e-News® | The NEWS Company…London, May 01, 2015 : Was this the night Ed Miliband stumbled? Not just when he briefly lost his footing as he left the Question Time stage but also in the minutes before when he came under repeated fire about Labour’s record on spending and borrowing from a tough crowd of sceptical Yorkshire men and women?
The Labour leader said nothing he has not said repeatedly before – explaining his view that the deficit resulted from the financial crash and not from over spending by the last Labour government. He gave no new hostages to fortune but it was, nevertheless, the toughest ride he’s faced in this campaign.
With David Cameron looking confident the Tories and the Tory press will claim that this was the night the election turned. But – and it is a big but – the prime minister’s performance relied on either ignoring or dodging the hostile questioning he faced about welfare cuts, the bedroom tax, food banks and the morality of his policies.
He was asked repeatedly about whether he would cut child benefit. He repeatedly did not rule it out even as he insisted that he’d rejected proposals to do so in 2012. Labour will not let the electorate forget that. Nick Clegg took the opportunity to tell an audience that seemed to believe this that there was no chance that either of them could form a majority government so voters ought to take another look at him. There was one other major thing of note. For the first time Ed Miliband entertained the possibility that he would form a minority government and insisted he’d do so without resorting to any deal with the SNP.