Nick Clegg issues challenge to Ukip: 'It's time for a proper, public debate on Europe'
The Deputy Prime Minister has vowed to go head-to-head with Nigel Farage ahead of the European Parliamentary elections
Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader, has been challenged by Nick Clegg to a live debate over Britain’s membership of the European Union.
The Liberal Democrat leader called for the televised clash to take place ahead of the European Parliamentary elections in May. Several broadcasters are understood to have already expressed their interest in hosting the confrontation.
Mr Farage is expected to give his answer on Friday but Ukip said it wanted any debate over Britain’s place in the EU to include David Cameron and Ed Miliband.
Mr Clegg’s move comes a week after he disclosed a high-risk strategy to go head-to-head with the anti-EU party in May’s elections.
Writing in The Independent, the Deputy Prime Minister said he planned to contrast the Lib Dems’ avowedly pro-European stance as “the party of ‘in’” with Ukip’s commitment to quit the EU.
He argued his party had a “unique selling point” on Europe, claiming many Conservatives want to pull out and that Labour is reluctant to attack Ukip.
In his LBC 97.3 radio phone-in show, Mr Clegg said: “I will challenge Nigel Farage to a public, open debate about whether we should be in or out of the European Union. That’s the choice facing the British people.
“He is the leader of the party of out, I am the leader of the party of in. It’s time for a proper public debate so that the public can listen to the arguments and decide for themselves.”
A Ukip spokesman said Mr Farage welcomed the “kind invitation and would give his response in his own phone-in programme today (fri).
“Perhaps Nick Clegg could also let us know whether he has invited David Cameron and Ed Miliband too in order that the British people can see all their main political leaders argue their positions,” he added.
Mr Clegg’s move came after Tim Farron, the Lib Dem president, warned the party faces "fight of our lives" not to lose all of its 12 Euro-MPs in May’s elections.
- 1 Forget 'The Dress': Here are five of the biggest news stories you might have missed
- 2 The black and blue dress: Makers considering a white and gold version
- 3 Prince Harry leaving the armed forced to pursue conservation projects in Africa
- 4 PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
Leonard Nimoy dead: Star Trek Spock actor dies after suffering lung disease
PornHub turns masturbation into energy in bid to save the planet
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin, says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
White and gold or blue and black – what colour is the dress? An eyewitness gives a definitive answer
New theory could prove how life began and disprove God
Half of Ukip voters say they are prejudiced against people of other races
'Cash for access' scandal: Sir Malcolm Rifkind says 'unrealistic' for MPs to live on £67,000 salary
This is what it's like to be dead, according to a guy who died for a bit
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Aqsa Mahmood branded a 'disgrace' by her parents after claims she recruited three UK girls flying to Middle East
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - A great new opportunity with real pot...
Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: EXETER - An outstanding senior opportunity for...
salary equal to £40K pro-rata: Sauce Recruitment: Are you available to start a...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Creative Front-End Developer - Claph...