The election countdown began last night when the three men hoping to be Britain's next Chancellor clashed in a live TV debate...
Chancellor Alistair Darling went head-to-head with his Tory shadow George Osborne and Lib Dem rival Vince Cable last night in a live TV debate.
The trio traded blows on how their parties would save Britain’s economy if voters back them in the May 6 ballot.
Channel 4‘s Question Time-style ‘Ask The Chancellors‘ show was billed as a big political showdown. Each candidate told how they would tackle the UK’s huge deficit, but there were no surprises.
Darling and Osborne locked horns over Labour’s plan to postpone public spending cuts to avoid derailing the recovery. Darling said ‘premature’ reductions risked ‘tipping us back into recession‘, while Osborne hit back saying: ‘The sooner you deal with a debt problem, the better.’
Cable said it was time Britain cleaned up the financial markets and rooted out the ‘prima donnas’. He said his long private sector experience made him the best candidate. And he reminded viewers by warning of the dangers in the economy before the crash.
Alistair Darling said the government had made the right calls on the economy. George Osborne said Labour had turned one of the strongest economies in Europe into one of the weakest. For his part, Vince Cable accused the Tories of wanting to get ‘their noses in the trough and reward their rich backers’.
But they all accepted that spending cuts on the way would be deeper than anything under Margaret Thatcher’s government.
It was Mr Cable who won the most laughs, and garnered occasional applause. But the question of who looked most like the ideal occupant of Number 11 Downing Street will ultimately be decided by the voters.