Who won the BBC general election leaders' debate?

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak during their BBC Head-to-head debate in Nottingham
-Credit: (Image: PA)

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak and Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer took part in a BBC general election leaders' debate tonight.

It was the final leaders' debate before the general election, and gave the two men a chance to pitch their policies to a live audience which included Tory and Labour supporters as well as undecided voters.

In their first head-to-head debate, hosted by ITV and chaired by Julie Etchingham, Mr Sunak was seen as the "slicker performer", though snap polling carried out by YouGov showed a close tie, with the prime minister being seen as having given the best performance by 51% to Sir Keir's 49%.

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In tonight's 75 minute debate, hosted by BBC Today Programme presenter Mishal Husain at Nottingham Trent University, the two men traded blows over a range of issues, including welfare spending, sleaze and immigration.

Like last time, it was a spiky, ill-tempered affair. In response to Mr Sunak's claims about Labour making state pensions subject to tax, Sir Keir said: "Don’t insult me by putting up falsehoods".

In a clash over welfare spending, Sir Keir won applause by saying: “If you listened to people in the audience and across the country more often, you might not be quite so out of touch."

In the post-debate 'spin room', politicians from both parties tried to claim victory. But viewers had already made up their minds.

Shortly after the event concluded, YouGov revealed the results of a snap poll - and it was honours even. In answer to the question "Who do you think performed best overall in tonight's debate?", 50% of viewers opted for Rishi Sunak and 50% opted for Sir Keir.

Poll ratings throughout the election campaign have shown a consistent lead for Labour over the Tories of around 20 points.

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