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Live UK general election debate blog

April 21st, 2010
02:43 PM ET

On Thursday, the leaders of the three main parties in Britain take part in a crucial televised election debate on foreign policy.

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/04/21/nextdebate.art.gettyimages.jpg
caption="Who will come away the big winner this week?"]

The relatively unknown Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was widely seen to have triumphed in last week’s live debate on domestic affairs, sending an electrical charge through the election campaign.

The Liberal Democrats' standing in opinion polls has soared - some polls have even put the Liberal Democrats in first place.

Although it is Gordon Brown's ruling Labour Party which Clegg's success has pushed into third position in the polls, it is David Cameron's Conservatives who stand to lose the most if the Lib Dem advance continues.

And so the world will be watching closely to see if Clegg can maintain his difference.

Topics for discussion include the war in Afghanistan, replacement of Britain’s Trident missile system, and Britain’s ties with Europe.

We want to hear from you – whether you watched the event on television or followed the debate via our online blog right here.

Who do you think made the biggest impression – were there any outright winners or losers? Did Nick Clegg come away as the winner? If you are writing in from overseas – why do you care?

Here's how the debate went.

20:01 (London) – Well the debate has started with Gordon Brown opening up saying this election is not a TV popularity contest.

20:02 – Cameron says that government needs to be accountable and that there needs to be good value for money.

20:03 – Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader says that the old parties have let people down and says we shouldn't have invaded in Iraq.

20:05 – First question is on how the leaders would tackle integration with Europe.

20:12 – Nick Clegg says that the UK punches above its weight if we stand together.

20:13 – Brown says let us sort out our problems.

20:15 – Next question is whether the UK would participate in future multi-national operations against terrorists abroad.

20:20 – The discussion has shifted to the role of UK troops in Afghanistan.

20:24 – Cameron mentions the Trident missile shield and Clegg says why spend money on a cold war system?

20:25 – Gordon Brown says to David Clegg "Get real" when it comes to nuclear threats.

20:26 – Next question is on climate change and what has each leader done personally to tackle climate change.

20:35 – The debate goes back to Europe for a brief minute.

20:36 – Next question is on the Catholic church scandal and whether you would cut ties with the Vatican and the Pope's visit to the UK.

20:37 – Cameron says he looks forward to the Pope coming to the UK, but that the Catholic Church has a lot of work.

20:38 – Clegg says he is not a man of faith, but says he understand faith and that he does welcome the Pope's visit.

20:39 – Brown says the church needs to deal with the problems and says he welcomes the pope's visit because the Catholic Church is a great part of British society.

20:43 – Next question is on how to restore faith in the political system.

20:44 – Clegg says that the political system needs to change.

20:44 – Brown says that your vote does count and you will have the right to make changes to make the political system work better.

20:46 – Cameron says he wants total transparency and that we also need to cut the costs of politics. Everyone around the country has had to make cuts so why shouldn't politics be the same?

20:53 – Brown says that you need to clean up the scandal and that he is ashamed of it.

20:54 – Clegg says it's not just good enough to talk the talk and not walk the walk.

20:54 – Next question is about pensions for seniors.

20:59 – Clegg says there are 2.5 million pensioners living in poverty. He wants to use the money that the government has.

21:03 – Brown and Cameron argue over campaign leaflets and free bus fare for seniors.

21:05 – Next question is on whether a coalition government is the best bet for politics?

21:05 – Cameron says he doesn't think a hung parliament would be a good thing and that you could see a situation where the confidence will come out of the economy.

21:06 – Clegg says that when country faces big issues that it is better when politicians work together. He wants to set up a council for financial accountability.

21:07 – Brown says the key plan is to strengthen the economy and there isn't any agreement on what the best way is to do that.

21:10 – Clegg says that people deserve the best government.

21:14 – Brown says you don't solve the problem by making your banks smaller and you need to have proper controls.

21:17 – The debate has shifted to foreigners taking British jobs and immigration.

21:19 – Brown talks about the introduction of foreign national identity cards and how everyone will be counted in and everyone will be counted out.

21:23 – Cameron says you can only get reach change by choosing the conservative party.

21:24 – Clegg says the immigration debate is difficult to stop pretending to know the answers.

21:26 – Time for the leaders to make final pitches to voters.