13 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • George Mc Nally wrote:

Jeremy Thorpe, former leader of the Liberal Party, said in 1965 that the RAF should bomb the bridges into Ian Smith's Rhodesia.
Would either candidate bomb the same bridges into Mugabe's Zimbabwe?

  • 20.
  • At 11:16 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Mr Gorecki wrote:

Would either of the candidates describe themselves as socialists?

Would either of the candidates describe their party as a socialist party?

  • 21.
  • At 11:23 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Munir Shah wrote:

Questions for Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne

The Party boasts that it stands for equality and fairness but has no ethnic minority MPs and only two ethnic minority peers. It has not selected any ethnic minority candidates for any of its target seats while the Tories have selected 8.

The Party also appears to have no members BME communities in any any public elected office

So is the Party institutionally racist? If not are you in favour of positive action to address this problem?

  • 22.
  • At 11:35 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Dave Reed wrote:

Question for hustings:
A house price bubble has caused trouble in the US and something similar could happen here. As Chris Huhne is an expert on using tax to stabilise house prices by squeezing more building land onto the market and Nick Clegg has expressed interest in Site value rating for the same purpose, why is housing not a more prominent part of their debate?

  • 23.
  • At 11:36 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Mike Hanlon wrote:

Bit rich either of the leadership candidates talking about 'flip-flopping'.

They both promised a referendum on the EU Constitution at the last election.

Now, despite almost everyone saying the revised treaty is essentially the same thing, they've both gone back on that promise.

Perhaps you'd like to ask them; with the House of Commons European Scrutiny Committee concluding that the Reform Treaty is “substantially equivalent” to the original EU Constitution (even taking account of the ‘opt-in’s and the Protocol on the Charter) and the Lib Dem representative on that Committee (Richard Younger-Ross MP) consequently sticking to his treaty referendum promise, how can they credibly maintain that the so-called Reform Treaty is ‘different’ and does not require the referendum they promised at the last election?

Why do they think *they* are right, and the entire European Scrutiny Committee, along with their own party's representative on that committee, are wrong?

Are we seeing Tory-esque Lib Dem splits on Europe developing?

You might also like to ask each of them, if they become leader, will they allow their party’s MPs a free vote on the question of a referendum, when the treaty comes before Parliament for ratification?

  • 24.
  • At 11:44 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Mr Gorecki wrote:

Would either of the candidates describe themselves, as socialists?

Would either of the candidates describe their party as a socialist party?

  • 25.
  • At 11:52 PM on 19 Nov 2007,
  • Vicentina wrote:

Dear Readers,

I would like to comment on the global
Economy. If the world would apply the
rules of 1/10 - Tithes or offer to a good soil, - to the Ministry of Truth & Prosperity, the economy will explode to Billion Pounds yearly! There are Ministries with Supernatural Prosperity
that needs support to lift up the financial abundant to the higher level globally. It´s God that gives
power to get wealth. But if the world
forgets to offer, then the windows
close up! So it´s the same with the
global warming! There are natural & supernatural happenings on earth that we need to learn about it. Lend hands across
borders. Thanking you all!


  • 26.
  • At 12:08 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • paulus wrote:

If anything, Huhne seems slightly more " mature" and experienced than Clegg, and I therefore find it difficult to imagine Huhne being responsible for the Calamity matter... If anything again, Clegg would have more to gain from it..
However, it is so transparent and "thin" that Clegg would have to get used to far more unpleasant things coming his way in the real world of politics if he became the leader! His response of complaining to the lib-dem hierarchy is very sweet, but a long way from looking after yourself in the tough world
at Westminster...

  • 27.
  • At 12:25 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Charlotte Gore wrote:

Why doesn't everyone who calls themselves liberal vote Liberal Democrat?

  • 28.
  • At 12:34 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • paulus wrote:

No doubt I speak for many who agree with me that after years of Blairs, spinning, Irak, talking Tory heads,
and so on, the time is right for a major shift in British politics. Unfortunately the Lib-Dems themsdelves do not seem to realize this, because why else do they - in the eyes of especially the older and more "seasoned" voters - have two young nonentities. known to less than 1O% of the voters, fighting it out as though anybody really cared... ESPECIALLY now hat the current depute leader has been extremely impressive since taking over from Ming. Few people had ever heard of him,but he has been outstanding .charismatic, mature and
quite simply: it is a mystery how the Party can afford to overlook a man who represents all the Lib-Dems need at this moment of time....

Dear Newsnight,

Further to your interview, tonight, with Nick Clegg and Chris Huhne, you might care to ask them the following question:

”Given the Liberal Democrats policy of “giving power to people locally”, will you, as Leader of the Liberal Democrats, propose “A New Way Forward for Democracy in the 21st Century”, through local Internet Community Systems, whereby, in addition to local e-commerce, etc., citizens can propose and vote on matters of concern to them?”

By way of a background to this question, see .

Joe Rooney

  • 30.
  • At 01:51 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Hannah King wrote:

How does Nick Clegg reconcile his statement that, in education, 'you have to weight the funding heavily in favour of those children from the poorest backgrounds' with the manifesto commitments (for each of the last 3 years) of Liberal Democrat Councillors in his constituency that there shouold be a reduction in the disparity on education and other local government expenditure between the richest and poorest areas of the city?

  • 31.
  • At 02:31 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • H Knight wrote:

I live in a block of flats in Westminster. Most of the flats are owned by Banks and other City Institutions to accommodate their overseas employees who do not pay tax or national insurance in the UK. However, the owners do have to pay council tax on those flats. The Liberal Democrat proposal on Local Income Tax to replace Council Tax would mean that those institutions and occupiers would make no contribution to the cost of local services. The lost revenue would have to be met by increasing the local income tax of other residents. What's fair about that ?

  • 32.
  • At 08:56 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • PhilW wrote:

I believe Nick Clegg has spoken of aiming to elect 150 Lib Dem MPs within the next two general elections. In view of the party's current poll ratings, surely such a target is a complete fantasy?

  • 33.
  • At 09:13 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Bruce Standing wrote:

How would you persuade liberals to vote Liberal Democrat, leaving illiberals to vote Labour or Conservative?

  • 34.
  • At 10:29 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • David Hughes wrote:

Energy security doesn't seem to be an issue on which Liberal Democrats as a whole and the two candidates for the leadership in particular have much to say, yet many commentators describe climate chaos and peak oil as the twin catastrophes of the early 21st century. Nick Clegg has already proven that climate chaos is a negligible issue for him, whilst Chris Huhne has been a main architect of the Party's policy; in principle, we already know where they stand. Peak oil is different, we know nothing about the level of their concern or how they propose to act.

Please ask them:

(a) where they stand on the recent report by Energy Watch, backed by British environmental groups and independent geologists, that peak oil has arrived;
(b) what they think the effects of falling or static supplies are likely to be given the growth in demand worldwide, and how they would deal with the consequences, and
(c) given the worldwide growth in population, whether they think growing bio-fuels is a tenable endeavour (grain prices are already on the rise)?

  • 35.
  • At 10:40 AM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • peter macnab wrote:

Would someone ask Nick Clegg to answer the Question Andrew Neil posed - How can the leader of a party committed to parliamentary democracy take a personal decision to break the law regarding ID cards?

  • 36.
  • At 12:54 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Nick Thornsby wrote:

I have just thought of a third question- but I figured that the more I came up with the more chance of them being asked.

Is it acceptable that someone can now get from london to paris in less time than someone can get from manchester to london? Why does London get all the money for public transport- and can you blame anyone for flying so much?

  • 37.
  • At 02:27 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Richard Bowthrust wrote:

Does Newsnight have to broadcast this tedious Rotary club debate? Despite the possiblity of some really exciting flip-flopping, it is surely an opportunity for thinking viewers to catch up with some serious radio listening..

  • 38.
  • At 02:31 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Michael Grady wrote:

I would like to know the fundamental differences between the pair, aren't they just the same person?

  • 39.
  • At 02:35 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Andrew Spiller wrote:

As there is no practical likelihood of the party ever attaining sufficient political influence to effect any real change for the benefit of the country, how do the candidates change support for the Liberal Democrats into anything other than a squandered parliamnetary vote? Please answer the question rather than state "I don't accept that premise. . ." as history shows us that the Liberal vote has unfortunately disappeared down the political plughole, PR is a daydream and the 3rd party in 3 party politics appears rather like a spare usher at a wedding (unfortunately).

  • 40.
  • At 02:35 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • WILKINSON wrote:

I was born in 1945 and during my life I have seen the continuing decline in our health and education services. We have now reached the stage when it has been proved beyond any doubt that simply throwing money at the problem does not improve matters. What radical new thinking can the contestants bring to this disgraceful state of affairs?

  • 41.
  • At 02:37 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Dmytro Bojaniwskyj wrote:

Is it important for the LibDems to get into Downing Street if Labour and the Conservatives adopt LibDem policies?

A party exists to see its policies become part of the law and management of the country.

If the LibDems receive about 20 per cent of the popular vote and 50 to 70 seats at Westminster as a power base and see their policies adopted by the governing party (whichever it is), isn't that job done?

Is it an invitation to be more radical?

Is it also a gift some years down the line - you've voted for our policies, now vote for our party: the policies you like, implemented by the people who've thought of them and understand them best.

  • 42.
  • At 02:38 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Paul Qureshi wrote:

Was it a mistake to get rid of Charles Kennedy, who seem to be making good progress and was popular with the public?

  • 43.
  • At 02:39 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • morag egner wrote:

How long do both contestants should they be victorious consider they will be able to remain as leader of the Liberal Democrats as the party seems to have developed a penchant for change???

  • 44.
  • At 02:40 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Trevor wrote:

Dose it matter to anyone outside the party which one of you becomes leader?. If so why?

  • 45.
  • At 02:49 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Timothy Mullen wrote:

Will either or both Mr Clegg and Mr Huhne, if they are leader, give a categorical guarantee that they will never use their Party's House of Commons presence to create a Conservative Government in the event of a hung-Parliament or a narrow Conservative majority? And further, will they encourage their local councillors and councils to stop attacking the mainstream parties, and join those of us who are threatened by the BNP?

  • 46.
  • At 02:53 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Bernie R wrote:

The Home Office are currently attempting to force through an illiberal and counterproductive reversal of Mr Blunkett's reclassification of cannabis.

Cannabis is far safer than alcohol, which is legal and freely advertised and yet the Home Office want to significantly increase the penalties relating to cannabis. Prohibition has failed spectacularly, putting supply in the hands of criminals and failing to protect children, but the government have no other ideas about what to do.

There is no scientific support for the widespread myth that cannabis has recently become more dangerous.

Do either of the Lib Dem leadership candidates have the courage to speak truthfully about this?

What steps have they taken in relation to the recent, seriously flawed Home Office consultation on this issue?

  • 47.
  • At 02:53 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Cliff Carruthers wrote:

If individual votes are to count any more at general election time, we need some form of proportional representation (as in some constituent parts of the UK). What would each candidate propose to do to achieve this?

  • 48.
  • At 02:54 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • John Pritchard wrote:

To say that the Lib Dem leadership contest 'caught fire last week' is a stretch to far. At a push it might be fair to say that the contest became marginally interesting for a brief moment.

Suggested question:
How would you excite the apathetic voter to vote for you rather than your oppoenent - or in other words, what is the burning issue which separates you from your opponent?

  • 49.
  • At 02:55 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Idris Francis wrote:

Both of you are extremely keen on the EU - yet neither of you mentioned the word "Europe" even once on Question Times last week. Have you changed your minds - flip-flopped to coin a phrase - or are you still determined that Brussels should rule our lives?

Mr. Huhne campaigned for years for euro membership, telling us in detail how we would suffer if we failed to join. Will he now apologise, or does he still think he was right?

You are both keen on "localism". On issues more significant than cleaning bush shelters or drains, how does that square with your enthusiasm for Brussels controlling everything else?

Do you now finally accept that there ARE EU Banana Regulations - and indeed Cucumber regulations?

  • 50.
  • At 02:55 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • john killeen wrote:

Apart from proportional representation what other sensible ideas do the LibDems propound?

  • 51.
  • At 02:56 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • jez wrote:

was the debacle at the weekend staged by the Lib dems to ensure they received some publicity.
this is a race that no one has noticed was happening
now we do

  • 52.
  • At 03:05 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Dennis Mitchell wrote:

Does either Clegg or Huhne agree with the view of Vince Cable, acting LibDem leader, that Northern Rock should be nationalised?

  • 53.
  • At 03:06 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Brian J Dickenson wrote:

Do they really think think that the LIB-DEM'S have a realistic chance of being elected to govern the UK.
I think they have more chance of winning the lottery, that's only fourteen million to one.

  • 54.
  • At 03:08 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Roger Crowther wrote:

Question for the programme:

What attributes do you have that make you a more credible leader than Ming Campbell?

  • 55.
  • At 03:23 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • jane gould wrote:

can they give an honest answer to the question "why did each of them join the Lib Dems?" I suspect that the honest answer would probably be that their advancement in the main parties would not have been QUITE so speedy...
so can we agree then that any Lib Dem MP who can string together a reasonably coherent sentence and not appear completely barmy can have a decent shot at the leadership within 2 years of entering Parliament?

hi good day i would say any thing about the db i readed o n my mail what i would like 2 say here is that as a king listener of bbc;news i want bbc 2 talk or makes db with some of african country; one like cameroon we are sofrine here in my country. well i end here

  • 57.
  • At 03:39 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Madeleine Upton wrote:


Do you truly believe that 18-24 yr old voters, those who are at their most despondent and apathetic politically, are going to take either of you seriously after this weekend's television fiasco? As you're former leader's name was rather unfortunately the same as a derogatory slang term very familiar to this age group, do you think that the ‘school boy’ persona is really going to win us over?

Madeleine Upton

  • 58.
  • At 03:43 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • David Brook wrote:

Does it matter who wins?

  • 59.
  • At 03:44 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Paula Varley wrote:

Isn't a vote for the Lib Dems a wasted vote in a General Election?

How will make any difference to anyone which of the two contenders is elected?

Isn't it utterly irrelevant?

  • 60.
  • At 03:59 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • ann senior wrote:

Why is it that the Liberal Democrats have lost their way?

Since ousting Charles Kennedy and the subsequent leader Menzies Campbell, The Liberal Democrats seem to be on a path of self-destruction and inevitable obscurity.

At least Charles Kennedy, with or without his failings, had a high profile. I don'tknow who the Liberal democrats are any more.

  • 61.
  • At 04:00 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Eduardo Reyes wrote:

As a Lib Dem, I'm aware there's a strain of thought in the party that Lib Dems can and should sound tough on law and order issues, whilst supporting more liberal policies that they know to work. Surely, this doesn't put us in a tenable position, and also undermines the progressive agenda we are trying to shape?

  • 62.
  • At 04:03 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Paul Evans wrote:

Are we expected to take either candidate seriously when they appear to have such loathing for members of their own party. This is even before they are even elected to government. Can anyone be surprised at the total dis-interest shown by the majority of the public in everyday politics when supposedly educated and intelligent people conduct themselves in this way.

  • 63.
  • At 04:06 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • dale singleton wrote:

In the event of a hung parliament,
in what circumstances would
either candidate form a coalition with
labour or conservatives?

  • 64.
  • At 04:09 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • dale singleton wrote:

In the event of a hung parliament,
in what circumstances would
either candidate form a coalition with
labour or conservatives?

  • 65.
  • At 04:09 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • John Froude wrote:

I am 61 and have voted (Lib, SDP, LibDem) at every opportunity (since I was 21). Yet my vote has always been pointless since, wherever I was living, it was always in an area with a massive majority for one of the other parties.

Have either of the candidates any ideas on how to progress the Proportional Voting aganda?

I would like to ask both candidates to confirm that they havent forgotten the word "senior citizens", "pensioners" or whatever. It's a phrase that is almost extinct from politicians vocabulary. Will they please bear in mind that many of us have lost the value of our pensions, many of us live alone at home and the quality of our lives is never addressed in quite the same way that parents with young children are acknowledged. Many of us have reached the point of feeling that whether or not our vote counts, it does absolotely nothing for us.

They keep on about "changing politics" (presumably for the better).
How can anything substantial change when they, like all PARTY politicians, are locked into a mutually accepted and acceptable, self perpetuating, game at Westminster? SPOIL PARTY GAMES.

  • 68.
  • At 04:15 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Hugh Devlin wrote:

To both candidates: Since New Labour as been in government our taxes have gone up across the board leaving us the tax payer less money in our pockets to spend. What are you going to do about this?

  • 69.
  • At 04:42 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Brian Clements wrote:

Ask each what support they, as Leader, would like from the other and alternatively what contribution they would like to make in the event of the other becoming Leader.

  • 70.
  • At 04:49 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Jilano wrote:

How can either condidate make the Lib Dems relevant? Most people just view recent antics as light hearted amusement. Can they do anything to turn Britain into a 3 party state?

  • 71.
  • At 04:51 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • L Sumray wrote:

Does Mr Clegg believe that issuing education vouchers to those who are able to chose private education for their children,is the answer to the education disaster in this country?
Surely our horrifically divisive public school system which favours those who can afford it and all the benefits asociated with it, is sufficient explanation of the abysmal state school results.
Vouchers would only increase advantages for them.

Public schools and possibly other fee paying schools are already exempt from paying tax on account of their so called "Charity Status".

  • 72.
  • At 04:58 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Valerie Twiss wrote:

The Lib Dem party has been the only major party in recent years to support a change in the law that would make it possible for doctors to help end the lives of those who are terminally ill, suffering unbearably, who have only six months to live, and who have repeatedly asked for medical assistance to die. The Green Party now also supports such a change in the law. What are Clegg's and Huhne's views on such medically assisted dying?

  • 73.
  • At 05:01 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Veronica Goddard wrote:

In my mail last week I had campaign literature from Chris Huhne. detailing his plans should he be elected leader.
In my mail today I received mail from Nick Clegg, containing 6 photos of him in various poses, at various locations. My question is:
What does Mr Clegg consider to be the more important consideration in choosing a leader - personal looks or depth of conviction?

  • 74.
  • At 05:14 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • David Constantine wrote:

do the words econometric or environmetric mean anyting to them?

and do they think anyone will ever speek them in public anytime soon?

  • 75.
  • At 05:20 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • H King wrote:

Nick Clegg's wife is Spanish and has always been required by law to have an Identity Card. Nick Clegg has a Passport and Identity Cards for the House of Commons and the European Parliament. If he shops at TESCO, they know more about him than any Government department.
What's his problem with Identity Cards ?

  • 76.
  • At 05:29 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Brian Kelly wrote:

Question to both...why has your party renaged on your Party mandate in the 2005 GE to hold referendum on the EU Constitution/Treaty?

If you are elected ldeader, what job, if any, would you give to your opponent?

  • 78.
  • At 05:54 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Oliver Mishcon wrote:

How can Chris Hulme weedle out of the offensive description of his opponent by claiming he was unaware of it?

Either he is incomptetent (for not effectively managing his campaign team) or untrustworthy (it seems almost incredible that this document could have slipped out without him being aware of it)

  • 79.
  • At 06:00 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Ray Snape wrote:

The question I would like to see posed to the candidates is this:

In light of their inexperience and ineptitude, should the candidates jointly invite Charles Kennedy to run unopposed; and as an inferior alternative, if Kennedy is not interested, hand the reins to the competent Vince Cable.

  • 80.
  • At 06:09 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • John Hopkins wrote:

I would like to ask Nick Clegg why he has changed his mind about the need for a referendum on the EU Constitution, which he said was essential in the following Guardian article in 2003.,,1063529,00.html

I would also like to ask Chris Huhne if he regards this change from Nick Clegg on the EU treaty as an example of 'flip flopping' and if he will rule out a 'flip flop' of his own by voting in the Commons for a referendum as per the commitment given in the 2005 Liberal Democrat manifesto.

Do we care who wins? I don't. None of them are ever likely to get elected. However, it will make entertaining television seeing the two fight it out!

  • 82.
  • At 06:29 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • GARRY LLOYD wrote:

In the event of a hung parliament, would either candidate as Leader of the Lib Dems enter a coalition with a David Cameron led Conservative Party?

  • 83.
  • At 06:30 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Paul Daniel wrote:

Both candidates promised in their manifesto to support a referendum for the British people to decide whether they should accept the UK being bound by a new EU Constitution. The Constitution is now upon us (although the name has been changed to the Treaty of Lisbon) but both candidates have now renaged upon their promises along with Gordon Brown and are against a referendum.
Given this blatant deceipt, why should I believe anything else that they say ever again?
I may be naive but I expect British politicians to tell the truth. If politicians will not do what they promise to do then all their fine words are just hot air. How can they now expect to be taken seriously by anyone about anything?

  • 84.
  • At 06:32 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • nick ruddock wrote:

Like most of the Country, one assumes, I wish to think of myself as being of liberal thought, deed and action; and indeed our present Government do have an over ordered mentality with respect to how our behaviour is diagnosed, and the consequential decisions ordered by the Administrative Civil Service, which THEY put into Law. But is not this an aspect of the mechanistic/software constructs in which data is correlated and disbursed to us mortals these days. Is it not the tendency in this computer ordered 21st Century, and would be the same under any Political Regime. The previous Government had similar tendencies.

However, the Liberal (Democratic) Party, historically the Whigs, have never been in power during present day conditions of Universal Suffrage, ie, the vote. The freedoms so many hark back to; nostalgically regretting our eighteenth and nineteenth century historical progressions to the present day, truly refer to periods when these freedoms were really only applicable to the 'millionaire class', not farm worker, tradesman, shop-keeper, etc.

Hence Question? >

  • 85.
  • At 06:32 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Karen Mutch wrote:

The person who has really imporessed me since Ming Campbell resigned is Vince Cable - would the present candidates stand aside and make way for him?

  • 86.
  • At 07:19 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Trevor Rea wrote:

Given that most people accept that your party will not win the next election what exactly is the point of the Liberal Democrats if you are simply a pale imitation of the other two parties?

If you are elected leader what radical new policies do you plan to bring forward to differentiate the Liberal Democrats from Labour and the Conservatives and appeal to voters disillusioned by the rise of the nanny state.

  • 87.
  • At 07:30 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • nick ruddock wrote:

No84 in the blogs - I highly recommend this approval of Vince Cable, whom I have also discovered on Parliamentary Channel over the weekend,(speaking in an almost empty Chamber, about two Labour members, but quite a few Conservatives, and fewer Liberals), he questioned the Government on how much actual equity existed in the Northern Rock asset side of the balance sheet. Because many claim the Government, has not only given away the Family Allowances for the whole year to Russian computer criminals, @ what, £20.00 per child; they don't actually own the 'assets' but have loaned these Jordy charlatans billions of UK taxpayers receipts. Effectively bankrupting the Nation for the foreseeable future! Sack them! We require a vote of 'No Confidence'.
Vince Cable for Prime Minister - yeah!

  • 88.
  • At 07:51 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Roy Margetts wrote:

As a Party member, I would like to know if both candidates have now abandoned LibDem policy to avoid negative campaigning?

  • 89.
  • At 08:10 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • claire margetts wrote:

I would like to ask the candidates what they consider to be the three most important qualities for a Party Leader.

  • 90.
  • At 08:22 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Laurence Cox wrote:

I have a question for Chris, which I hope Mr Paxman will ask. I emailed Chris this question nearly two weeks ago (I am a Party member) but he has not given me the courtesy of a reply or even an acknowlegement.

Chris' manifesto commits himself to opposing the building of a new generation of Trident submarines, but he will not rule out the replacement of Trident with a new nuclear deterrent.

Article 36 of the first Additional Protocol to the 1949 Geneva Conventions states:

"In the study, development, acquisition or adoption of a new weapon, means or method of warfare, a High Contracting Party is under an
obligation to determine whether its employment would, in some or all
circumstances, be prohibited by this Protocol or by any other rule of
international law applicable to the High Contracting Party."

Three of the legal principles that need to be considered are:

whether it will cause long-term, widespread and severe damage to the
natural environment;
whether it is of a nature to cause unnecessary suffering and
superfluous injury;
whether it is capable of being used discriminately;

As any new, nuclear weapon would fail these tests (they are called weapons of mass destruction after all), will Chris say whether he would tear up our most sacred international convention, just to continue to have a meaningless deterrent.

  • 91.
  • At 08:29 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Andy Williams wrote:

As a party member, I would like to ask the candidates:

What is the worst thing the opposition (Tories/Labour) can discover about your past?

  • 92.
  • At 09:04 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Katy Gordon wrote:

I think Chris Huhne's behaviour on the Politics Show on Sunday was appalling. He should have apologised immediately for the 'Calamity Clegg'material, even if he hadn't seen it before. He then continued to imply that Nick Clegg was weak on a whole range of policy issues which he must know is not true. It smacked of the desperation of a candidate who thinks he is going to lose. It did him no favours. The sad thing is I think Chris Huhne is a very good Environment spokesperson and has excellent contributions to make on policy. However, instead of manufacturing differences, he should be fighting on what the real differences are. Although I suppose this may mean he doesn't feel he can win on these: Nick Clegg is a better communicator, more outward looking, more likely to engage with voters (a la Charles Kennedy) and has the backing of most MPs. My question is: why does Chris Huhne think adopting smear tactics will convince party members to vote for him?

  • 93.
  • At 09:27 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • gordon taylor wrote:

what makes either of the candidates think that they are any different to the other so called leaders of the tories and new labour, or in fact to the other failed leaders of the libdems

  • 94.
  • At 09:44 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Steve Reynolds wrote:

These are too strong candidates, but the campaign has been bitter.

Will the successful candidate agree to give the runner-up a high profile Lib Dem Shadow Cabinet post if they win the Leadership?

  • 95.
  • At 10:18 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Mary Fallon wrote:

The reality at the next election is that the Liberal Democrats may have to form a minority control administration as the two others will refuse to respect their promises to be honourable in introducing a fair anmd democratic PR system into the Westminster parliamentary elections.........which of the two candidates for the leadership will be the most realistic and effective in taking on the role of Prime Minister?

  • 96.
  • At 10:22 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Dr.A.Fernandes-Vidal wrote:

To Nick and Chris:
What will the party do -- supposing that at the next elections will be a hang Parliament -- in relation to:
1) Support to the main parties concerning the Iraq -- and the ever close possibility of Iran -- wars?
2) The changing of ways to vote, i.e. first pass the post versus proportional representation?

  • 97.
  • At 11:10 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • Martyn Laycock wrote:

What a shambles of a 'debate', squabbling by the two contenders does NOTHING to help the Lib Deb cause, all this encouraged by unusually poor chairmanship, JP clearly ad-libbing and allowing up to 100 word answers when ONE word was requested. No-one came out of this with any credibility.

  • 98.
  • At 11:17 PM on 20 Nov 2007,
  • jackie duckworth wrote:

How can anyone really contemplate voting for the lib dems when the arguments are so apparently so divided. The party is obviously not a united one. To the ' general public' this is not a persuasion to vote lib dem. How can a 'professional ' party think that this was a good idea to contest their leadership on the national television?.
P.S .I am a Labour voter with thoughts as " Are labour the best thing at the moment " "Perhaps they are!!!!!!!.

  • 99.
  • At 07:42 AM on 21 Nov 2007,
  • David Walker wrote:

Why on why did you use the old libdem logo on your studio graphics. It was changed years ago. Come on BBC get your act together.

  • 100.
  • At 10:00 PM on 21 Nov 2007,
  • Barnyard wrote:


  • 101.
  • At 03:03 PM on 22 Nov 2007,
  • margaret wrote:

My comment on this story would be to ask "WHO????"

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