Coffee House

Tory MP suggests Nigel Farage takes Nick Clegg’s place in 2015 debates

3 May 2013

Today’s results for UKIP have re-opened the question of whether Nigel Farage should join the three political leaders in the live TV election debates in 2015. David Cameron’s allies are clear they don’t want that, and Nick Clegg was very dismissive when asked about this on the BBC. He said:

‘I’m not going to start making up the minds of the broadcasters. I think the next general election will be all about who are the parties who can actually govern this country in Westminster. We’ve been here before where UKIP has done well and then not done well in subsequent general elections.’

If Clegg doesn’t fancy being savaged live on TV by Farage, then his ever-helpful friend Peter Bone has a solution. He is pleased the Prime Minister has moved away from calling Farage’s party ‘fruitcakes’ and ‘closet racists’, and tells Coffee House:

‘You do not insult a party the members of a party, when they are clearly gaining votes, that is just crass stupidity. I don’t insult the Labour opponents, I don’t insult Nick Clegg, well, not awfully much. And you just don’t do that. They are now the third force in British politics, the question we’ve got to ask now, when it comes to the leaders’ debates next time, clearly it must be the three main parties: so it’ll be David Cameron, Ed Miliband, and Nigel Farage.’

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Of course, Farage doesn’t have any MPs, while Clegg’s party is 57-strong. But even if you based participation in the TV debates on another measure, such as current poll rating, which in 2015 might mean Farage would have a better claim than Clegg, the other party leaders have already learnt what happens when you let the anti-politics candidate take the stand in a TV debate. Last time round it was Nick Clegg, and he had a far milder brand of exasperated ‘new politics’ than Farage.

He would wreak damage on all three men fighting him. But it’s funny that Bone thinks this is a good idea, given Cameron would arguably suffer the most.

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Show comments
  • andy H1000

    The reasoning given by the main broadcasters in 2010 to
    televise a debate with only LibLabCon leaders was that those parties were the
    only parties capable of forming a government, that is why Alex Salmond of the
    SNP failed in his legal attempt to be included, also why none of the
    independents were present, on that basis, the criteria for inclusion is in no
    way dependant on having sitting MP’s and has more to do with the projected

    The Lib Dems secured 23.6% of the national vote in 2010 and
    went on to be the king makers in a coalition.

    On that basis, particularly if UKIP come first in the EU
    elections in 2014, and if the polls continue to show UKIP in 3rd place with the
    Lib Dems in 4th, it will be very difficult to justify excluding Nigel Farage from
    any such debate, in fact, as the last debate only included the top 3 polling
    parties, I also agree that it could be argued that if the Lib Dems stay in 4th place, it is they who should be excluded.

    Excluding UKIP will be very public and messy, it is also
    likely to be seen as the political elite once again ignoring the wishes of the
    British people and using fowl means to hang on to power, it will also certainly
    be seen as corrupt and will do untold damage to the BBC’s reputation.

    So take your pick, accept UKIP into the debate, confront the
    party head on and may be come out on top or do all that you can to exclude UKIP
    and suffer the backlash at the ballot box, your choice!

  • thanksdellingpole

    Let Clegg have the debate, the act of exclusion will boost Farage just like Clarke did for the 2013 Council elections, then the LDs will be wiped out by a party that never took part.

  • George Laird

    Dear All

    I think that Nigel Farage should be included in any future debates, the politics in this country need a shake up.

    The EU is in a political mess that threatens further collapse of society, we need new blood, new ideas and new direction.

    Wouldn’t it be nice if political parties started helping the people they were elected to represent as well.

    And I would like to see a recall feature available to the public if an MP or elected rep falls below a certain standard.

    We are going to see real trouble in Europe sweeping up from the southern countries, people lead, not politician.

    Yours sincerely

    George Laird
    The Campaign for Human Rights at Glasgow University

  • Zanatos

    I think he def should be allowed to take part. Not at the expense of anyone else though as that wouldn`t make much sense. All four parties should have a voice on the show. What UKIP provide is something refreshing, a party which seems happy to be open about things and not scared of any abuse they might get, or voters lost. The other three parties have lost a lot of support which I think is mainly down to the fact people are getting tired with all the lies and double standards. UKIP of course is smart, they pick policies which they must know people want. They seem to go for the high earners, ones that the general public are up in arms about and wonder why no other party dares touch. This can be seen two ways. Firstly that they are just blaggers, secondly that they are actually the first party in decades to actually listen to people.

    Either way it would seen very unjust to not give them there say. We live in a democracy and that should be a good thing. Trying to remove any new party seems to go against the whole idea of a democracy.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Well given the Libdems have proven during this government that they are unfit to run the local cornershop, let alone a government, Clegg should honourably secede from any debates now

    • Tim Reed

      Ideally, but…Clegg….Honour….you see the problem here.

  • Smithersjones2013

    With UKIP 9 points ahead of the projected vote share of the Libdems and within two points of the Conservatives and only six points behind Labour after this weeks election to deny them a voice in the election debates would be validation of everything UKIP say about the venal nature of the self appointed Westminster ruling political elite.

    Frankly to deny UKIP their voice would be a crime against democracy and it would cast all three establishment parties in the most self-serving and corrupt light. Not only that but it would be a PR gift for UKIP. “What have the establishment parties got to hide?” “They are running scared of UKIP.” “They’re too frit to debate UKIP” etc etc etc

    Its seem this is another fine mess that this coalition has got Westminster into. There is no win for the establishment parties in denying UKIP a voice. They are just going to have to suck it up and face UKIP in debate and suffer the implications of that.

    • James

      On one hand they say UKIP need to be scrutinised, yet on the other hand that they should not be scrutinised by taking part in a live political debate. Hypocritical codswallop and time to say bugger off to the treasonists.

  • Abhay

    Well, a televised debate would be much livelier with Mr. Farage in there in place of Clegg and his utterly predictable and boring ideas.

  • anneallan

    The debates were an absolute pantomime. Unless the next GE takes place in December, forget them. Maybe all the participants could dress as clowns, or as dames in a nod to the transgender community.

  • Blathra

    UKIP probably won’t have a single MP after the next election . They have no real support base, no real polices and without Farage no real politicians. They can’t put up different and credible spokes people for health, defense, the economy etc so why should the leader who isn;t even an MP be allowed status based on proportion of votes in a single election , especially when both the Tories and Labour are opposed to PR.

    We are in the middle of a major and extended period of contraction, where and how else do you suppose people will register their dissatisfaction. Remember the early 80s & the gang of four split to form the SDP; what happened to them?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      They turned into New Labour I think.

      • Blathra

        no they merged with the liberals.How long before UKIP are merged with the Tories?

    • Colonel Mustard

      Sounds like wishful thinking to me. They must have you well rattled.

      • Blathra

        No, just postulating based on what I know of UKIP, and the recent history of new small parties in a country without PR.

        Off the top of my head I can tell you their views on the EU, immigration and gay marriage, Oh I think they a pro grammar schools as well.
        Can you tell me (without looking it up) their tax and spend policy, where they stand on the NHS, defense pensions, law and order??

        • the viceroy’s gin

          No need to, is there?

          The LibLabCon monolith is failing spectacularly, and is spectacularly unqualified for any substantial work, or anything of consequence, meaning anybody challenging that monolith is immune to any questions of competence or qualification.

          Or were you under the delusion that such as Call Me Dave and pudgy faced Osborne have actually accomplished anything or shown any mettle, anywhere? No? Few are so deluded, I’d guess.

          So UKIP will now move back to their familiar stomping grounds, and prepare for the 2014 EU elections. Their newly elected councillors will provide a nice intellectual kick, once they get established. That’s their seed corn.

          But for now, the main of UKIP sticks to their EU knitting. That’s enough to keep them busy for the next year or so. 2015 can wait.

        • Colonel Mustard

          Can you tell me (without looking it up) New New Labour’s tax and spend policy, where they stand on the NHS, defense pensions, law and order??

        • Airey Belvoir

          Yes – they are for them..

        • Zanatos

          actually I can tell you that, but because I did look it up a while ago. That though is the same for all parties. I only ever know there policies by looking them up. Of course the main parties are helped by being allowed to be on TV giving there policies, so in that respect you can`t really blame UKIP. The main thing though is for me I`m tired of other parties just focusing on the bad things other parties do. Why cant they start focusing on the good they will do. Point scoring makes my view of them lowered. Its like kids in a playground and that isn`t people I want in charge of a country.

          Currently I`m not a UKIP voter, but I could easily sway to them purely as they seem the only party that actually has some strength and isn`t just about making themselves rich.

          The main thing that has been swaying me is how the other parties have reacted. They have thrown out false accusations against UKIP which if looking into clearly are not only false but also actually happen in there own parties. This is a big head turner for me as it shows me a weakness of the main parties.

          • Blathra

            I sat through the last (2010) election campaign – medically enforced rather than by choice – and I can tell you UKIP policies were without depth. We have just been through another election campaign and the the things they bang on about are the same – did they mention growth or unemployment – without linking it to immigration or the EU? You cannot tell me 3 yrs later they have changed – they haven’t – as I first said the mood of the country has changed not UKIP.

            The very reasons you give to answer my question – ie lack of publicity – are the very reasons for their success. Public and specifically press scrutiny will show that their policies and representatives (apart from Farage) are not all they are cracked up to be.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              They’re facing off against the LibLabCon monolith. That is the basis of their electoral chances. Their success is inversely proportional to continued LibLabCon failure. As of today, that’s all still in place, no changes.

  • Wilhelm

    Looked up your blog and you like the film Shawshank Redemption.

    That’s a pile of liberal garbage.

  • dalai guevara

    Hahaha, excellent – the fruit loops have a hundred odd out of 20,000+ council seats, and now deserve to be where? On telli? Every day? Why?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …so in addition to being poorly educated in every other area, you are incapable of simple arithmetic?

      • dalai guevara

        What arithmetic, and why do I always find myself educating…you?
        There are 20,680 council seats, viceroy dude.
        There are 650 seats in the HoC.
        What exactly is it that the fruit loops ‘command’?
        Go on, educate the poor.

        I am going to join the ranks of those who criticise the BBC for hyping and outrageous disproportionality of their reporting. Propaganda that resolves nothing, does not deal with the root causes of our issues, diverts to frankly irrelevant side shows, all topped up by the odd 1960s to 1980’s child abuse story to trigger some odd cathartic mental cleansing of society.

        Does that mean I need to wait until 2050 for the first irresponsible gambler to be locked up?

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Suggest you take a look at the number of councillors contested yesterday, and see if you’re capable of executing simple arithmetic and adding them up. If you are so capable, you’ll notice that your fantasized figures are well off:

          But again, that assumes you’re capable of simple arithmetic, and I doubt you are.

          And fyi, you are too poorly educated to educate anybody, anywhere, about anything.

          • dalai guevara

            Jeez, dude – yes, some 11% of council seats were contested yesterday – so what? UKIP command less than 1% of all council seats, and 0.00% of seats in the Commons. Now you carry on fantasising about what that would mean if only/when/but…your fantasy. In the meantime, the sane will have to endure daily waffle about… Bulgaria. What an absolute joke!

            • the viceroy’s gin

              No “jeez” about it, “dude”. Only data. That’s what we work with, although you fascists hate data of any type.

              Yes, a portion of the councillors were contested, and UKIP advanced their count in those seats election-to-election about 2,000%.

              Nothing else you blather on about is of interest electorally, and would only seem to indicate your pants-soiling fears of what’s to come. You don’t seem to have problems fantasizing that, apparently.

              Neither is anybody else missing this, and not just you fascists. They all know what just occurred here, and your soiled trousers indicate that you do as well.

              And son, you are one of the most ignorant and poorly educated muppets to post on this site, fyi. And that’s saying something.

              • dalai guevara

                Ok dad, I’m told.
                Less than 1% is less than 1 in 100 which is NOTHING in anyone’s book. Come to the metropolitan areas that matter and note that the fruit loops will be ignored, just like you and your fantasy maths…now get some qualifications that are recognised.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Yes, the “metropolitan areas” are what matters to you socialists. Everybody else are “fruit loops”.

                  That’s why all your pants shatting at these results. They don’t quite fit with your little fantasy world, buried there deep within the bubble.

                  No education, no perception and no nous, but plenty of shat pants. Splendid. 😉

                • dalai guevara

                  Yes….dude. I know you love that word so much. It is the ultimate insult for your types, originating from the Big Lebowski to address the overweight and retarded ‘intelligentsia’, perhaps the logical progression of Thatcherism.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  You better get to the cleaners and take care of those pants, dude.

  • 2trueblue

    He is right . And the fact that his party is not going to be in the equation will be the reality.

  • Colonel Mustard

    Getting worried? You need to be. Your house of cards is going to crash in 2014 and Labour will never govern England again. You better book the bulk one way tickets to North Korea now. You’ll be able to fool them over there and teach them your parrot song.

  • Jamie

    Actually, given the chances of a coalition, the Lib Dems are probably the MOST likely to be in government next time around

    • Tim Reed

      True, unfortunately.

  • Nicholas chuzzlewit

    Scotland’s gone (hopefully) and thus there will be no more Labour Governments in England. I am sure we will all have a whip round and buy you that one-way ticket to North Korea where you can contemplate reasonableness to your heart’s content.

    • telemachus

      I guess the control exercised there will be a breath of fresh air after the anarchy seen here today

      • Colonel Mustard

        Ah, there comes the glimmer of truth from the Stalinist. The exercising of “control” to enforce his very narrow and subjective view of “reason”. The socialist credo.

        What we have seen today, you muppet, is democracy.

        • telemachus

          If democracy gives us Farage then I hanker after a different system

          • Colonel Mustard

            Of course you do. Stop pretending. You are simply a fascist.

            • telemachus

              We are not familiar with such ideology but consulting Wikapedia we see it is a movement hostile to liberal democracy, socialism, and communism, and an emphasis on ultranationalism, ethnocentrism, and militarism
              We are not signed up to these

              • Colonel Mustard

                Oh, I’m afraid you are. I wouldn’t rely on Wiki if I were you.

                Ultranationalism – Milibandwagon’s “One Nation”. The encouragement of aggressive Scottish and Welsh nationalism through devolution.

                Ethnocentrism – a naive and romantic favouring of any imported ethnicity to the detriment of the English

                Militarism – a militant determination for one ideology to prevail, by all means possible, fair and foul.

                You are very much a signed up member of leftofascism, whatever your pretences and protestations.

                • MichtyMe

                  I took Millibands “One Nation” to be a threat of subsumption to the Scots and Welsh, in the “Ein Reich” way.

                • telemachus

                  Yall know this comes out of Disraeli’s novel Sybil, or The Two Nations written in 1845 which traces the plight of the working classes of England. Disraeli was interested in dealing with the horrific conditions in which the majority of England’s working classes lived parliamentary reforms. He extended his concerns in his Manchester Free Trade Hall speech to call for the nation to all pull together as One Nation

                  Interestingly Disraeli’s novel was published in the same year as another Mancunian Friedrich Engels wrote The Condition of the Working Class in England.

    • MichtyMe

      A myth I think. There have been no elections since WW2 in which the Scottish MP’s have turned a Conservative majority into a Labour government.

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        Possibly, but the prospect of killing two birds with one stone is a myth worth clinging onto.

  • telemachus

    The editor was correct this morning in likening Farage to a mayfly

    • Colonel Mustard

      Don’t get too chuffed. I was correct in likening you to a parrot. A red parrot who squawks the same slogans incessantly.

  • Nicholas chuzzlewit

    No chance of that with Red Ed and his coterie of lightweights.

    • telemachus

      Oh but you are wrong
      Ed Balls, Yvette and Andy Burnham are not only heavyweight but brimming with ideas not like the current tired bunch

      • Nicholas chuzzlewit

        All of them costly disasters in the making. I would not expect anything less from the three anti-democratic scumbags you mention. I think we have all had enough of the profligate Ed Balls and the loathsome Andy Burnham.

        • telemachus

          Andy cares
          Unlike pleased with himself Hunt
          Ed Balls is quite simply the most exciting politician of his generation

          • John McClane

            Burnham never cared about Mid-Staffs.

            • telemachus

              Andy commissioned the first enquiry

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                And then did nothing because he thought enquiry launched, job done, tick the box and then went home for his tea like a good little socialist.

                • Tim Reed

                  Precisely. The same New Labour tick-box mentality that led to the atrocity in the first place.

                • Abhay

                  Absolutely right Tim and Nicholas – hopefully time for Blairite throwbacks has run out. Burnham should be irrelevant in 2015.

            • 2trueblue

              Burnham did not care about anybody except himself. He should be held responsible for all the debt he has saddled our grandchildren with the PFI contracts during his tenure, and the appalling lack of care his government allowed within the NHS. We are now discovering just how much Liebore contaminated our whole system with.

          • Nicholas chuzzlewit

            He didn’t care enough to protect the 1,200 people who died unecessarily at Mid Staffs Health Trust.

            • telemachus

              They died before he took on the job

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                Socialists are disgusting, ignorant people by nature but that remark takes the biscuit.

                • telemachus

                  No your specific incorrect ad hominem is the reprehensible here

              • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                The Labour party, the supposed guardians of the NHS were in office or are you going to deny that as well?

          • Fergus Pickering

            Andy cares for what.?

      • Chris Morriss

        Well Ed Balls is certainly a heavyweight. There’s no getting round him, or if you do, it will be a long walk.

        • telemachus

          Admit it
          You look forward to his visual domination of PMQ’s
          It brings a smile

      • Colonel Mustard

        And you believe that hogwash? Good God.

        Cooper and Burnham are the very definition of lightweight.

        • telemachus

          Yvette is a very bright girl

          • Tony Quintus

            she can’t be that bright, she married ed balls

          • Colonel Mustard

            A whining lightweight of no substance. It is a ridiculous conflict of interest and totally inappropriate to have a husband and wife team in the cabinet.

            • telemachus

              As Cameron has found to his cost the absence of glamour and charisma at the top table has turned away the women vote

              • Colonel Mustard

                If you think the opposition front bench geekery with Brown’s Old Gang gurning and shifting on their seats as they duck and dive from guilt by association represents glamour and charisma then you are even more deluded.

          • Mr Creosote

            Bloody useless Housing Minister!

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