Questions for the leaders


All eyes are on tonight’s ITV leaders’ debate on domestic policy. From 8pm, Left Foot Forward is jointly hosting a liveblog with Liberal Conspiracy, Labour List, and the New Statesman which will feature Polly Toynbee, Sunder Katwala, and Matthew McGregor of Blue State Digital among others so sign up for a reminder and join us later.

You can also get involved on twitter (the preferred hashtag appears to be #itvdebate) and facebook are offering a ‘dial test‘ to their 23 million users, which will enable them rate the debates in real time and provide instant feedback on the performance of the three party leaders.

In the meantime, we set out some of the key questions on education, health, crime and immigration that we want to hear asked tonight.

To Gordon Brown

• Despite years of investment why is educational attainment still driven primarily by economic background?

• Communities across the country are opposed to closure of acute services such as A&E and maternity units, why are you doing it?

• With a rising prison population, stubborn reoffending rates, and rising inequality, have you been tough on crime and tough on the causes of crime?

• Has your immigration policy only benefited bosses and the foreign workers themselves?

To David Cameron

• The Lib Dems have costed their pupil premium at £2.5 billion, how much will your pupil premium cost (distinct from the free schools policy)?

• Given your commitment to “get rid of top down NHS process targets”, which current NHS standards do you think are dispensible?

• Chris Grayling was rebuked for his misuse of crime statistics, do you accept that crime has fallen since the mid-1990s?

• How will your immigration cap meet Britain’s economic needs?

To Nick Clegg

• What’s the difference between your pupil premium, the Tories plan, and Labour’s deprivation funding?

• Why won’t you protect health spending?

• How do you propose dealing with anti-social behaviour?

• How will you enforce your regional points-based immigration system?

To all leaders

• Have academies provided value for money?

• Why is life expectancy at birth 71 in Glasgow and 84 in Kensington and Chelsea, and what can we do about it?

• With the Child Poverty Act now law, what will they do in the first parliament to ensure that Britain is on track to end child poverty by 2020?

• Britain is legally committed to cutting carbon emissions by 34 per cent by 2020 and sourcing 15 per cent of our energy from renewables by the same date. What will your party do to raise the funds required at a time when you’ve all said you want to make cuts?

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  • http://twitter.com/tabacaria/status/12217681929 Jose Aguiar

    RT @leftfootfwd: Questions for the leaders http://bit.ly/ai4XgF

  • http://twitter.com/andrewprg/status/12217749528 AndyG

    RT @leftfootfwd The questions that should be asked tonight http://bit.ly/ai4XgF

  • http://toque.co.uk Toque

    Given that tonights debate will focus on mostly English affairs (Policing, Health, Education, Transport, Environment, etc., having been devolved) the leaders should be asked whether they are willing to let the English decide how they wish to be governed in the same manner that the other nations of the UK have.

    In other words, should there be a referendum on an English parliament?

  • http://billyblofeld.wordpress.com Billy Blofeld

    Given LFF states that is is “fighting for sustainable economy” – why do you not drill deeply into economy questions?

    Personally, after Brown’s recent admission, I’d want to ask Gordon how much impact his decisions have had on the depth and severity of the recession.

  • http://www.samedifference1.com sarah

    To David Cameron- Do you want to see a complete end to mainstream education for disabled children, an if so, don’t you realise the benefits it can have for so many?

  • Sam

    Unfortunately, even though it’s what we need, any questions put forward by the audience need to be “relevant to all three party leaders” (Pt. 25 of the Debates agreement: http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2010/mar/02/how-leaders-election-debates-will-work). This is a real shame because debates in the form of Question Time would be a much better way for us to question each of these three in a manner which would actually challenge them and their beliefs.

  • Liz McShane

    To David Cameron – why bother standing for Parliament/potential party of Government at all, if all you are advocating is ‘opt-out’/ DIY politics……?

  • Pingback: Questions for the leaders « The best Labour blogs

  • Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Why would anyone want bigger government? Why would anyone want to give more of their money to any incompetent government that can’t even send CD’s with peoples data on by recorded delivery?

    I don’t care who wins I just want to give less of my hard earned money to useless idiot politicians to waste on duck houses and moat cleaning…

    Will Straw – You came across very well on R4 earlier. Nice one. You should perhaps insist on a little more of the balanced consensual style you displayed by other contributors to this blog…

  • Will Straw

    Billy – We’ll be coming back to economic issues in a fortnight. Next week it’s foreign affairs.

    Sam – Quite right. Perhaps they’ll change the format for the next debate.

    Anon – Thanks! Flattery will get you everywhere! I think part of being consensual and pluralistic means allowing people to find their own voice on this blog but point taken.

  • Liz McShane

    Anon – I don’t have a problem with ‘Big Government’/’Nanny State’ (such a horrible & ironic phrase….(I have always regarded Nannies in a positive light).

    Governments are there to lead and look after the people – the private sector/opt -out style of Government that The Tories propose will never do this – their primary motive is profit and not the health of the country and its people.

    The thought of people just setting up schools as & when they please is scary enough.

    I do agree that Government needs to be kept in check and questioned and at times could/should be bolder – it was ‘Big-style Government’ that introduced great progressive social institutions such as The NHS…..

    I know which I prefer.

  • http://billyblofeld.wordpress.com Billy Blofeld

    Cheers Will.

  • Mr. Sensible

    Liz, I fully agree with you; we are a ‘representative democracy’ last I looked, unless you know something I don’t?

    In other words, we elect people to make decisions for us.

    And to have individuals running services is to me just privatization by another name.

    Do we need to give more power from central government to local councils? Maybe; they are elected.

    But the sort of people Cameron is talking about to run services are not.

    As Mr Clegg correctly said DIY government.

  • Anon E Mouse

    Liz – Idealism is an age thing! Hit my age and you’ll become more realistic and cynical about the world.

    Personally I think governments should govern and leave people alone – the less they do the better – especially when we have been led for the last few years by a truly inept bunch of crooks in Parliament from all parties.

    In any event the days of big government are well and truly over regardless of who wins – but it will be Cameron outright…

  • Mr. Sensible

    “but it will be Cameron outright…”

    I don’t think so; the electoral maths is against the Tories before we’ve even started, and the polls are going the wrong way for Cameron as well.

  • Anon E Mouse

    Mr.Sensible – With Cameron in the lead in the marginals he’ll win and deep down you know it – remember if wishes were horses beggers would ride.

    I now favour a hung parliament as it happens with a Lib Dem / Conservative government… basically anything but the inept Gordon Brown.

    But the Lib Dems should stop the silly wishes for the Euro, scrapping Trident, more European integration, the amnesty on illegals and their financial nonsense. Other than that it might work…

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