Nick Clegg rides Sky high: The second leaders’ debate

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While there were no definitive answers on Trident, Iran, or immigration at last night’s second televised leaders’ debate, one thing is for sure: it was an entertaining night of political theatre as Britain’s three vying political leaders grappled with foreign policy and the new televised format.

The Frontline Club screened the second debate on Thursday in partnership with the event’s broadcaster Sky News, before a panel of political journalists and academics cast their expert eye over the action.

Unsurprisingly, there were some prize-winning lines during an evening, but for Frontline panelist Toby Dodge – consulting senior fellow for the Middle East at the International Institute for Strategic Studies – called this was merely "peacock posturing and purple ties."

Flashpoints during the skirmish included Brown’s fumbling "Women – and you, Grace, are one of them…" moment and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg’s "Size does matter" comment.

The post-debate consensus at the club was that Clegg took the top prize, though there was agreement that both Brown and Cameron had improved their performances.

If you missed this event, you can watch the whole thing here:

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Michael Cox,  professor of international relations at LSE, said that nothing new came out of the debate, apart from Cameron’s free eye tests for the elderly, maybe:

Nobody went after Clegg as we wrongly predicted. He wasn’t caught out at all! Though he looked phased on immigration, a bit wobbly, we’re in the same place as last week, only Nick has climbed further up the political scale.

Bronwen Maddox, chief foreign commentator of the Times, said that although Clegg was good, he did take a few political risks.  Namely, he reminded voters that his wife isn’t British and that he is an atheist, which doesn’t tend to win points with voters. She added that Brown performed better than expected and that Cameron seemed isolated.  

But the pub is where British political debate is really played out. Listen here for the expert opinion of Frontline Club punters:



And here’s what people were saying on Twitter…