General Election TV debates: Shall I use jiu jitsu to put Nigel Farage on the floor?

The leaders are in fighting talk ahead of tonight’s seven-way TV debate

David Cameron has raised expectations of a dramatic night in ITV’s leaders’ debate by suggesting he could use martial arts to defeat his opponents.

He was meeting children at a school in Warrington this morning and asked them for advice about how he should deal with the threat of Nigel Farage:

“I’m doing this debate tonight so Jujitsu is that the right thing? Shall I get Nigel Farage and put him on the floor?”

But before the Ukip leader’s team had even started to teach Mr Farage the best forms of jiu jitsu defence, Mr Cameron had ruled it out – perhaps the first of many u-turns we will see today.

 

Unfortunately the rest of what he and the other leaders said was a little more mundane: 

Is the Prime Minister nervous? "No, look, these things are big occasions, but the fact is if you have got a track record, you have got a long term economic plan ... then you've got something real to talk about, not just words."

Nick Clegg is already trying to dismiss the significance of the smaller parties in tonight’s debate. With an inconclusive result expected in the polls on May 7, some have proposed a multi-party coalition, but Mr Clegg is having none of it, describing the prospect as “a recipe for insomnia”.

 

“I think this idea that you have a government with a whole array of single issue parties all pulling this way or that is a recipe for insomnia after votes are strung out night after night in the House of Commons, but it is also a recipe for a messy way of governing the country,” he said on his weekly Call Clegg LBC radio show.

Mr Farage said he was feeling "pretty good" ahead of tonight, despite facing the prospect of a literal kicking from Mr Cameron this evening. "I hope the truth comes out on some issues,” he said.

"I shall be arguing and asking the Prime Minister and others, will they please admit that, as members of the EU, we cannot have an immigration policy of any kind at all."

Ed Miliband said he was relishing the chance to “talk directly to the British people” and said would “make a simple case - a case for change, because I believe it is only when working people succeed that Britain succeeds."

Meanwhile Nicola Sturgeon said tonight’s “historic” multi-party debate signalled “it is not just Scotland that wants change, but people across the whole of the UK”.

Ms Sturgeon is reported to be planning to meet Green party leader Natalie Bennett and Leanne Wood of Plaid Cymru in a joint informal meeting before tonight’s debate in Manchester. Will they be discussing tactics of how to beat the men?

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