#NickvNigel – We have a date

nick clegg v nigel farageIt’s just been announced – the date we’ve been waiting for, when Nick Clegg will face Nigel Farage to debate whether Britain should be in or out of the EU.

Nick challenged Nigel two weeks ago on his Call Clegg radio show on LBC.

The debate will actually be televised, on BBC2 and will take place on Wednesday 2 April at 7pm.

Julian Huppert has just been on the BBC News Channel saying that he thinks that Nick will do really well, making the positive case for the European Union. On the two largest parties in British politics, he said:

I’m not surprised the other two parties have refused to take part. David Cameron’s party is completely split and Labour don’t quite know where they are on this. We are the only party who wants to be IN Europe, IN work.

He also supported Nick’s attack on the general laziness and ineffectiveness of UKIP MEPs:

People who voted UKIP wanted their MEPs to go to Brussels and do something. They haven’t delivered. It’s right to expose that.

So, get in the popcorn and as much food and drink from European countries as you can find and gather round on 2 April to watch the debate with us.

Update: Well, actually, we have 2 dates. LBC will be having their debate a week earlier, on 26th March at 7pm.

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  • Eddie Sammon 5th Mar '14 - 9:59am

    I was genuinely disappointed to find this out. I think it is a net vote loser, especially once you consider opportunity cost.

  • Tracy Connell 5th Mar '14 - 10:22am

    The first debate will be held on LBC on 26 March at 7pm


  • This surely means that Cameron and Miliband have chosen not to take part – can’t imagine the BBC would have not formally asked them even if they weren’t obligated to do so.

    Some may consider these debates as conferring a legitimacy on UKIP that they don’t merit , but the public have done so at the ballot. For one, I’m glad we’re standing up to their nonsense and taking the lead in making the European case.

  • Stuart Mitchell 5th Mar '14 - 12:19pm

    “He [Julian Huppert] also supported Nick’s attack on the general laziness and ineffectiveness of UKIP MEPs. ‘People who voted UKIP wanted their MEPs to go to Brussels and do something. They haven’t delivered. It’s right to expose that.'”

    Farage has a pretty convincing riposte to that on the BBC News website:

    “Nick Clegg has some cheek raising attendance and voting records. Although Nick Clegg lives in London, between 2010 and 2014 he has voted in Westminster only 22.6% of the time. By contrast I live eight hours away from Strasbourg, lead a national party and have voted 55% of the time in the European Parliament.”

    I thought Julian Huppert was the proverbial “evidence-based” MP?

  • Farage responded by saying that by contrast with Clegg he “lead[s] a national party”? The knives really are out, aren’t they?

  • We can’t afford to cock this up. UKIP has to be taken out now and taken out convincingly. The arguments have to be relevant and the facts checked and double-checked. Clegg is a better debater than Farage, but any flaws in our arguments will undermine his performance and our case.

  • Paul Pettinger 5th Mar '14 - 4:31pm

    If we really are in a period of four Party politics, as this pact with UKIP suggests, then it leaves in tatters the leadership’s previous strategy of placing the the Party in the ‘centre’ between the Conservatives and Labour, making little strategic sense beyond gifting Labour victory in 2015. Audacious or desperate?

  • Alex Macfie 5th Mar '14 - 4:41pm

    We should not be having a party leaders discussion at all, it should be a debate between the leaders of the European Parliamentary parties, and it should focus on issues that MEPs discuss and vote on. Not something over which MEPs have no influence whatsoever.

  • @Stuart Mitchell – As a member of the government, Nick Clegg has delivered an agreed government programme of legislation. By way of contrast, Farage has not delivered on legislation because: a) the EP doesn’t operate such programmes of legislation and b) he doesn’t turn up to try and influence the (individual pieces of) legislation that the EP does deal with, thus depriving his voters of their say on such matters.

  • Nigel Farage is likely to bring up inconvenient facts. For example, George Soros predicted the Euro would have a life of about fifteen years from the outset. Many others saw that the single currency could never work with so many differing economies ranging from Northern industrial power houses to poorer Mediterranean and Eastern European states. It is also a fact that Greece lied about the state of its economy to join the Euro and that Brussels encouraged this, with disastrous results. Unfortunately, we may not like UKIP and Farage but Nick will be making a big mistake to attempt to defend these and other serious failures whilst presenting his arguments in favour of the EU.

  • Bill Chapman 7th Mar '14 - 3:13pm

    You might be entertained by the views of Daily Mail readers (apparently many of them UKIP voters) on the Liberal Democrats. Go to:

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