- The leaders of seven UK parties took part in a two-hour live televised election debate, clashing on a range of issues including the NHS, immigration and the deficit
- It was the only debate of the campaign which will feature both David Cameron and Ed Miliband
- Snap polls taken afterwards gave differing verdicts on the winner, with Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage, Ed Miliband and David Cameron said to have impressed most - depending on the poll
- The audience was encouraged not to clap or offer too much reaction. However one heckler did tackle the leaders on homelessness among armed forces veterans
There was no "killer blow", says BBC political correspondent Iain Watson, who analyses how each of the leaders performed.Quote Message: Perhaps dividing lines were blurred by the very nature of a seven-way debate."
Read more of Iain's analysis.
- Copyright: Guardian
One final check from the leaders' debate - David Cameron says his government has made £21bn of savings in welfare.
This comes from analysis by the Office for Budget Responsibility on the amount of savings or costs from introducing certain policy measures.
The OBR estimated that £21bn would be saved by 2015-16 by implementing new policy measures on welfare, social security benefits and tax credits. The Institute for Fiscal Studies has produced its own estimate of welfare savings and puts the figure at more like £17bn.
These figures relate to the amount saved compared with what would have happened if these policy changes hadn’t been implemented. It’s not the amount that the overall welfare spending has fallen. The IFS expects the amount spent on welfare in 2015-16 to be almost exactly the same as the amount spent in 2010-11 once the effects of inflation are removed.
- Copyright: Telegraph
- Copyright: The Times
- Copyright: Independent
Question Time is ending with a debate about the NHS. Why won't politicians sign up to a multi-party committee to stop it becoming a "political football", the panel is asked. Andy Burnham, Labour's health spokesman, says it should be accountable to Parliament but adds that "nobody signed up for" the reforms carried out by the coalition. You can't take politics out of the NHS completely, says Lib Dem Danny Alexander, because people have different views.
Here's another look at a claim made during the debate. Green Party leader Natalie Bennett said 20% of workers were being paid less than the "living wage" - a term used by campaigners to describe the sum an individual must earn to cover basic living costs.
That's estimated as £7.85 an hour, increased to £9.15 an hour for those working in London.
A report from the independent Living Wage Commission in June 2014 found that “there remain 5.2 million people paid below a Living Wage in the UK”. The Commission includes representatives from business, trade unions and civil society.
And the latest figures from the Office of National Statistics (ONS), taken from 2014, estimate that 21.7% of UK jobs pay less than the Living Wage. Strictly speaking that's jobs, not workers.
However, the proportion of jobs paying less than the living wage varies considerably when considering full-time and part-time jobs. In full time employment just 13.4% of jobs pay below the living wage, while the figure for part-time jobs rises to 42.3%.
Here is a summary of the snap polls carried out after tonight's leaders' debate.Copyright: BBC
This Week will gauge the reaction of Michael Portillo, David Lammy, Suzanne Evans, Miranda Green and SNP supporter Brian Cox, before host Andrew Neil winds down later with reality star Joey Essex. Watch live from 23:45 BST on BBC1.Copyright: BBC
Perhaps, says BBC political editor Nick Robinson. But the debate proved a new era of multi-party politics had become a "visible reality".Quote Message: This debate does not look likely to have determined who will win the general election but it may crystallise one single, simple and hugely significant fact - the shape of British politics has changed for good."
Read more onNick's blog.
Some more on Twitter's analysis of what people were talking about during the #leadersdebate. The three moments that generated the greatest spikes in conversation on the social media site were:
1. Nigel Farage’s comments on HIV
2. The closing speeches
3. A heckler interruptingCopyright: Twitter
Back to Question Time, and the panel is asked about immigration. "It's plain that we are full," says Peter Hitchens. Michael Gove doesn't agree, saying it's a "good thing when talented people come here". Lib Dem Danny Alexander says in many parts of the economy "we rely on people from other parts of the world".
- Copyright: PA
The heckler who interrupted David Cameron during the TV leaders' debate (see 21:47) says she will not be voting for any of the politicians who took part. Victoria Prosser, 33, said she was asked to leave after making her intervention. Speaking to reporters outside the studio, she said: "My cause is speaking the truth and making sure as many people as possible start questioning people at the top, the 1%, who are not working in our best interests."
- Quote Message: The nationalists had a harder time when talking about either Wales or Scotland – for a more generally British audience, these issues didn’t cut through. But the female leaders of the SNP, Plaid Cymru and the Greens all saw positive movement – most impressively when Nicola Sturgeon (twice) spoke about free university tuition in Scotland, when the Worm hit one of its highest points.
Here's what the BBC's floating voter worm (explained here ) made of the leaders' debate:Quote Message: Our audience of about 50 floating voters were a fairly positive bunch. The Worm didn’t dip too low at any one point. It leapt to life most markedly during the NHS session – praising the NHS or talking about how valuable it was a sure fire way of getting the Worm to rise. Other moments where it hit high points included when leaders talked about values more generally. It dipped though when there were arguments, or leaders talking over each other. Interestingly the Worm was not too active while UKIP leader Nigel Farage talked about immigration – it did though warm to his positive remarks on the NHS.
tweets :Quote Message: I didn't like Farage's performance but viewers put him 1st, 2nd and 3rd in three polls. He can claim to have won whether or not you agree.
- Quote Message: Move the HofC to Salford. They all seem to be enjoying themselves up here #mediacity #leadersdabate @bbcqt
"First of all the women did fantastically well," says journalist Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, to applause, on Question Time. The debate moves on to Scotland as Conservative Chief Whip Michael Gove says his party will do no deals with the SNP. "The SNP has made it clear they won't touch you with a bargepole", says David Dimbleby. "The feeling is mutual" replies Mr Gove.
- Copyright: BBC
Round two is well under way in Salford. How do this lot compare with the seven leaders? You can watch on the live coverage tab above.
Columnist Peter Hitchens says that with the exception of Nigel Farage, all of the leaders had "rehearsed incessantly" in order to avoid making mistakes on tonight's debate.
- Quote Message: YouGov has Con 37 (+1) Lab 35 (+1) Ukip 12 (-1) LDem 7 (-1) Green 5 (+1). No sign of election bounce LDems always rely on in elections
- Copyright: BBC
- Copyright: AFP
A look at Twitter shows SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was the most mentioned leader by a long way. Here's the full breakdown of mentions during the two-hour debate:
Had your fill of political debate? Of course you haven't. Question Time is just getting under way now. You can watch on the live coverage tab above.
- Quote Message: YouGov/Sun poll tonight: Meanwhile, in the real world… Tory 2 point lead + at highest in 3 years: CON 37%, LAB 35%, UKIP 12%, LD 7%, GRN 5%
There are quite a few polls being released, and it's fair to say they don't exactly concur. Here's one from the Guardian/ICM.
- Miliband: 25%
- Cameron: 24%
- Farage: 19%
- Sturgeon: 17%
- Clegg: 9%
- Bennett: 3%
- Wood: 2%
Another finding from the ComRes snap poll. 40% said David Cameron was "most capable of leading the UK" followed by Ed Miliband on 28% and Nigel Farage on 10%.
- Quote Message: @TwitterUK say over 1.4 million tweets were sent about #leadersdebate. Most tweeted moment? Farage's comments on HIV.
Respondents to an ITV News/ComRes poll scored the debate quite differently to YouGov.They recorded a dead heat between David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage on 21%. Nicola Sturgeon was one point behind, with Nick Clegg trailing on 9%, Natalie Bennett on 5% and Leanne Wood on 2%.
Nick Clegg highlighted that more than half of those taking up apprenticeships are women. He’s right. From 2010/11 onwards, more apprenticeships have been started by women than men, according to a House of Commons Library analysis of BIS data.Copyright: House of Commons Library
More from the spin room. "I knew there would be no brain fade tonight," says the Green Party's Darren Johnson, in a reference to Natalie Bennett's struggles in a recent radio interview: "I knew she would put in a storming performance". Lib Dem Care Minister Norman Lamb says he is "proud" that Nick Clegg was the only leader to raise the importance of mental health investment.
- Quote Message: Ratings so far: Milband 15% Sturgeon 19% Farage 21% Heckler 47% #leadersdebate
- Quote Message: Osborne handed mobile by comms chief Craig Oliver, showing him YouGov poll that Sturgeon won, Cam 2nd. Osborne beams
Lots of praise for Nicola Sturgeon. But how do her claims about tax stack up?
The SNP leader says that for the last 30 years the Scots have paid more tax per head than the English.
Whether that's true depends on how you share out revenue from North Sea oil.
If you apportion them on a geographic basis then she's right (that's a division that counts almost all North Sea oil revenue as coming from Scotland).
If you divide the revenue equally across the people of the UK then Scots have not paid more than the English, and that is also the case if you exclude oil revenue completely.
Jim, S. Lanarkshire:
More than anything, tonight's debate has demonstrated the need to have more women at the top of British politics. Very impressed by all the women - including Julie Etchingham who conducted superbly.
The SNP says that early poll suggesting Nicola Sturgeon came out on top is backed up by an increase in membership. The party claims to have gained 1,200 new members during the course of the debate.
The final results of that YouGov poll of 1,100 people are in. Pollster Peter Kellner says SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was the "clear winner". Plenty more polls are being carried out, but here are the YouGov scores:
Nicola Sturgeon 28%
Nigel Farage 20%
David Cameron 18%
Ed Miliband 15%
Nick Clegg 10%
Natalie Bennett 5%
Leanne Wood 4%
Too many NHS middle managers/ bureaucrats? Happy to do a job swap with Cameron / Farage for a week!
- Quote Message: Farage: 'We think Britain can be a lot better than this.' Third leader to use a variant of that slogan #leadersdebate
- Quote Message: Warning: in the next half hour you will hear some quite ridiculous spin from all sides. Ignore it. #leadersdebate
We already have some polling data on the debate, as YouGov's Peter Kellner says that with the first 500 votes counted, the SNP's Nicola Sturgeon is narrowly in the lead from UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Plenty more of that to come.
So, a couple of claims that cropped up during the debate warrant closer examination.
Leanne Wood said that funding for Wales ought to be brought up to the level Scotland gets.
In 2013/14, public spending per head in the UK as a whole was £8,936. In England, it was £8,678. In Scotland it was £10,275. In Wales it was £9,924 and in Northern Ireland it was £10,961.
It's reaction time, as attention turns to the "spin room". Labour's shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper says the debate showed why David Cameron was reluctant to take on Ed Miliband head-to-head. But Conservative Priti Patel says the PM put in a "clear and commanding performance".
So, the only debate to feature all of our major party leaders is at a close. There were some heated moments. But was it feisty enough for you?Copyright: GETTY IMAGES
That rounds up the debate but stay with us for reaction and analysis. Our Reality Check team will also be running over some of the claims made by party leaders to help you make sense of the issues.
- Quote Message: @julieetchitv Has Done An Excellent Job Tonight @GdnPolitics #leadersdebate @itvnews @ITV #MediaCity #nicolasturgeon #DavidCameron #GE15
"Wherever you are, if you're thinking about voting Green... do it", says Natalie Bennett. "It needn't be the "least-worst option". Nigel Farage says: "If you want things to be shaken up and changed properly, you need to put more UKIP MPs at Westminster". David Cameron rounds things off, saying he wants another five years "because I want to finish the job we have started". His plan is about one word - security - he says. And that's your lot. Handshakes all round (which took a while).
- Quote Message: Sturgeon - little known across much of the UK outside Scotland - more than holding own in heavyweight company. Debate has worked for her.
Ed Miliband says there is a "clear choice" at the election."When working people succeed, Britain succeeds," he says. "Let's bring the change that Britain needs". Leanne Wood offers a "stronger, more prosperous" Wales, and an end to its "second-rate financial settlement".
Susan Hollywood, Belfast:
The quality of debate shown by Nicola Sturgeon leaves both Cameron and Milliband looking second rate. This format does work and forces greater debate. If it was just Milliband, Clegg and Cameron it would be a trading of statistics,attacks and constant reference to what each party promises or what they have done or not done. The other parties force the politicians back to ideas and the importance of values. Really good.
None of us can afford more austerity, says Nicola Sturgeon. Ordinary people across the country will pay the price, she adds. Nick Clegg says when you vote, "make sure we don't lurch this way or that". He wants "opportunity for everyone".
- Quote Message: @BBCPolitics Nick Clegg asking Ed M to apologise for crashing the economy, not good, gimmicky #leadersdebate #GetAnswers
Ed Miliband attacks David Cameron over zero-hours contracts, promising to legislate to stop them. The PM says 70 Labour MPs employ staff on such contracts. That's it for this section, time for the closing statements.
- Quote Message: Miliband has given the population more eye contact in this debate than most have had on romantic dates.
This chart shows household income by age groupCopyright: BBC
All three of the latest opinion polls registered swings to Labour from 2010, ranging between 2.5% (YouGov) to 4.5% (Populus). David Cowling, editor, BBC Political Research, says: "In the 10 campaign polls to date, the Lib Dems have not yet hit double figures in any, broadly hovering around 8%, which is one-third of the support they received in 2010. The Greens seem to be settling around 5% for the present."
David Cameron is interrupted by a woman in the audience who says there are homeless people on the streets who have been in the Armed Forces. Standing and shouting from the back, she says: "There are more of us than there are of them and they are not listening." The PM says she makes an important point about homeless veterans.
- Quote Message: instead of building loads more houses and taking away land, apartments are the answer. #LeadersDebate #GetAnswers
Ed Miliband complains that there are 17,000 unqualified teachers in our schools.
The total is 17,100 according to latest school workforce statistics (these are figures for England only).
But it's worth mentioning that that was a typical number under the last Labour government too.
As of 2012, academies and free schools have been able to hire staff without qualified teaching status. However, unqualified teachers working in local authority maintained schools (the vast majority under Labour) are either trainees working towards qualified status, an overseas trained teacher or an instructor who had a particular skill who can be employed so long as a qualified teacher isn’t available.
Re students fees. Was it not Labour who brought in student tuition fees?
Ed Miliband says private renting can be "incredibly insecure". Labour would change the law to make three-year tenancies the norm, he says.
- Quote Message: Cam doing well on homes for young Brits #leadersdebate
- Quote Message: More than EIGHTY PERCENT of #leadersdebate tweets focus on personality not politics.Copyright: Demos
You can review that clash between Nigel Farage, Leanne Wood and Nicola Sturgeon over health tourism via our online clip.Copyright: BBC
Natalie Bennett brings things back to education, calling for "a much broader education that prepares our young people for life". Labour and the Conservatives would cut funding for Welsh education, says Leanne Wood. Plaid will "do all it can to end austerity" to be able to afford free tuition fees, she says. This shows "why we need to break the old boys' network at Westminster" says Nicola Sturgeon.
Away from the debate, the first campaign outing by Panelbase has put Labour and the Conservatives both on 33% as well as giving UKIP its biggest share of the campaign so far, at 17%. Populus suggests a two-point Labour lead – 34% over 32% for the Conservatives. Meanwhile, YouGov turned in a two-point Conservative lead - 36% compared with Labour’s 34%.
After his coalition partner attacks Conservative education policy, David Cameron says: "With Nick Clegg, we sat in the Cabinet together, we took difficult decisions together." He criticises the Lib Dem leader's "pick and mix approach". They're criticising each other and they're both right, says Ed Miliband. Nick Clegg asks the Labour leader to apologise for "crashing the British economy".
- Quote Message: Farage has an interesting idea about grammar schools but fails to address private schools #leadersdebate
- Quote Message: Nick I don't think anyone should ever forgive or forget your sell out on tuition fees, and I hope come 7 May they don't #Leadersdebate
- Quote Message: A lot of people on Twitter seem to criticise the leaders' appearances and not so much on their policies #sadreality #leadersdebate
The debate on young people has been thrown open to the floor. David Cameron says free schools are "a great institution".Copyright: BBC
- Quote Message: Cameron pivots to pensions in a question about young peoples’ prospects, clearly determined to shoe-horn that message in
- Quote Message: At last, Clegg vs Farage feels like a real debate.
- Quote Message: Not sure "Tough on AIDS victims" is going to be a popular campaign slogan. #LeadersDebate
A 25-year-old audience member poses the next question, asking what the leaders will do about the difficulties faced by young people including tuition fees and affording a home.
Peter, Larne:SMS Message: As a British citizen from Northern Ireland, I am totally disgusted that the largest party here the DUP is not allowed to be part of the debate. It is the 4th largest party in terms of Westminster seats. Why on earth are the Greens and Welsh Nationals invited?
After the first hour of the #leadersdebate , SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon was the most talked about leader on Twitter.
And there was a stark difference to the debates of five years ago, with Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg getting the least attention on the social media site.
Here's the breakdown of how many mentions each of the leaders' Twitter names got up to 21:00, although - of course - it doesn't take into account whether the tweets were positive or negative:
@NicolaSturgeon 11,919 @Nigel_Farage 8,468 @NatalieBen 8,218 @Ed_Miliband 7,574 @David_Cameron 5,273 @LeanneWood 5,171 @Nick_Clegg 2,345
Not every problem can be solved with an EU referendum, Nick Clegg tells Nigel Farage. Natalie Bennett says the Green Party supports a referendum but would be campaigning strongly to stay in.
We did get it wrong on immigration, says Ed Miliband, "and I have changed our approach".
- Quote Message: Agree with @NicolaSturgeon that #Scotland should not be taken out of #Europe against it's will #leadersdebate
- Quote Message: #David Cameron has failed on his own promise to cut immigration. Ed Miliband has hit a bullseye. David, don't make promises you can't keep!
- Quote Message: Natalie Bennett separating herself from SNP with great follow up to families broken up by immigration. Well played. #ge2015 #leadersdebate
David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nigel Farage are talking over each other as the PM says the "irony" is that voting UKIP would help Labour. That was the rowdiest we've had so far.
More on that ITV News/ComRes poll. While 24% of those 615 viewers thought Nigel Farage was "winning", 22% thought he was performing worst. That's more than any other leader. Some 21% thought Natalie Bennett was the worst performer, followed by Leanne Wood (18%), David Cameron (17%), Ed Miliband (10%), Nick Clegg (7%) and Nicola Sturgeon (6%).
Politics Live viewer:
I have a vision of Julie Etchingham as Snow White with her seven friends... Doc, Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, Sneezy, Sleepy and Happy.
- Copyright: REX
Nigel Farage says immigration has meant the wages of "ordinary folk" have been compressed because of immigration. The answer to that is to raise the minimum wage, says Nick Clegg. He and Mr Farage are married to foreigners, he says, calling for the UKIP leader to be "open hearted". Side-by-side, the two men clash in a repeat of their EU debate as Mr Farage urges Mr Clegg to admit there is nothing he can do about immigration while the UK is an EU member.
Natalie Bennett says she disagrees with Leanne Wood that the immigration debate is about economics. "It is about human lives," she says. She challenges David Cameron over accepting Syrian refugees.
David Cameron says the UK has created more jobs than the rest of the EU put together.
The first thing to say is that there are no statistics comparing job creation across the EU.
Downing Street told independent factcheckers Full Fact that this claim is based on a comparison between the number of people in employment in the second quarters of 2010 and 2014, using Eurostat data.
Based on those figures, it is true that the number of people in employment increased in the UK more than in the rest of the EU put together: there were 1.7 million additional people in employment in the UK while in the rest of the EU combined the number dropped by 1.5 million.
Statisticians, however, say that it is wrong to make conclusions on job creation based on employment figure. They are two different things: the employment figures include, for example, self-employed as well as part-time workers sharing a job.
Farage takes on Cameron over immigration. The UKIP leader says other EU leaders will not accept changes he wants to the free movement of people. The PM says Mr Farage "is basically saying 'give up before you've begun'".
An ITV News/ComRes poll of 615 people watching the debate put Nigel Farage in the lead at the half-time stage. Some 24% of people felt he was performing best, ahead of Ed Miliband, who most impressed 21% of people. Then came David Cameron (19%) and Nicola Sturgeon (18%), followed by Nick Clegg (10%), Natalie Bennett (7%) and Leanne Wood (2%)
There's good immigration and bad immigration, says Nick Clegg: "I want Britain to be open for business, not open to abuse". Natalie Bennett says the difficulties people cite are not to do with immigration, they are failures of government policy.
- Copyright: BBC
- Quote Message: Ironically in Thanet where Nigel Farage is standing, immigration is considerably LOWER than the rest of the country! #leadersdebate #GE2015
David Cameron outlines his planned curbs on EU migrants' entitlement to welfare. "Those are fair changes I can deliver," he says. Nigel Farage next - the other parties are all the same, he says, adding that "nothing can be done" about immigration while the UK is an EU member.
Find out where the parties stand on immigrationCopyright: BBC
The recession wasn't caused by Polish care workers or Estonian bar workers, says Leanne Wood, saying she will not join in with the "scapegoating" of immigrants. Nicolas Sturgeon agrees, saying the views of the Westminster parties were being "driven by the fear of UKIP".
We're back up and running after a brief interlude, with a question from Joan Richards about immigration. Ed Miliband says he's changed Labour's approach on the issue, saying he will strengthen controls and stop employers "undercutting" wages with migrant labour.
- Quote Message: I've had six texts from upbeat Tories already. This time last week? Nada.
Politics Live Viewer:SMS Message: What is the point of having an audience in the studio when there is not an atom of reaction to any of the points being raised by the leaders. This so-called debate is a complete turn-off. Can anyone be surprised at the lack of interest people have in politicians and, more to the point, bothering to vote.
Natalie Bennett says the Green Party would offer free social care to over 65s who need it.
David Cameron asks Ed Miliband about the scandal at Mid Staffordshire hospital under the last Labour government, saying "elderly people were left uncared for because the target culture had run rampant". The Labour leader says the NHS is "going backwards" under this government.
- Quote Message: Is that BBC worm calibrated too generously ? Barely any negative response. unless the sample group just loves seven different politicians
Our graphic shows the NHS's performance against waiting time targets in England.Copyright: BBC
Ed Miliband says one million people waited more than four hours at A&E in England in the last year.
NHS England statistics for 2014/15 to date show that more than 1.3 million people have waited more than four hours at A&Es in England. That’s against a total of almost 22 million attendances.
Hospitals are dealing with increasing demand - last year total attendance was 32% higher than 10 years ago.
- Quote Message: Farage opting to join the ministry of silly faces here. Pulls epic face when Sturgeon says he’s blaming everything on immigrants
Ed Miliband questions how the NHS would be funded under a Conservative government. Social care cuts undermine the NHS, he says. Scaremongering, says David Cameron. He says more money has been committed to "unblock hospital beds".
- Quote Message: @NicolaSturgeon wins the debate because she is feisty !!! #leadersdebate
Politics Live viewer:
13 years a doctor in NHS. Paid tax from day one, learned a lot, helped people, saved lives, made friends. Yes, I am an Immigrant, yes I am proud of our NHS. STOP immigrant bashing and misleading the public on NHS tourism. Tell them the truth, it needs money for a reforming modern, growing NHS.
Leanne Wood accuses Nigel Farage of "dangerous scaremongering" after he raises the cost of treating foreigners who are HIV positive.
Politics Live viewer:
15 to 1? More like the Weakest Link. Wouldn't it be great if Anne Robinson was in charge?
It's Milband v Cameron on the NHS again. The Labour leader says the PM has broken all his promises on the NHS. Would he rehire the "bureaucrats" who have been cut, asks the Conservative leader.
Natalie Bennett says that 5% of healthcare spending is going on profits.
The Department of Health says NHS spending on private providers has increased by one percentage point – from 4.9% of total spend in 2010/11 to 5.9% in 2013/14.
However, not all of that is profit for the providers.
The Health and Social Care Act regulations, which allowed for managed competition within the NHS, did not come into force until 1 April 2013. That means we only have one year of data after the government’s reforms.
Also, these figures relate to hospital care only. We don’t have equivalent figures for community care.
- Copyright: ITV
Mental health is the "poor cousin" of physical health and needs more money, says Nick Clegg. Nicola Sturgeon returns to UKIP, saying: "There's not anything that Nigel Farage won't blame on foreigners". Leanne Wood says the two largest parties use healthcare as a "political football".
- Quote Message: Farage's challenge to the establishment diverted twice now into Bennett's far left cul de sac.
Ed Miliband says that in one case, patients were treated in a tent in a hospital car park. He says he does not believe that represents the government looking after the NHS. David Cameron says Labour "cut the NHS in Wales".
The NHS question is now open to the floor. What about "health tourism", asks Nigel Farage. Shaking her head, Natalie Bennett says his figures "do not reflect the reality" and says the health service's foreign workforce is vital.
You can review that spat between Nick Clegg and David Cameron over their respective approaches to cutting the deficit.Copyright: BBC
Ed Miliband says Labour would raise cash for the NHS with a mansion tax and from hedge funds and tobacco companies. David Cameron says the NHS is "the most important national institution that we have" and recalls the "unbelievable" care given to his disabled son. A strong NHS needs a strong economy, he adds.
- Copyright: BBC
- Quote Message: Hope they've got a water refiller in that room. They're all gulping it down #leadersdebate
Nick Clegg: "The NHS doesn't need warm words, it needs hard cash". Leanne Wood says the NHS in Wales faces two threats: From austerity, and "centralisation" under the Labour administration.
- Quote Message: I must confess that this GB #leadersdebate is 100 times more entertaining than US election debates. #GetAnswers
Nigel Farage says there are too many "middle managers" in the NHS, and vows to end hospital parking charges. They've already been scrapped in Scotland, says Nicola Sturgeon. The NHS should be run as a public service not for private profit, she adds.
How will the leaders secure the future of the NHS, is the next question from 63-year-old Terry Kelly.
- Copyright: ITV
- Quote Message: Good to hear @NicolaSturgeon asking @David_Cameron where cuts to benefits will fall. #disabilitybenefits #LeadersDebates #GE2015
- Copyright: ITV
Ed Miliband brings the deficit section to a close by saying: "Cuts will have to come, but we can do it in a balanced way."
Email Message: Are we watching 15 to 1? Let's see three lights and a few eliminations, for a more interesting debate!
- Copyright: ITV
Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon clash over austerity. Shades of 2010's "I agree with Nick" debate, as Natalie Bennett says: "Nicola Sturgeon is absolutely right. You have a choice between the two largest parties here between austerity-heavy and austerity-light."
Email Message: Cameron rattled - under pressure, with no answers. All the others doing well. Ed, Nicola and Natalie seem to care about what happens to ordinary people.
- Copyright: ITV
"The English are a bit cheesed off with so much of their money going over Hadrian's Wall" and being spent on free prescriptions and university education, says Nigel Farage. Nicola Sturgeon says Scots pay more in tax.
Natalie Bennett says two thirds of those affected by the bedroom tax are disabled.
From April 2013 those receiving housing benefit for rented social housing have seen their payments cut if they live in a property that is considered too big for their needs.
The government described the policy as “the removal of the spare room subsidy”; Labour christened it “the bedroom tax”.
In its impact assessment of the policy, the government estimated that 66% of households affected by the changes include someone who is disabled.
But the impact assessment says that this group includes people who do not currently have difficulties with daily activities but who have had in the past or would do if they were not able to control their symptoms with medication.
- Quote Message: 20 mins into debate I'm struggling fight fight fight #GetAnswers
- Copyright: ITV
"In the valleys where I live, we have yet to recover from the recession before last," says Leanne Wood. She says Labour has failed these areas. Ed Miliband does not accept this and returns to his attack on the Conservatives.
Natalie Bennett says Britain needs to be a "humane and decent society". David Cameron says the deficit has been cut in half, and then produces a copy of the note famously left by former Labour Treasury minister Liam Byrne saying there was "no money left". Ed Miliband says the PM is talking about the past, not the future.
There's lots of shouting about whether the deficit (that's the difference between the amount the government spends in a year and how much it raises) has halved since the last election.
That's true, but only as a proportion of gross domestic product, which is what you get when you add up all the stuff produced by the economy.
In cash terms it hasn't fallen by that much.
- Quote Message: #leadersdebate @julieetchitv will be reaching for her 'yellow card' before too long.