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Live: Nick Clegg vs Nigel Farage — round one

26 March 2014

6:46 PM

26 March 2014

6:46 PM

This is a live blog for tonight’s debate between Nick Clegg and Nigel Farage, kicking off at 7pm. We’ll be adding in audio from the debate below. This page will automatically update every minute.

20:05 I doubt that tonight’s debate will have changed many minds. Farage started off strongly, taking control of the questions on an EU referendum and immigration. But as the debate went on, he began to see a bit one note and Clegg came more into. One mistake I think Farage made was accusing the EU of having ‘blood on its hands’ in the Ukraine, it made him sound like an apologist for Putin. For his part, Clegg will regret saying that people should ‘read the small print’ on his previous EU referendum promise

1958: Farage accuses the European Union of having ‘blood on its hands in Ukraine’. It’s a very big claim that risks making Farage look like an apologist for Putin.

19.55: The putting your wife on the payroll question is dangerous for Farage as it’s electorally imperative that he doesn’t seem like just another politician

19:50 Clegg having a stronger second half of the debate, Farage struggling to keep up the intensity he had at the start

19.45: Farage making a good point that we have extradition agreements with lots of countries that aren’t in the EU, the idea we’d never ever be able to extradite anyone from France if we left the EU is absurd

19.30: Farage very fiery, interrupting Clegg and swinging into every question. Clegg visibly riled

19.25: Farage getting the better of Clegg on immigration, pointing out that in work benefits—as opposed to out of work benefits—is the main attraction of moving to the UK

19.15: Clegg and Farage both on form tonight, now clashing over immigration

19.10: Score that first question to Farage

19.05: Farage cleverly trying to flip the question round, asking whether the UK would vote to join the EU. Expect to hear a lot of that, Farage saying that Clegg is just saying publicly what Cameron thinks privately

19:02 Clegg is going heavy on the risks of leaving the EU, warns it would put at risk all the hard work done to right the economy

18.58: The Ukip delegation has just arrived, this is a big test of whether they can do the things that professional political parties have to be able to do

18:50: The spin room for the Clegg / Farage deate is a reminder of the cultural differences between the Lib Dems and Ukip. The Lib Dems have a large spin team assiduously working the room with Danny Alexander and Tim Farron doing on camera interviews. By contrast, I haven’t seen anyone from Ukip yet.

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