Who really won the Question Time Election Leaders Special?

Podium slip-ups, darkened rooms and "strong and commanding performances" - we round up the big talking points from Cameron, Clegg and Miliband's QT Q&As

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Thursday night’s Question Time special saw David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband given 28 minutes apiece to answer questions from what turned out to be a rather feisty audience. There were slip-ups, jokes and colourful graphs galore. And while certain observers thought one leader in particular put in a “strong and commanding performance”, here’s how they all did when it came to the really big issues…

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The Podium

The leaders addressed the audience from a Q-shaped stage raised less than a foot off the ground (although try telling that to Ed Miliband). How they scored depends on whether you enforce strict rules and penalise the competitors whenever their feet stray outside the boundaries of the podium or allow them to perform freestyle and award points for artistic merit.  

X marked the spot for Nick Clegg, who was glued to the ballot box motif at the centre of the Q for the entire time, but was nevertheless seen by many to have engaged best with the audience. 

The Prime Minister stuck to the stage for the duration of his bout too, but spent most of it teetering on the front edge, getting as close as he could to the front row of voters while remaining raised just that tiny bit above them.

Ed Miliband made the controversial decision to leave the stage and meet the people face to face, and could have won on points for this if he hadn’t ended his routine with a difficult dismount. He made a good recovery but the judges will find it hard to let a mistake like that go…

The Darkened Room

According to David Cameron, the details of a new coalition are thrashed out not in a boardroom but in some kind of Westminster dungeon. “You go into some dark room with Nick Clegg or someone else and you start giving things away,” revealed the PM. “I don’t want to do that…”

Ed Miliband was similarly wary of feeling his way around the proclivities of the other party leaders with the lights turned off…

But unaffected by their double snub, Nick Clegg unleashed the killer blow – a punchline that had viewers on their feet…

Twitter sentiment

These graphs were a lot more colourful back when all seven party leaders were involved but they still add a splash of colour to proceedings and give an indication of what the Twitter-using portion of Question Time viewers thought of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband’s performances…

Of course, there’s always some debate, even among statisticians…

As far as personalities go, though, it’s the man who’s been in power the longest who viewers still rate most highly…

Great minds?

If you’re after a party with a clear and united outlook, you now know who to vote for. These tweets were sent within moments of one another after David Cameron concluded his session…

The real winners

But it wasn’t the politicians who got many viewers’ votes on the night…

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If they really want their approval ratings to increase, maybe Cameron, Clegg and Miliband should consider sitting in the audience next time…