The Liberal Democrats in Sutton Coldfield and Erdington constituencies are working to build on the impact made by Nick Clegg in the first of the three party leaders' debates which was held on 15 April. Polls published straight after the debate showed that Nick Clegg had clearly won a convincing victory over David Cameron and Gordon Brown. The debate was the first ever Leaders' debate during a UK General Election campaign, and the pollsters gave it as a big victory for Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats. The leaders' debate followed a successful launch of the Lib Dem manifesto for the General Election.
Commenting on the polls, Dr Richard Brighton, the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary candidate for Sutton Coldfield said: "All the polls taken after the programme scored Nick Clegg as the clear winner of the first Leaders debate. One survey, by pollsters Angus Reid, indicated that 42% of voters were more likely to vote for the Liberal Democrats as a result of the debate". Dr Brighton added that "The Tories are just pretending it's business as usual, trying to keep the same discredited electoral system in the hope of keeping power in the hands of just a few unaccountable people. As Nick has demonstrated, despite the problems and challenges we have, we can be hopeful about the future if we chose something different."
Dr Brighton said:"The extra publicity that Nick has attracted has been very welcome. The leaders' debate has given people the sense that there are some real choices to be made. Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats have clearly emerged as serious players in this election. It is now clear that Liberal Democrats will give the people of Sutton Coldfield more power over their local services. We won't duck the difficult questions and we will build a fairer country for everyone. Local electors now have something fresh and different to turn to."
Cllr Ann Holtom, the Parliamentary candidate for Birmingham Erdington, has followed up the launch of the Lib Dem manifesto by pointing out the favourable reaction to it of many commentators, particularly the party's willingness to give details of how they intend to pay for tax cuts and public service improvements and how the deficit will be reduced. Cllr Holtom said: "The reaction of the news media from The Daily Telegraph to the Guardian has shown that they have welcomed the Lib Dems' honesty in publishing in detail our spending and tax proposals - which is in stark contrast to the other two main parties who continue to make promises without spelling out how they will pay for them."
The Evening Standard commented: "The Liberal Democrat manifesto launch was refreshingly candid in its clear focus on the deficit and the recession, subjects largely fudged by the Tories and Labour..."