Young people got to grill four major party leaders today ahead of the General Election.
Prime Minister David Cameron, Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg, Labour leader Ed Miliband and the Green Party’s Natalie Bennett were all quizzed by 16 to 25-year-olds.
Ukip’s Nigel Farage was also invited to take part in Sky News’ Stand Up Be Counted: Ask The Leaders event.
We’ll take you through the highlights from all four of the leaders, in case you missed it, along with all the best comments from Twitter.
Natalie Bennett – Green Party
The Green Party leader said there needs to be more education about politics in schools and an opportunity for pupils to have a greater say through things like school councils. “If you start voting from an early age in school then you can move on from there,” she said.
Speaking about the Scottish independence referendum, when 16-year-olds were able to vote, she said: “The Scots showed us the way in the referendum – an 85% turnout – young people voting in almost the same proportion as the over 60s.
“If people did that, if people went out and voted for what they believe in, whatever that is, we could actually have a peaceful political revolution. So it’s actually in all of your hands as voters to deliver.”
She said it was important to start building more council housing and stressed the need for more affordable housing, adding that “so-called affordable housing in London” is too expensive.
She added that the Greens want to put a cap on how much it costs to rent a home from a private landlord. Her party would also give tenants security of tenure, which would make it more difficult for landlords to throw them out, and protect existing council housing by getting rid of the Right to Buy scheme, which allows most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount.
A round of applause for Natalie Bennet when she says people need to stop blaming immigrants. #AskTheLeaders The kids are alright.
— Stephen Bush (@stephenkb) February 2, 2015
We need to get housing “away from being a financial asset and back to being homes.” Natalie Bennett. #AskTheLeaders
— Jason Farrell (@JasonFarrellSky) February 2, 2015
Oops. Sky News broadcasts presenter’s thoughts on Natalie Bennett in ads “Don’t think she set the room on fire.. no charisma” #AskTheLeaders
— John Stevens (@johnestevens) February 2, 2015
Ed Miliband – Labour Party
Ed Miliband fought back against an attack from the chairman of Boots, Stefano Pessina, who said at the weekend that the Labour leader would be “a catastrophe” as Prime Minister.
Answering a question about tax, Mr Miliband said: “Yesterday the chairman of Boots started telling people how to vote in the UK General Election.
“Well it turns out that the chairman of Boots lives in Monaco and is actually avoiding his taxes. Mr Pessina has been trying to lecture us about what we should be doing in this country. Frankly I think he should be paying his taxes.”
On tackling the radicalisation of British Muslims by terror group Isis, he said: “What we know about the radicalisation of young people is the best thing we can do is prevent it from happening, not deal with it after it happens.”
He also added that the Labour Party will have a young people’s manifesto in the run up to the General Election.
This demonstrates perfectly why Cameron desperate to avoid debates. Ed Miliband very good at them. Cameron, er, less so… #AskTheLeaders
— Antony Holt (@Hasselschmuck) February 2, 2015
— GreatScot (@daz1985) February 2, 2015
Nick Clegg – Liberal Democrats
Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nick Clegg spent a long time talking about tuition fees.
He said: “Of course I apologise for the fact that particular policy of my party we could not implement.”
He added that he would love to be Prime Minister and to be able to implement his party’s whole manifesto in full. But he said: “It’s a democracy. I didn’t win the election. Of all the MPs in the House of Commons, 9% of them are Liberal Democrats.
“I’ve never hidden from anybody that if you have a Government composed of different parties, by definition, neither party can do everything it wants.”
On the UK’s nuclear weapon, Trident, he said: “I’ve been told by the experts that decommissioning a nuclear weapon system costs a huge amount of money anyway … I’m afraid changing tack on Trident doesn’t necessarily suddenly produce miraculously a whole bunch of money for the NHS.”
Watching Clegg on #AskTheLeaders now. He’s good at this. Talks to young people as equals. Doesn’t patronise or overcompensate.
— Stephen Howse (@liberalstephen) February 2, 2015
— Bazil Saiq (@BazilSaiq) February 2, 2015
Tuition fees wasn’t even on the front page of our manifesto says Clegg. Well that’s alright then #AskTheLeaders
— Adam Bienkov (@AdamBienkov) February 2, 2015
David Cameron – Conservative Party
David Cameron described Prime Minister’s Questions as “a nightmare” but said that it was of some value.
He said: “It does enforce some accountability of the departments and the ministers to you and through you to Parliament. So yes, it is noisy and crazy and infuriating. But there is some sort of point to it.”
The Prime Minister defended Britain’s decision to fly Saudi Arabia’s flag at half-mast when the country’s king died last month. He said: “We don’t agree with lots of things that the Saudis do. We don’t agree with the way they treat people, for instance criminals. We make clear those differences.
“But when the King died, as a mark of respect, we thought it was right to show that respect.”
“But isn’t that disrespectful to the people the Saudi king has sentenced to a thousand lashes?” the questioner responded as many in the audience applauded.
— Adam Hosker (@Adam_Hosker) February 2, 2015
— David Soffer (@David_Soffer) February 2, 2015
— tn:fld (@tnfld) February 2, 2015
Unimpressed by Cameron’s lazy response to public disengagement with PMQs #AskTheLeaders
— Sabrina (@sabrina_sahota) February 2, 2015
— Michael Bonsu (@RealBonsu) February 2, 2015