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Election debate: Reader's views

PUBLISHED: 12:00 16 April 2010 | UPDATED: 09:46 02 July 2010

Two of the Evening News' election citizen's panel have given their verdicts on last night's historic television debate.

British voters had the chance to watch the three men vying to be prime minister go head-to-head in the country's first televised election debate.

Two of the Evening News' election citizen's panel have given their verdicts on last night's historic television debate.

British voters had the chance to watch the three men vying to be prime minister go head-to-head in the country's first televised election debate.

Millions tuned in to see Gordon Brown, David Cameron, and Nick Clegg clash over the economy, the war in Afghanistan, care for the elderly, MPs expenses, and the NHS.

Mr Clegg was widely seen to have been the winner of the live ITV debate, but all leaders performed solidly and there were no major gaffes - which if repeated on election day could well see the country heading towards a hung parliament.

But the polls were mixed - Sky News put Mr Clegg on 37pc, Mr Brown on 32pc, and Mr Cameron on 31pc, while a Sun/YouGov poll put Mr Clegg well ahead on 51pc, with Mr Cameron on 29pc and Mr Brown on 19pc.

Julie Briggs, 36, from Hethersett said: “I was a bit disappointed. It just wasn't very challenging. David Cameron seemed to avoid some of the issues. If he talked one more time about the savings and waste I think I would have thrown the television out of the window. In terms of substance, none of them came across.

“I think Gordon Brown came across really well. I felt he gave much more detailed answers and was much more realistic.”

During the 90-minute debate all three party leaders made great play of addressing their questioners and each other by their first names. With the expectation that the three leaders would opt for neutral or purple ties, they each in fact plumped for ties closely aligned to their party colours - Mr Clegg in gold, Mr Cameron in blue, and Mr Brown in a dark pink.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg often looked directly in to the camera addressing the viewers at home and perhaps surprisingly Mr Brown secured the first laugh of the audience joking about the Conservatives campaign posters featuring his now infamous rictus grin.

But as the debates settled in to clashes over policy it enough to win over our EDP readers?

Jo Henderson , 65, from Norwich, said: “I think if the election was called tomorrow I would go for Nick Clegg, absolutely, mainly because I didn't feel he was sincere I felt he was a bit more sincere and had fresh ideas. He was courteous and he mentioned the questioners' names.

“Gordon Brown was totally on the backfoot and I thought David Cameron was neither here nor there. He was just had a small mouth and a tight lip and I thought he and Brown got involved in the same old battle.”

Who do you think came out best? Write to Evening News Letters, Prospect House, Rouen Road, Norwich, NR1 1 RE or email eveningnews;etters@archant.co.uk

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