UK & World News

  • 3 April 2014, 15:08

Clegg 'Delighted' After EU Debate Drubbing

Nick Clegg has said he is "delighted" with his performance in the EU debates with Nigel Farage despite more than two-thirds of people saying he lost.

The Deputy Prime Minister insisted he had not been "bruised" by the clashes but added: "I totally accept that what I say might not be popular."

Speaking on his weekly LBC programme Mr Clegg repeated his "marathon not a sprint" defence on the argument over whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union.

However, his party is facing loses in the May 22 European election while UKIP is expecting gains. Polls last night showed even one in three Lib Dems thought Mr Cleggwas the loser for the second week running.

Wednesday night's ICM/Guardian poll saw 69% awarding a win to Mr Farage, while aYouGov/The Sun poll saw 68% considering the UKIP leader the victor.

After last week's LBC debate shown by Sky News a YouGov poll showed 57% of people thought Mr Farage, who celebrated his 50th birthday on Thursday, had won that debate.

Mr Clegg said: "I totally accept that what I say might not be popular, clearly as the polls have indicated overnight.

"I don't feel bruised at all ... The debate has now finally started. These were two hours of a debate that will now go on month in, month out.

"I understand given the myth making around the EU over the last 20 years it is quite a challenge to contest these myths and these settled perceptions.

"But I am delighted the debate has started because this is a marathon not a sprint."

He added: "I think he is a good debater and he has got good straightforward lines which say, look don't worry, the complexities of the world, we can just get rid of it, all by just saying to hell with the rest of the world."

During the hour-long debate on Wednesday night the two men clashed on Syria, Vladimir Putin and immigration.

In often angry exchanges the two men accused each other of lying and making up facts.

Mr Farage warned that immigration had left the "white working-class effectively as an underclass" but had helped the rich "because it is cheaper nannies and cheaper chauffeurs and cheaper gardeners".

But Mr Clegg pointed out that immigration would continue to be challenging whether Britain remained a member of the EU or not.

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