UK & World News
Clegg Accuses Farage Of 'Siding With Putin'
Nigel Farage's claim that the EU has "blood on its hands" over the Ukraine crisis is "perverse", Nick Clegg has said.
After apparently coming second in Wednesday night's live debate, the Liberal Democrat leader took questions about his performance on his weekly phone-in show with talk radio LBC.
He said: "Clearly a lot of people didn't agree with me. But this is a marathon, not a sprint."
He said "myths" on Europe had been put out by Mr Farage "unchallenged". You cannot turn that around in an hour, he said.
He also accused Mr Farage of "siding with Putin" over the Ukraine crisis after the UKIP leader said the EU had "blood on its hands" for encouraging revolution.
Asked about Mr Farage's comment, Mr Clegg said the remark was made at the end of the debate so he was unable to respond and found it the "most striking, if not shocking" revelation of the debate.
He said it was "such a perverse way of looking at things", adding Russia's annexation of Crimea was "simply unacceptable".
The DPM said the UKIP leader's comments showed "how extreme people can be when their loathing of the EU becomes so all-consuming that they side with Putin".
A clear majority of voters believed Mr Farage beat Mr Clegg in the bitter and impassioned clash, with some 57% of 1,003 people in a YouGov poll pointing to the UKIP leader as the victor, compared to 36% in favour of the Europhile DPM.
A poll on @SkyNews also had the UKIP leader as the winner of the hour-long debate - with more than 1,300 retweets compared with Mr Clegg's 550. The LBC Twitter Worm also called it for Mr Farage.
Mr Clegg argued Britain was "better off in Europe - richer, stronger, safer", but the leader of Eurosceptic UKIP insisted the "crumbling EU isn't working".
Mr Clegg warned leaving the European Union would have "massive consequences" for Britain "for generations to come".
He said that to "simply pull up the drawbridge" would be "devastating" for the UK and "destroy jobs for everyone in our country".
Mr Farage attacked his rival for not supporting a referendum on Britain's EU membership, saying the current situation was "not fair" on British workers.
The clash at a central London hotel - live on LBC and Sky News - was chaired by LBC breakfast host Nick Ferrari and will be followed by a second next week on BBC2.
The debates are likely to be the highest-profile events of the political campaign for the European Parliament and UK council elections, which take place on May 22.