Question Time sees leaders grilled - but who do Northampton people think won?

BBC Question Time,  David Dimbleby. Editorial image.
BBC Question Time, David Dimbleby. Editorial image.

Following a night where the three ‘main’ party leaders were grilled by members of the public on a special Question Time, Northampton Chronicle & Echo readers are split as to who came out best.

The BBC One program hosted by David Dimbleby saw David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg face a tough Leeds audience for a live question and answer session.

Standout moments saw the Tory Prime Minister pull out the infamous Liam Byrne note to the Chief Secretary reading “I’m sorry there is no money left;” the Labour leader ruling out a coalition arrangement and the Lib Dem boss defending his party’s U-turn on raising tuition fees.

The first ICM poll handed victory on the night to David Cameron, with 44 per cent giving him the win, compared to 38 per cent for Ed Miliband and 19 per cent for Nick Clegg.

A straw poll of Chron readers show a split of opinion.

Colin Cooper, said: “Cameron performed best on the night, Miliband’s highlight was when he tripped up and his legs gave way like a newborn horse, and Clegg is like San Marino in the World Cup Qualifiers - there purely to make up the numbers.”

Whereas Maxine Kelly, who describes herself as a ‘devout Labour supporter’, said: “I’ve often cringed at Miliband. I think he held his own though and proved that he can be PM. Even Madonna finds steps tricky sometimes.

“Five years of austerity under ConDemnation may have put back into the coffers, but the price being working families having to resort to food banks - where is the sense?”

But the program was also notable for the absence of the Green Party, SNP and UKIP leaders.

Speaking about last night’s show, reader Ben Timberley said: “Where was the anti-austerity voice in the debate?

“Oh of course, the Greens weren’t included, these three party leaders, in hock to the banks and financial party donors, were all simply there to sing the neo-liberal gospel. The real winners? The banks and other party donors.”

Tony Clarke, who is running for the Green Party in Northampton North, said: “I think as far as the TV debate is concerned I thought it was insipid.

“It was like watching a loser’s version of Britain’s Got Talent.

“There seems to be two different debates going on - one that we are having on the doorstep and what is portrayed in the national press.

“The local newspapers and radio have been very balanced during the campaign but the national television seem to want to bury the Green Party, without realising actually we are seeds.”

Rose Gibbins, UKIP’s candidate for Northampton South praised party leader Nigel Farage for his performance in a separate BBC programme later in the evening and said he should have been included in the Question Time show.

She said: “Let’s get to the bottom line, we are now recognised as one of the four main parties.

“The only people that are the people who put on these programmes.”

But Angela Patterson, Northampton North’s Liberal Democrat candidate said, Nick Clegg handled the questioning well.

“When he was asked about the possibility of a hung parliament he was honest enough to say he would not be Prime Minister.

“Let’s get real, Ed Miliband is not going to be able to form a government on his own, he will need some help from somewhere. It’s just he isn’t talking about it.”