Opposition Leaders Debate - LIVE

David Cameron (Conservative) and Nick Clegg (Lib Dem) will not be featuring in the BBC debate.

Tonight's debate will feature:

~Ed Miliband (Labour)

~Nigel Farage (UKIP)

~Natalie Bennett (Green Party)

~Nicola Sturgeon (SNP)

~Leanne Wood (Plaid Cymru)

The opposition leaders debate kicks off at 8pm.

16/04/15 Reverse order Timestamp format


  1. Live coverage of tonight's opposition leaders debate will start at 7.30pm, with updates from Live Blogs Editor Michael Seymour.

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  2. Less than half an hour to go till tonight's opposition leaders debate. Leaders from Labour, Ukip, Green Party, SNP and Plaid Cymru will feature, but no PM or Deputy PM.

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  3. Labour leader Ed Miliband has taunted Cameron for missing the debate and Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has said he feels "left out".

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  4. Ed Miliband probably has the most to lose/ gain tonight and is likely to face an onslaught from the other four opposition leaders.

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  5. Tonight's podium order from left to right: Ed Miliband, Leanne Wood, Natalie Bennett, Nicola Sturgeon, Nigel Farage.

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  6. Tonight's question order...

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  7. Right, time for the debate...

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  8. Opening statement from Plaid Cyrmu's Leanne Wood...

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  9. "Cuts are a choice, austerity is not inevitable."

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  10. UKIP's Nigel Farage...

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  11. Cut the foreign aid budget, contributions to the EU and adopt an Australian style points system for immigration.

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  12. 'I'm the only person saying what you are thinking.'

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  13. Labour's Ed Miliband attacks Cameron for not coming tonight.

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  14. Labour will put "working families first".

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  15. SNP's Nicola Sturgeon says the SNP will work from inside Westminster to work for the many, not the few.

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  16. Sturgeon and Wood have both mentioned coalitions possible coalitions.

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  17. Green Party's Natalie Bennett: "Challenge the establishment, vote Green."

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  18. Miliband and Bennett both got good responses from the BBC tracker worm for their opening statements.

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  19. The first question is on spending cuts.

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  20. Ed Miliband was criticised for his 'robotic performance' in the last leaders debate, particular for looking directly down the camera... he's at it again this time.

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  21. The first question in full: "Do you think it's fair to increase goverment spending when my generation will be left to pay the debt?" from Charlotte Dennis.

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  22. Nigel Farage claims to be the only one of the five to be able to cut the spending and balance the books.

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  23. Big applause for Nicola Sturgeon who just criticised Cameron for not coming to defend his record in government.

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  24. The other four party leaders plan to balance the books through investment. Wood "wants to tackle the deficit, but not at any cost".

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  25. Wood to Miliband: 'Would you hold an emergancy budget to reverse Tory cuts?'

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  26. Miliband uses the opportunity to bring up the mansion tax.

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  27. Sturgeon says there is no difference between Cameron and Miliband.

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  28. "Lynton, it's Dave. Are you still sure I shouldn't have attended this debate?" #BBCDebate pic.twitter.com/sB0q3czP7J
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  29. Bennett is now taking on Miliband for only being 'a little bit better' than Cameron.

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  30. Next Question, thoughts on lack of affordable housing and how they plan to tackle it. Dimbleby points out this is a devolved issue for Wales and Scotland.

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  31. Miliband vs. Sturgeon looks like being the real debate tonight. #BBCDebate
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  32. Miliband: Build more houses and tackle the private renting market.

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  33. It's not all positive though, David Cameron getting the highest percentage of negative tweets for no-show. #GE2015 pic.twitter.com/5ufB9tiIO7
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  34. Farage brings up 'the immigration problem' and UKIP's brown field policy for building more homes.

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  35. A lot of talk of a rent cap from the leaders.

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  36. Sturgeon also pointed out that homes need to be protected from the Conservative right-to-buy policy for those who can't afford to buy and need to rent.

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  37. Miliband: 'Not opposed to right-to-buy, but the Tory plan wont work.'

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  39. Farage accuses the BBC for getting in a biased, left-wing audience... Boos from the audience. "The real audience are at home." Probably not the best idea to insult the audience, Nigel.

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  40. Other leaders attacking Farage for blaming everything on immigration.

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  41. Farage is self-imploding before our very eyes. #BBCdebate
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  42. The #WheresDave meme is now in full swing...

    We seek him here, we seek him there, we seek Tory Dave everywhere! #WheresDave pic.twitter.com/Oh77QBPjKx
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  43. Third question, can we really give up Trident and not meet the 2% GDP spending on defence?

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  44. For Farage, it's a definite no.

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  45. Bennett does not feel safer with nuclear weapons (Trident).

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  46. Applause for Bennett on that point.

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  47. Over on Google, Ed Miliband is the most searched of the five leaders so far.

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  48. Wood says we can't afford it when money is needed for people struggling to get by in Britain. Says we should realise our diminished role in the world and become a beacon for human rights.

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  49. Sturgeon wants to get rid of Trident and spend the money on conventional forces and on the issues affecting people in Britain.

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  51. Absent Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg has just tweeted...

    For clarity, I was not invited to #BBCDebate. I would have happily taken part and proudly defended our strong @LibDems record in government.
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  52. Farage asks Miliband, would he sign up to a European army? Miliband's answer, "No".

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  53. The EU are also building a Death Star, breeding a Godzilla and manufacturing Metal Gear Rex. #BBCDebate
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  54. Miliband brings up his 'saying no to Obama over Syria' line again.

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  55. Unsuprisingly, Leanne Wood disagrees with Farage again over UKIP's stance on defence.

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  56. 52 minutes in and still no mention of wealth creation. #bbcdebate
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  57. https://twitter.com/Classthinktank/status/588789489797095424

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  58. He we go... It's the immigration question.

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  59. "Immigration has put public services at real risk, what are your plans to deal with this?"

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  60. Bennett wants to celebrate the contribution of migrants.

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  61. Sturgeon says there should be controlled immigration, but we should solved the problem through investment, not scape goating immigrants.

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  63. Miliband says he has changed Labour's stance on immigrants.

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  64. Time to tackle the bosses who are undercutting wages with immigrants.

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  65. Nigel Farage claims UKIP is being abused over immigration, Leanne Wood puts him down (again) over his HIV+ comments in the last leaders debate.

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  66. Complete silence amongst audience after Nigel Farage finishes rant about immigrants and EU. Wow #BBCDebate
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  67. More on Ed Miliband's looking down the camera tactic...

    Stop looking straight at me Ed, I'm sitting on my sofa in my shorts and it's not appropriate. #BBCDebate
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  68. Farage repeats his HIV+ comments that got a lot of criticism during the leaders debate and a lot of news articles said had no evidence behind them. http://www.theguardian.com/politics/reality-check/2015/apr/03/do-foreigners-come-to-uk-to-get-hiv-treatment

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  69. Ed making some at home uncomfortable again with his looking down the camera.

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  70. ... and again.

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  71. ... and again.

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  72. Can of worms opened there! A question on what kind of coalition deals are on the table.

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  74. The question in full: "What kind of a deal would you be prepared to enter into in the event of a hung Parliament?"

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  75. Sturgeon: 'I' can work with anyone other than Cameron and Farage.'

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  76. Pretty much the same from Leanne Wood "I not prop up a Conservative government."

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  77. And the same from Natalie Bennett.

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  78. Ed says no to a SNP coalition.

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  79. Farage has been pretty quiet on this question, I doubt he'll be making Labour a coalition offer.

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  80. "Dave, I'm here in the spin room but no-one's talking to me. Not sure why. Will keep trying. Best, Jeremy" pic.twitter.com/Fe3Rg2oDnA
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  81. Miliband swiping left on Tinder, Sturgeon swiping right #BBCDebate
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  82. So, that marks the end of the questions. Time for the closing statements.

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  83. Sturgeon: "None of us can afford any more austerity." No to Trident, yes to investment.

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  84. Wood: "Opposition that offers more of the same is no opposition."

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  85. The debate now ended, Lib-Dems and Conservatives now have their say in a special QT.

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  86. Hague saying Labour & SNP would be a "coalition of chaos"

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  87. No matter how good or experienced he is, it’s still a bit strange to have Hague spinning for the Tories given he’s not standing as an MP
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  88. Sorry for the short delay, we were having some technical difficulties. We're back on track now!

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  89. Lib Dem MP Danny Alexander said David Cameron wouldn't let them join the debate

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  90. An apparent contradiction compared to what the Lib-Dems were saying earlier today.

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  91. UKIP's Mark Reckless says Farage was "the only adult in the room". Did he include the audience as well?

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  92. Jean Lambert, MEP for the Green Party, says a handful of Green MPs could influence the next parliament.

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  93. Sinn Féin's Chris Hazzard says tonight's debate showed a lack of interest in NI from the other parties.

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  94. DUP's Nigel Dodd says they will work with either Conservatives or Labour depending on the results of the election.

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  95. Dodd argues for a referendum on the membership of the United Kingdom in the EU, says DUP could be "powerful influence for good".

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  96. BBC are now interviewing members of the audience, including the most improbable floating voter. From UKIP sympathizer to fawning over Sturgeon!

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  97. Aaand it's over. We'll be be back shortly with our summary of tonight's debate!

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