Nick Clegg v Nigel Farage debate on UK and the EU

Key Points

  • Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg and UK Independence Party leader Nigel Farage went head-to-head in hour-long debate
  • The two men debated whether the UK should be in or out of the EU - clashing over immigration and extradition laws
  • There were also disputes over the numbers of jobs in the UK which depend on membership of the UK

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  1.  
    21:24:

    That brings an end to our rolling coverage of tonight's debate. Coverage of the post-debate reaction continues across the BBC. Thanks for joining us and hope you'll be tuning in next Wednesday at 19:00 GMT for the rematch, when Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage go head-to-head in a debate hosted by the BBC.

     
  2.  
    21:19:

    "They couldn't bear to look at each other, eyes fixed firmly on the studio audience or TV cameras." Read BBC political correspondent Eleanor Garnier's verdict.

     
  3.  
    21:16: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    tweets: Labour voters split over #lbcdebate . 51% think Nick Clegg won. 42% think Nigel Farage won

     
  4.  
    21:14: Nadine Dorries, Conservative MP

    tweets: After tonight, it will be impossible for the three party leaders to exclude Farage from the televised GE leadership debates

     
  5.  
    Louise Mensch Former Conservative MP

    tweets: So I got my wish! They both lost. #CleggFail #FarageFail #CleggvFarage #LBCDebate

     
  6.  
    21:09:

    So what did the two contenders think about the debate? Deputy PM and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg said: "I enjoyed it very much... I'll let other people judge." Nigel Farage said he enjoyed it too - "it was great- we were actually having an opportunity to discuss things that those of us in the eurosceptic movement have cared very much about for decades".

     
  7.  
    21:05: Michael White The Guardian

    tweets: #LBCdebate Interesting to see if Nigel Farage's throwaway,pro-Putin line on Ukraine ("blood on EU hands") will be the slow burn issue

     
  8.  
    21:04: Lib Dem MEP Ed McMillan-Scott

    tweets: Having just been at #Obama's brilliant Brussels speech on Ukraine, I deplore Farage's 'blood on the EU's hands' comment on #LBCdebate

     
  9.  
    21:02: Nick Smith London, UK

    tweets: The EU cant even agree on what to do about Russia with possible sanctions, Europe will never be united on anything. #CleggvFarage

     
  10.  
    21:02:

    The Daily Mail's Andrew Pierce says on Sky News that the pressure will be on David Cameron to include Nigel Farage in the general election leaders debates after this.

     
  11.  
    20:54:

    The Daily Mail's Andrew Pierce says he's "not surprised by the margin Nigel Farage won by" on Sky News.

     
  12.  
    20:52: Bernard Flower Leeds, England

    emails: Many eurosceptics would settle for the Common Market that was voted for in the last referendum. The Federalism that is now the EU was never part of the deal. The UK and other countries should have the right to self-determination.

     
  13.  
    Eddy Deeside, Flintshire

    emails: Has anyone thought about the millions of British that are living and working elsewhere in Europe and the rest of the world. Do they all have to come back? I lived and worked in Germany, Switzerland and Austria for 11 years whilst the UK unemployment levels were high!

     
  14.  
    20:50:

    Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Ashworth adds a reminder that Labour would offer an in/out referendum on the EU, but only if there is a major transfer of powers in the future. Labour leader Ed Miliband has said that this is in practice unlikely.

     
  15.  
    20:50:

    Labour's Jon Ashworth tells the BBC News channel that the debate was entertaining, and at times amusing, but not always relevant. People are struggling to pay their bills, but neither Nick Clegg nor Nigel Farage have any answers to that, he argued.

     
  16.  
    20:49:

    Conservative minister Anna Soubry has defended David Cameron's decision not to take part in the EU debate, saying it was not "really of any relevance at all - the real question is who can deliver what I think the British public want and what they want is the opportunity to have a referendum."

     
  17.  
    20:46: R. Jackson Yeovil, UK

    emails: Any leader needs to demonstrate courage and Nick Clegg certainly did that in taking on Nigel Farage. He made a great unambiguous argument for our continuing membership of the EU.

     
  18.  
    20:46:

    The member of the audience who asked about open borders says she is pro-EU, but feels that Nigel Farage came out on top in the debate. Another questioner, who says she is undecided on the EU, tells the BBC News channel that she too feels that Mr Farage edged Nick Clegg to second place.

     
  19.  
    20:44:

    Nigel Farage, asked how he felt the debate had gone as he left, said he "found Mr Clegg to be very evasive". When asked if he was off to the pub, he replied "I'm not off to church."

     
  20.  
    20:41: Dave Graham West Yorkshire, UK

    emails: Nigel Farage made some very good points. I think he was definitely the strongest of the two. Clegg seemed to look worried at some points.

     
  21.  
    20:41: Mark Schafer Weybridge, Surrey

    emails: I think Nigel Farage makes the most sense with his views and that freedom from Brussels is the right way forward for Great Britain.

     
  22.  
    20:37: Sky News' Zoe Stern

    tweets: The winner is clearly @NickFerrariLBC. Am left deeply confused about @Nigel_Farage flying flag for Putin.

     
  23.  
    20:37:

    Sky News' Joey Jones says "Nick Clegg was desperate to ignore Nigel Farage" throughout the debate.

     
  24.  
    The Guardian's Michael White

    tweets: #LBCdebate. In 1960 Nixon won presidential debate with radio audience, but lost to polished JFK on TV. Too sweaty ( Farage too?)

     
  25.  
    20:29: Andy Southampton

    emails: What happens if the people of Britain decide to leave the EU after the Referendum? Will the Govt do it, or is it all talk and no substance....

     
  26.  
    20:28: Executive editor of ConservativeHome Mark Wallace

    tweets: Confess I'm surprised by that snap poll result - I'd have chalked it a score draw, 1-1

     
  27.  
    20:28: Kenneth Conroy at the debate

    emailed: Sitting in the Audience here at the LBC radio station and I'm finding that Nigel Farage is making more of an effort to engage with the audience than Nick Clegg via eye contact, jokes and smiles.

     
  28.  
    20:26:

    Pollster Peter Kellner says on Sky News that only about one in four people want to leave the EU.

     
  29.  
    20:24:

    The Press Association report that a YouGov poll of 1,003 voters, suggests 57% thought that Nigel Farage had performed best in this evening's LBC debate and 36% Nick Clegg.

     
  30.  
    20:22: The Daily Mail's James Chapman

    tweets: 'The truth is it was a score draw,' says Andrew Mitchell. He's right

     
  31.  
    20:21: The Huffington Post's Mehdi Hasan

    tweets: So, what's left for the BBC next week? Will Dimbleby ask Farage about his supposedly English-free train journeys?

     
  32.  
    20:21: Tim Shipman Deputy Political Editor, Daily Mail

    tweets: Both Tories and Labour have started suggesting general election debate could be just Dave v Ed. #NickvNigel reinforces that possibility

     
  33.  
    20:21: The Spectator's Isabel Hardman

    tweets: A lot of this debate has been 'my facts are better than your facts'. Confusing.

     
  34.  
    20:21:

    On Sky News Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell says that there needs to be a "serious re-negotiation" of Britain's EU membership.

     
  35.  
    20:20:

    Conservative MP Andrew Mitchell says, on Sky News, the debate was a "score draw".

     
  36.  
    20:20:

    Labour's Jon Ashworth says on Sky Newshis party sees Britain's future as being in Europe.

     
  37.  
    20:16:

    Labour MP Jon Ashworth tells Sky News the debate was an "amusing sideshow" from more important issues.

     
  38.  
    20:15:

    "It's a very exiting moment for UKIP, which has taken leadership of the enormous Eurosceptic majority in the country," Patrick O'Flynn says.

     
  39.  
    Lib Dems Official Twitter account

    tweets: Labour and the Conservatives will do nothing to stop us from leaving Europe. A vote for either party is a wasted vote. #NickvNigel

     
  40.  
    20:14:

    Patrick O'Flynn says his boss made the point very clearly that "you don't need to be a member of the EU to trade with the EU".

     
  41.  
    20:13:

    Lib Dem Chief Treasury Secretary Danny Alexander, meanwhile, witnessed a "powerful authoritative performance from Nick Clegg".

     
  42.  
    20:13:

    Not surprisingly, UKIP director of communications Patrick O'Flynn says: "It was a very clear win for Nigel Farage."

     
  43.  
    20:12:

    Lib Dem president Tim Farron - seen by some as a future Lib Dem leadership contender - tells Sky News Nick Clegg needs to be "even bolder" when making the pro-European case in the future.

     
  44.  
    The Guardian's Andrew Sparrow

    tweets: The Clegg v Farage debate - My snap verdict - Points win for Farage

     
  45.  
    20:10:

    "If I had been at home I might have been watching the football," says Eurosceptic Conservative MP Peter Bone. It was a "boring" debate, he said. He denies privately rooting for Nigel Farage, arguing that the only way to get an EU referendum was by voting for David Cameron.

     
  46.  
    20:08:

    Conservative MP John Redwood tells Sky News the proposition that leaving the EU would cost three million jobs is a "simple lie".

     
  47.  
    20:07: Sunder Katwala Director, British Future

    tweets: Best advice for Nick Clegg for BBC next week. You're allowed max of 3 facts in the whole hour. Choose well + people may remember #LBCDebate

     
  48.  
    20:07:

    On Twitter, the Lib Dem press office has, surprise, surprise, declared victory.

     
  49.  
    20:05: Beth Amanda Ormrod Manchester, UK

    tweets: What about British citizens who get the amazing opportunity to work/study abroad? #whyiamIN

     
  50.  
    20:05:

    Blogger Harry Cole, on Sky TV, describes the debate as a "no score draw", but says Nigel Farage "held his own at the top table of British politics".

     
  51.  
    20:03:

    "You sense both men actually would feel they did okay," the BBC's Norman Smith says, but there were no knockout blows.

     
  52.  
    20:02:

    Off to the spin room - where journalists and party officials and spin doctors react to the debate. BBC News channel chief political correspondent Norman Smith says it was "an hour of fairly ferocious debate".

     
  53.  
    20:00: Jean-Paul Dimier Gosport

    emails: Why do Switzerland & Norway, both small countries, have less unemployment and the strongest economies in Europe although they are not part of the EU?

     
  54.  
    20:00:

    Nigel Farage: "Nick represents a tired status quo, that leaves us totally unfit to compete in the 21st century. The best people to govern Britain are the British people themselves."

     
  55.  
    20:00:

    The following debate topics are trending on Twitter in the UK: Human Rights Act, European Arrest Warrant and ECHR.

     
  56.  
    19:59:

    Closing statements. Nick Clegg first. British jobs are at stake here, he says. "I want us to be Great Britain, not little England."

     
  57.  
    19:58:

    Next question: why is Ukraine keen to build ties with the EU? Nick Clegg says the EU has helped to promote peace and democracy. But Nigel Farage says the bloc has become imperialist and expansionist. "The EU has blood on its hands in the Ukraine," he declares.

     
  58.  
    19:58:
    Nick Clegg Nick Clegg addressed his answers to the TV audience, looking straight at the camera
     
  59.  
    19:56:

    Few politicians have worked as many hours and had as little fun as me, Nigel Farage says, and he couldn't have done it without the support of his wife.

     
  60.  
    19:56: Catherine Collins Essex, UK

    emails: Trade will not stop between us or anyone else in the world, I don't believe for one moment. Does Nick Clegg really think the Germans will not sell their cars, I don't think so.

     
  61.  
    19:54:

    The next question is on trust. Nick Clegg reneged on his promise about tuition fees, the questioner notes, and Nigel Farage employed his wife on expenses.

     
  62.  
    19:54:

    Nigel Farage looks to be stifling laughter as Nick Clegg speaks.

     
  63.  
    19:54:

    "The House of Commons library is going to know better than Nigel Farage how many of our laws are generated here in Britain," Nick Clegg says. "Their estimate is 7%."

     
  64.  
    19:52:

    "What are you on about?" Nigel Farage asks Nick Clegg. The two men are disputing the proportion of UK laws that are made in Brussels. It's just 7%, says Mr Clegg. Even the European Commission accepts it is 70%, Mr Farage says.

     
  65.  
    19:51: Matthew Hutton Oxford, UK

    emails: If we leave the EU and still want to trade with the rest of the EU then we'd still have to follow all of the trade rules that Brussels makes - just like Norway has to - except we wouldn't get any say in them at all.

     
  66.  
    19:50:

    Farage trending worldwide on Twitter

     
  67.  
    19:50:

    "I don't agree with Nick," Nigel Farage has declared, reversing the 2010 election debates catchphrase.

     
  68.  
    19:50:
    The debate audience Just ten minutes left for the audience at tonight's debate
     
  69.  
    19:48: Thomas Bell London, UK

    emails: As someone who has been at the mercy of a skilled work points system in North America, I can tell you it is no substitute for the true freedom of movement that is currently enjoyed within the EU.

     
  70.  
    19:48: David Barnett Edgware, London

    emails: Isn't the real answer that they are both right to some extent and that we want to be in the EU but not run by the EU. I am a Conservative voter, not UKIP

     
  71.  
    19:47:

    The warrant has led to some absurdly illiberal outcomes, Nigel Farage says, but Nick Clegg argues that it has helped convict a large number of murderers and paedophiles.

     
  72.  
    19:46:

    Nigel Farage accepts that international cooperation is needed on cross-border crime, and highlights the work of Interpol - he attacks the European Arrest Warrant.

     
  73.  
    19:44:

    The European convention on human rights has nothing to do with the European Union, Nick Clegg says, belonging instead to a different international organisation: the Council of Europe.

     
  74.  
    19:43:

    #LBCdebate and Clegg are now trending Worldwide on Twitter

     
  75.  
    19:43:

    Nigel Farage is keen to engage with the studio audience, making eye contact with many of those in the room. Nick Clegg has resolutely been addressing the TV audience at home, but now turns to the next questioner, who has asked about EU cooperation on justice matters.

     
  76.  
    19:43: Gregg Webb

    tweets: Great point from Nick - if UKIP were properly standing up for UK in Brussels, they'd actually turn up and vote. #LBCDebate #NickvNigel

     
  77.  
    19:43: Sky News presenter, Kay Burley,

    tweets: Luke warm applause from the audience. You only have 20mins left to land a knockout blow chaps #LBCDebate #NickvNigel

     
  78.  
    19:43:
    Europe debate Nick Clegg used a UKIP campaign leaflet to illustrate a point in the debate
     
  79.  
    19:40: Sunny Hundal Political Commentator

    tweets: Farage far clearer and sharper in his answers. He likes and enjoys debate. After this Cameron won't want him in Leader's Debates at all #LBC

     
  80.  
    19:39:

    Moderator Nick Ferrari is challenging some figures in UKIP campaign literature. The £55m a day cost of membership does not factor in rebates, he says, suggesting that this would make it much lower. Nigel Farage denies this, arguing that the true figure is actually much higher.

     
  81.  
    19:38:

    UKIP now trending on Twitter in the UK

     
  82.  
    19:38: Carl,

    tweets: #ukip #clegg its about neck and neck i think clegg might be edging it but only by a whisker.

     
  83.  
    19:38: Stuart Wrexham, UK

    emails: The whole debate seems to be focused on workers, what about the massive amount of money we give to the EU when we have real problems here that this money could solve???

     
  84.  
    19:38: Sid Cordle , Christian People's Alliance London, UK

    emails: Could we be told whether or not it is agreed that our fishermen would be better off outside the EU? Which businesses specifically would lose out by us leaving the EU?

     
  85.  
    19:37:

    "We need a government that believes in Britain," Nigel Farage says. "We've got to have a global future for Britain, not one shackled to the EU."

     
  86.  
    19:37:

    But Nigel Farage takes issue with this. Our membership of the EU makes it harder to get good trade deals, he says. "Not true," Nick Clegg mutters repeatedly as the UKIP man talks.

     
  87.  
    19:37:

    There is a "fundamental flaw" to UKIP's vision, Nick Clegg declares. We would never be able to cut the same trade deals with countries like the US and Japan outside the EU, he says.

     
  88.  
    19:34:

    "Like everybody at Westminster, you've never run your own company," Nigel Farage says. "Trade is not something created by politicians and bureaucrats, trade is created by consumers," he declares. The only people likely to lose jobs if the UK leaves the EU would be officials in Brussels, he says.

     
  89.  
    19:31:

    Nigel Farage is looking thoroughly exasperated by the Lib Dem leader's arguments. "Why should we sacrifice a single job to UKIP dogma?" Nick Clegg asks.

     
  90.  
    19:29: Tom Brake MP Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington, Deputy Leader of the House of Commons

    tweets: Do you want a closed country and higher unemployment? That is what Nigel Farage would achieve if Britain left the EU. #NickvNigel

     
  91.  
    19:29:

    "Why would we pull ourselves out of the world's largest economy?" Nick Clegg says, staring intently down the TV camera's lens. Nigel Farage, by contrast, is directing his remarks at debate host Nick Ferrari.

     
  92.  
    19:29: John Davies Frome, UK

    tweets: Clegg is missing the point, people can come to the UK if they offer skilled work, points system, its not simply shut the door #TeamNigel

     
  93.  
    19:28: Terry Prett, in London,

    tweets: Wish we had a sweepstake going on how many times Clegg would use the phrases "pull up the drawbridge" or "play by the rules".

     
  94.  
    19:28:

    That point about the windfarm jobs depending on EU membership is disputed by Nigel Farage. Some companies would invest more in the UK if they did not have to deal with burdensome EU regulations, he argues.

     
  95.  
    19:26: Sunder Katwala Director, British Future

    tweets: Nick Clegg 'what real facts show' approach will work for those who already agree, but will struggle to engage unpersuaded centre #LBCDebate

     
  96.  
    19:26:

    "Of course we should prioritise skills training to British youngsters," Nick Clegg says. But companies like Siemens, which recently announced that they were going to create 1,000 jobs via the creation of an offshore windfarm, would not invest in the UK if it left the EU, he argues.

     
  97.  
    19:25:

    Next question: Would there be a skills-shortage if we leave the EU? No, says Nigel Farage: we could easily get the skills we lack from elsewhere in the world with a reformed system of work permits.

     
  98.  
    19:25: Iain Watson Political correspondent, BBC News

    tweets Nick clegg seems to have decided to go heavy on statistics not emotion,trying to challenge perceptions of eu as well as Ukip #CleggvFarage

     
  99.  
    19:23: Billy Dunn Bradford, UK

    emails: People need to remember that you can still trade with the EU without being a member...

     
  100.  
    19:23:

    Nigel Farage criticises the research that Nick Clegg is citing. "They did not price in the in-work benefits," he says.

     
  101.  
    19:22: Thomas Clark Cambridge, UK

    emails: A large proportion of funding for renewable energy R&D and projects comes from the EU.

    Exit from the EU will cripple this essential funding source, which is boosting British innovation and manufacturing - creating jobs at all skill levels - and will continue to do so over the next decade. This is especially true in sectors such as marine energy, in which Britain has a clear opportunity to develop a significant global export market.

     
  102.  
    19:22:

    Nick Clegg declares that immigrants pay much more into public coffers than they take out. "That helps fund our schools, that helps fund our hospitals."

     
  103.  
    19:21:

    "It's all well and good saying it'll be bad for Britain if we leave the EU, but you haven't answered the question," Nigel Farage tells Nick Clegg.

     
  104.  
    19:20: John M Knox

    tweets: The Tories and Labour are the fence sitters. At least with #UKIP & Lib-Dems people know where they stand. #EUshowdown #TeamNigel #UKIP

     
  105.  
    19:20:

    Nigel Farage needs to say what happens to the large numbers of Brits living elsewhere in the EU, and all those who will lose their jobs if we "pull up the drawbridge", Nick Clegg says.

     
  106.  
    19:20:

    Nigel Farage hits back, accusing Nick Clegg of "trickery". There is freedom of movement in the EU, Nigel Farage notes. "Are you denying that?" he asks Nick Clegg.

     
  107.  
    19:20:

    But Nick Clegg accuses UKIP of misleading people, for instance by vastly over-estimating the number of immigrants likely to arrive in the UK.

     
  108.  
    19:20:

    Nigel Farage condemns the "open door" immigration policy associated with EU membership. He tells the audience "you've seen your wages go down" as a consequence of EU immigration.

     
  109.  
    19:20: UKIP's official Twitter account

    tweets: Every single EU directive, every single EU judgement is a small chunk of British sovereignty heading to Brussels. #LBCdebate

     
  110.  
    19:15:

    Now the second audience audience question, which is on immigration. It's an "emotive issue", Nick Clegg says, but don't forget the millions of Brits who live elsewhere in the EU. "Come if you want to try and work, if you're going to make a contribution," he advises potential immigrants. "But you can't simply come and claim benefits."

     
  111.  
    19:14: Tim Stanley Journalist, Daily Telegraph

    tweets: Nick Clegg: give the people a say. Why then did Lib Dem Lords scupper the effort to put a referendum into legislation? #NickvNigel

     
  112.  
    19:14:

    Topics trending on Twitter in the UK at the moment include Europe, Nigel Farage, and #CleggvFarage

     
  113.  
    19:13:

    David Cameron is running scared of debating with UKIP, Nigel Farage suggests. Also the Labour Party is split on Europe, he claims. Soon people would wake up to the "greatest myth in British politics", Mr Farage predicts, that UKIP only takes votes from the Conservatives.

     
  114.  
    19:13:
    The debate The debate is taking place in central London
     
  115.  
    19:12: John Leech MP Manchester-Withington

    tweets: #NickvNigel I'm IN because thousands of British businesses are linked to trading with the EU #whyiamIN

     
  116.  
    19:12:

    There is a smattering of applause for Nick Clegg's description of the coalition's future referendum pledge. The audience, has been carefully selected to ensure a balance of views, we've been told.

     
  117.  
    19:11:

    "The trouble is that you're defining transfer of powers in terms of treaties," Nigel Farage says. Power can transfer without there being a new treaty, he tells Mr Clegg.

     
  118.  
    19:11:

    This is not the time for a referendum on the EU, Nick Clegg says, because the EU is in such a state of flux.

     
  119.  
    19:10:
    Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg Nigel Farage said Nick Clegg was representing the political establishment's view on Europe
     
  120.  
    19:08:

    Mr Clegg adopts his 2010 tactic of addressing the questioner by name, whereas Nigel Farage refers to "the lady".

     
  121.  
    19:07:

    Nick Clegg's turn. "We've passed into law a legal guarantee", he says, that the next time there is a major transfer of power from Westminster to Brussels, there will be a referendum.

     
  122.  
    19:06:

    Responding, Nigel Farage says politicians are prone to "cynically" offer referendums near to election time. This is the most important constitutional question we have faced for 300 years, he says, and it is time to hold a popular poll.

     
  123.  
    19:06:

    The first audience question is on whether voters should have a referendum on the EU.

     
  124.  
    19:06:
    The debate The debate line up, from left: Host Nick Ferrari, Nigel Farage and Nick Clegg
     
  125.  
    19:04:

    Nigel Farage urges listeners to imagine being asked to join a club that will cost £55m a day in membership fees, one which will entail opening borders to people from impoverished countries. "You wouldn't join it," he says, calling for a "fresh approach" to Europe.

     
  126.  
    19:03:

    The UK should lead in the world, and does that best from within the EU. It also means more jobs for Brits, Nick Clegg says.

     
  127.  
    19:02:

    "This debate is about you," Nick Clegg tells the audience, as he makes the opening statement.

     
  128.  
    19:01:

    LBC's Nick Ferrari is outlining the rules: each leader gets to make a brief opening statement, before taking questions from the audience.

     
  129.  
    19:01:

    The debate is kicking off now, with an introduction from LBC's Nick Ferrari...

     
  130.  
    19:00:

    Farage, Nick Clegg, #NickvNigel and #LBCdebate all trending on Twitter in the UK

     
  131.  
    18:58:

    Both men could emerge winners tonight, BBC correspondent Norman Smith predicts. The two debates could boost both their profiles, and there is scant chance of much overlap in potential UKIP and Lib Dem voters, he says. However, there is always the danger of being deemed to have gaffed, he adds...

     
  132.  
    Richard Branson Founder and Chairman, Virgin Group

    blogs: If the United Kingdom ever decided to leave the European Union, people would wake up and realise they had made a very grave error indeed.

     
  133.  
    18:55:

    Suzanne Evans denies that the success of UKIP is all down to one man. "He is a great leader," the UKIP spokeswoman declares, before predicting that soon people will realise the breadth of talent within the party.

     
  134.  
    18:52:

    UKIP spokeswoman Suzanne Evans predicts a "very interesting" debate, in which her boss will do very well. "Europe has been on the sidelines of political debate, but it's right here on the forefront," she says. It is time to roll back the creation of a European superstate, she argues.

     
  135.  
    18:52: Amy Nickalls Kent

    tweets: If nothing else I hope this debate will clear up all the silly things people say about the EU without knowing anything about it #LBCdebate

     
  136.  
    18:51:

    "The European elections should be about the issue that is on everybody's lips: does Britain have a future in the EU, are we going to take seriously the millions of jobs that depend on the EU, or are we going to walk away," Mr Farron says, before describing UKIP's position as "madness".

     
  137.  
    18:51:

    "Tonight I expect to see both sides fighting vigorously," Lib Dem party president Tim Farrron tells the BBC News channel.

     
  138.  
    18:49: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    Team Miliband tell me he won't be watching Clegg/Farage Euro showdown because he's at a reception for journalists. Team Cameron tell me the PM won't be watching... because he's meeting the Queen

     
  139.  
    18:47: Norman Smith Chief political correspondent, BBC News Channel

    I've heard Nick Clegg has been doing some "light prep" this afternoon. Nigel Farage, meanwhile, has reportedly been enjoying a pint in a nearby pub to steady his nerves.

     
  140.  
    18:44: Millicent Works for European Parliament, Westminster office

    tweets: Nick Clegg as a former MEP & current MP, Nigel Farage as a current MEP. Both know what they're talking about. I'm excited about #NickvNigel

     
  141.  
    18:44: Helen Walsh Health campaigner & former Liberal Democrat Councillor

    tweets: Looking forward to hearing @nick_clegg set out the case for remaining in the EU tonight #NickvNigel #whyiamin Jobs & growth. Go Nick!

     
  142.  
    18:43:

    If you want a quick, easy-to-read guide to the two contenders, here's just the thing.

     
  143.  
    18:42:

    Nigel Farage, meanwhile, has seen his profile rise since the 2010 election. He is hoping to see his UK Independence Party top the polls when the European elections take place in May. If Nick Clegg's Lib Dems are the "party of in", Nigel Farage's UKIP are the "party of out".

     
  144.  
    18:40:

    That was then. Now four years on Nick Clegg is back on the national debating stage, not as the fresh faced unknown, but as the deputy prime minister and leader of a party which has been struggling in the opinion polls.

     
  145.  
    18:39:

    Those debates are best known for the "I agree with Nick" catchphrase from the first clash between Gordon Brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg. It also prompted a brief burst of what was known as Cleggmania.

     
  146.  
    18:36:

    It is, of course, not the first time there has been a televised political debate in the UK - that precedent was set with the leader debates in the 2010 general election campaign.

     
  147.  
    18:33:

    The debate, on whether or not the UK should be in the European Union, begins at 19:00 GMT and is due to last for one hour. It is being hosted by the LBC radio station, who are broadcasting it live. We're streaming it live here for the hour, and following that by showing the reaction and analysis from the BBC News channel.

     
  148.  
    18:30:

    Hello and welcome to our coverage of tonight's (possibly historic) debate between the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg and the leader of the UK Independence Party, Nigel Farage.

     

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