30/04/2010

'Don't Risk Change' Urges Brown

The final political debate before polling day hit our televisions last night with the three party leaders locking horns in what was the last of three televised debates.

PM Gordan Brown warned voters not to "risk change" while the Tory leader accused Mr Brown of scare tactics.

Third in many opinion polls, Mr Brown warned against a Tory and Lib Dem coalition claiming it would put economic recovery "at risk".

David Cameron said Mr Brown was trying to "scare" voters and the Tories could deliver the "change we need". Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg urged voters to "choose the future you really want".

Meanwhile the subject of immigration was not long in being raised. The issue sparked heated exchanges just 24 hours after the 'bigotgate' row erupted over Gordon Brown’s unguar­ded comments about a Labour voter.

The angriest moments came when both Mr Brown and Conservative leader David Cameron accused the Liberal Democrats of planning an amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg insisted that, unlike Conservative London mayor Boris Johnson, he was not in favour of an amnesty, saying: "It’s very much the style of old politics, making misleading claims."

Mr Clegg added: "Why don’t we save time and just assume every time you speak about our policies you are wrong."
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The last of the TV debates was meant to focus on the economy, with the first 45 minutes given over to the subject, but the evening kicked into life when immig­ration was raised.

Mr Clegg demanded to know the number of EU residents who would be allowed into Britain under the Conservatives’ proposed immigration cap.

Mr Cameron said immigration was "out of control these last few years and, from what I’ve heard, the Liberal Democrats would make it much, much worse".

Repeating his call for numbers of incomers to be cut from hundreds of thousands to tens of thous­ands, Mr Cameron said that if Tory policies were implemented, "we wouldn’t hear on the doorsteps and the streets as we go about this election campaign people worried about immigration."

Mr Brown focused on the need to limit economic migration in areas where sufficient home-grown workers were available to fill jobs.

Political analysis said the debate had no clear winner, but after the events of the past 48 hours the momentum entering the final week of the campaign appeared to be with Mr Cameron.

BBC polling expert David Cowling said two instant reaction polls, for ComRes and YouGov, showed exactly the same movement - no change for Mr Clegg over the second debate, an increase of 5% for Mr Cameron and a drop of 4% for Mr Brown.

(LB/GK)

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