Last nights broadcast was historic due to the fact that it was the first time the leaders of the three biggest British political parties debated key policies openly prior to a General Election. The ITV broadcast was the first of three 90 minute face offs, with Sky news and the BBC taking on the remaining two broadcasts on the final Thursdays of the campaign. International viewers can watch the remaining two Leaders Debates live on C-SPAN, the US political website.
Immigration Comments by Gordon Brown (Prime Minister and leader of the Labour Party):
Gordon Brown said that he understood concerns about immigration, highlighted the fact that immigration levels were falling (in part due to the economy, Polish workers returning home and a tighter Points Based System) but said that ‘we’ve got to do more’. He went on to say that he would not have a ‘arbitrary cap’ on immigration (as the Conservatives are proposing) and highlighted the recent announcement to remove Chef’s and Social Workers from the shortage occupation list from next year.
Immigration Comments by David Cameron (leader of the Conservatives):
David Cameron once again said that immigration was too high and that he wanted it to be ‘in the tens of thousands, not the hundreds of thousands’. Mr Cameron said that he thought immigration was ‘out of control’ and that a cap was necessary. He went on to say that ‘we’ve had 13 years of a government that has now only just started to talk about immigration.’
Immigration Comments by Nick Clegg (leader of the Liberal Democrats):
Nick Clegg said there had been ‘complete chaos’ in the Immigration system and highlighted that he thought there had been ‘good immigration and bad immigration’. Mr Clegg said that different parts of the country have different needs and that immigrant workers should go where they are needed. Mr Clegg highlighted a visit to a hospital where wards were empty because the hospital could not hire staff from abroad. He also said that he wanted to restore exit controls.
Sky News Opinion Polls following the broadcast pointed to a victory for the leader of the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg, with 37% of the vote. Gordon Brown came in second at 32% and David Cameron third with 31%.
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