Clegg ahead in first post-debate polls

Lib Dem leader the big winner according to pollsters but what was your verdict?

It's always wise to be wary of instant reaction polls but tonight they're all pointing to one conclusion: Nick Clegg won the first leaders' debate.

Gordon Brown held his own tonight (there was no "car-crash moment") so Labour will be disappointed that he's a distant third in two of the three polls. But given how poor his personal ratings were to start with, that's probably no surprise.

Here are the figures:

YouGov/Sun poll

Brown 19%
Cameron 29%
Clegg 51%

ComRes/ITV News poll: Who won the debate?

Brown 20%
Cameron 26%
Clegg 43%

Which party leader would you say you trust most to make any necessary cuts to public services?

Brown 28%
Cameron 36%
Clegg 36%

Which one of the three main parties do you think has the best policies on immigration?

Conservative 37%
Labour 20%
Lib Dem 35%

Final Sky News poll

Brown 32%
Cameron 31%
Clegg 37%

UPDATE: Clegg also leads in two more post-debate polls.

Angus Reid

Brown 19%
Cameron 21%
Clegg 46%

Populus/Times

Brown 17%
Cameron 22%
Clegg 61%

 

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George Eaton is political editor of the New Statesman.

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Our new relationship with the EU may be a lot like the old one

For all the tough mood music, Theresa May has left room for concessions.

I'm sad and dismayed, but that's democracy for you.

The Mail is in a cheerier mood. "Freedom!" is their splash. "Dear EU, We're Leaving You" cheers the Express' while "Dear EU, it's time to go" is the Mirror's splash. "Dover & Out!" roars the Sun, who have projected those same words on the white cliffs of, you guessed it, Dover. "May Signs Us Out!" is the Metro's take.

"Brexit begins" is the i's more equivocal splash, "The eyes of history are watching" is the Times' take, while the Guardian opts for "Today Britain steps into the unknown".

The bigger story isn't the letter but its content, which leads the FT: "May signs historic Brexit letter and opens way for compromise". The government is finessing its red line on the competence of the European Court of Justice. (The word in Whitehall is that Theresa May hadn't grasped the importance of the ECJ as an arbitration mechanism after Brexit and for cross-border matters such as flights when she made her conference speech.)  And the PM has done a good job of not ruling out continuing payments to the European Union, her best path to the deal Britain needs.

A lot depends on what happens to the British economy between now and March 2019. The pound is down still further today but whether that's a minor eruption or the start of sustained losses will have significant consequences on how painful Britain's best path to the access we need to the single market - paying over the odds for the parts of membership that the British government wants to keep and swallowing that £50bn divorce bill - is doable or not.

For all the mood music emanating from May, she's quietly done a good job of clearing the obstacles to a deal where Britain controls its own immigration policy, continues to staff Europol and to participate in European-wide research, the bulk of our regulation is set by Brussels de facto if not de jure and we pay, say £250m a week into Brussels.

Our new relationship with the EU may be rather closer to our old one than we currently expect.

Stephen Bush is special correspondent at the New Statesman. His daily briefing, Morning Call, provides a quick and essential guide to British politics.