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This Is Everything That Happened At Last Night's TV Leaders' Debate

All the fun of the seven-way discussion. Democracy, inaction.

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Thursday night saw the only proper TV debate of the election campaign.

Following months of negotiations, the UK's political parties finally agreed to hold a single debate involving seven different party leaders, representing the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, UKIP, the SNP, and Plaid Cymru.BuzzFeed News was there every step of the way – here's everything you need to know about what happened during the broadcast, with links to our coverage.
Handout

Following months of negotiations, the UK's political parties finally agreed to hold a single debate involving seven different party leaders, representing the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens, UKIP, the SNP, and Plaid Cymru.

BuzzFeed News was there every step of the way – here's everything you need to know about what happened during the broadcast, with links to our coverage.

1. To start with, a lot of people pointed out that the ITV debate set had a lot in common with Paddy McGuinness lovefest "Take Me Out".

Christ. This is the worst 'Take Me Out' line up I've ever seen. "Let the ballot see the box". #leadersdebate

The programme was broadcast live from Salford and host Julie Etchingham did a great job managing to keep all seven politicians in line for two hours of live TV. Aside from her amazing presenting skills, it may have helped that she looked a lot like Anne Robinson.

2. A teenager called Jonny Tudor asked the first question on how to cut the deficit.

Sky

The internet went crazy for Tudor, a 17-year-old in an immaculate suit, who asked the party leaders one of the night's four questions: How would they cut the deficit?

By the end of the event Tudor had become a minor celebrity. BuzzFeed News caught up with him afterwards, and the slightly baffled inadvertent star told us that he thought David Cameron was the real winner of the debate.

3. The Conservatives were pretty pleased with David Cameron's performance, which stuck to the party's core anti-tax, anti-debt economic message.

#cameronincharge #leadersdebate https://t.co/Uxb2aR9v1P

Cameron kept repeating that the Conservatives are the only party that can be trusted with the economy and that everyone else just wanted to borrow more money or raise taxes.

The prime minister seemed to enjoy watching Labour leader Ed Miliband squirm while under attack from Nicola Sturgeon of the SNP. Afterwards the Conservatives told journalists that it showed that the alternative to Cameron was "chaos".

We have our reasons to suspect that Conservative MPs may have been asked to tweet that David Cameron is "in charge".

4. Ed Miliband came under attack but made a big deal out of his pledge to cut university tuition fees to £6,000 a year.

vine.co

Miliband was attacked by Cameron, Clegg, Sturgeon, UKIP leader Nigel Farage, and pretty much everyone. Still, he insisted that the other parties were betraying young voters.

Some people were left weirdly in awe of his raw animal magnetism.

5. Nick Clegg accused David Cameron of wanting to cut the schools budget.

The former coalition colleagues went for each other but, five years on from Cleggmania, it was Cameron who came out of the exchanges better by insisting that they had made the schools decisions together.
ITV

The former coalition colleagues went for each other but, five years on from Cleggmania, it was Cameron who came out of the exchanges better by insisting that they had made the schools decisions together.

6. Nigel Farage then shouted over a lot of people, before making some comments about HIV and foreigners.

vine.co

The UKIP leader did his best to dominate proceedings, attempting to take on all six other party leaders on his own. People were slightly concerned about his shiny forehead under the studio lights.

He gained a lot of attention when he complained that 60% of people with HIV in Britain are foreigners, which really angered the other party leaders.

7. The SNP's Nicola Sturgeon complained that Farage blamed everything on foreigners.

vine.co

The SNP leader, who isn't standing for a Westminster seat at the election, was popular and came near the top of many of the post-debate polls. Some people in England even asked if they could vote for her.

8. Then a woman called Joan asked a question and this happened.

...AND NOW OVER TO JOAN COLLINS.... #leadersdebate

9. Meanwhile, we lightened the mood by asking some very important questions.

BuzzFeed

10. Green party leader Natalie Bennett had a quiet debate.

But she got through it in one piece. The main revelation for many viewers was that she's actually Australian.
Sky News

But she got through it in one piece. The main revelation for many viewers was that she's actually Australian.

11. While Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood just seemed really happy to be there.

Her most memorable moment came when she said Nigel Farage should be "ashamed of himself".
Sky News

Her most memorable moment came when she said Nigel Farage should be "ashamed of himself".

12. Political press officers kept trying to convince journalists that their side was winning.

Our thoughts and prayers are with the party press officers sending us emails every 30 seconds. #leadersdebate

13. But then everyone became fixated on a moustache in the crowd.

Most impressive thing in the #leadersdebate right there. What a moustache - sign him up for @MovemberUK

14. Shortly after that, a heckler stood up and began shouting at David Cameron.

vine.co

Victoria Prosser, 33, left the venue after attacking the elite political class and calling for action "because there's more of us than there is of them".

This is what we know about her.

15. Meanwhile, journalists in the "spin room" were producing their takes on the event and listening to party press officers.

BuzzFeed News went behind the scenes to show you how your news is made. It's a bit like a real-life Thick of It.
BuzzFeed News

BuzzFeed News went behind the scenes to show you how your news is made. It's a bit like a real-life Thick of It.

16. At the end of the debate polling companies rushed out instant reactions on who won. But every poll was different.

Debate Result: Sturgeon wins Cameron: 18% Miliband: 15% Clegg: 10% Farage: 20% Bennett: 5% Sturgeon: 28% Wood: 4% 1117 GB adults

This YouGov poll found Nicola Sturgeon was the most popular of the seven party leaders. But others showed a dead heat between Cameron, Farage, and Miliband. In some surveys Cameron was ahead. In short, there was no clear consensus.

You can read all the details here.

17. Newspapers from different sides of the political spectrum ran quite different front pages.

The Sun
The Guardian

18. Still, after all that bluster BuzzFeed News and Full Fact checked out some of the key claims so you can find out the truth behind what was said.

Truth in politics is a welcome innovation.
Full Fact for BuzzFeed

Truth in politics is a welcome innovation.

19. After the event, Ed Miliband belatedly attacked Nigel Farage's HIV comments, which in turn led to the Labour leader being attacked for having failed to do so in person.

If only Ed had been standing five feet away with a microphone, eh?

20. The SNP started churning out photoshops.

Does anyone know a good tailor I think @NicolaSturgeon needs a bigger pocket... #LeadersDebate #IAgreeWithNic

21. And people kept making Vines of Nigel Farage.

vine.co

While others were just very funny.

Then that was that. All over, and back to the campaign trail.

The debate was the highlight of the election so far. Just another five weeks of this to go until polling day.

Jim Waterson is a politics editor for BuzzFeed News and is based in London.

Contact Jim Waterson at jim.waterson@buzzfeed.com.

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