So how did they do? YouGov name SNP leader Nicola Sturgeon as the winner of the Leaders’ Debate and say David Cameron came out better than Ed Miliband.
Nicola Sturgeon was judged best-performing leader in tonight’s debate in a poll of 1,117 viewers by YouGov, with 28 per cent backing.
She was followed by Nigel Farage on 20 per cent, David Cameron 18 per cent, Ed Miliband 15 per cent, Nick Clegg 10 per cent, Natalie Bennett 5 per cent and Leanne Wood 4 per cent.
Ed Miliband was judged best performer in an ICM poll for the Guardian, taking 25 per cent of support, just ahead of David Cameron on 24 per cent and Nigel Farage on 19 per cent.
The heckler who interrupted David Cameron during the TV leaders’ debate said she would not be voting for any of the politicians who took part in the seven-way showdown.
Victoria Prosser, 33, said she was asked to leave after making her intervention during the ITV debate in Salford.
Speaking to reporters outside the studio, she said: “My cause is speaking the truth and making sure as many people as possible start questioning people at the top, the 1 per cent, who are not working in our best interests.”
‘They’re both blaming each other and they’re both right’ – Ed Miliband on David Cameron and Nick Clegg.
‘When he was in the Cabinet about half a million people lost their jobs so never mind zero-hours, with Ed there’d be zero jobs’ – Cameron on Miliband.
‘Nigel Farage talks about ‘remember history’. The Farage family were foreigners once. I’m married to a foreigner. You are married to a foreigner’ – Clegg to Nigel Farage.
‘What’s going on here? Get real, please’ – Farage to everyone else.
‘The answer is investing more in homes and public services and enforcing a decent minimum wage, not scapegoating immigrants’ – Nicola Sturgeon
‘You don’t have to go on voting for the lesser of two evils. That’s how we ended up with the tired, failed politics that we have now’ – Natalie Green.
‘It was not Polish care workers or Estonian bar workers who caused this economic crisis – it was bankers’ – Leanne Wood.
Mr Farage said he believed in the NHS and that he had needed it more than most people, having been in “so many scrapes” in his life.
He said he did not agree with privatisation and that Ukip would put in an extra £3billion of funding from EU savings.
Ms Sturgeon called the NHS the “most precious” public service the nation has.
She added: “In Scotland we have protected the budget of the NHS and we will always do so. We also believe passionately that the NHS should always be run as a public service, not for private profit. That’s why we oppose the privatisation that is happening in England. We oppose it in principle but also because it poses a risk in the long term to Scotland’s budget.”
Ms Bennett said there was a “race” towards setting up the structures for privatisation within the NHS, adding: “Profit motive should have no place in healthcare.”
Mr Clegg asked the leaders to put their money where their hearts are. He added: “The NHS doesn’t need warm words. It needs hard cash … the Liberal Democrats have a plan about how to find that.”
Ms Wood said the NHS in Wales faced two threats – from continued austerity cuts and centralisation under Labour in Wales. She said she would fund it from general taxation and that her party would recruit and attract more doctors to Wales to match levels across the rest of the UK.
Mr Miliband said he was “deeply concerned” about the crisis in the NHS and told viewers Labour would get money from a mansion tax, from hedge funds engaging in tax avoidance and from the tobacco companies. He added: “It’s not just more staff. It is also joining up services from home to hospital.”
Mr Cameron said the NHS was the “most important national institution and national public service that we have”. He also told viewers he would not forget what he had received as the father of a disabled son in terms of “unbelievable” care and support.