Martin Bright

The Leaders’ Debate: Well Done Chaps

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Shall we stop being cynical for a moment and congratulate Brown, Cameron and Clegg for being the first political leaders in Britain to take part in a televised election debate? Indeed, we should particularly congratulate Gordon Brown for agreeing to this. He had by far the most to lose.

There is absolutely no doubt that Nick Clegg won this. He faltered from time to time, but was the only one confident enough to take thoughtful (if sometimes stagey) pauses. 

I thought Gordon Brown also did surprisingly well. He kept his cool and showed that he is an accomplished debater. His jokes were over-prepared and characteristically dreadful, but he warmed up through the 90 minutes and challenged Cameron very effectively on several occasions, especially over police spending. 

Cameron was disappointing, but people forget that he was not entirely convincing against David Davis in the Tory leadership debates.

Gordon Brown should be worried precisely because he did relatively well in the debate. For some reason this doesn't appear to have made any impact on the way people thought about him.