Cameron: The debates made life harder

By Ian Dunt

David Cameron has admitted the leaders’ TV debates have made his run for Downing Street “more challenging”.

The Tory leader spearheaded calls for the debates among political leaders in the run-up to the election campaign, but in an interview with the Independent on Sunday he admitted they complicated his run by prompting a swell in support for Nick Clegg.

“We’ve done something which will be good for future elections and future engagement, but does it make it more challenging? Yeah, it sure does,” he said.

“It was never going to be easy. It’s tough, it’s much tougher than some people expected, but it doesn’t mean it’s not winnable. It’s absolutely winnable.”

Mr Cameron insisted that despite his repeated warning about the dangers of a hung parliament, he would still behave responsibly if that was the result returned by the electorate.

“We will play our part in providing the best possible government. It’s perfectly consistent to say that and at the same time say let’s not get starry-eyed about a hung parliament,” he said.

The Tory leader was keen to downplay the idea that polls suggest the country wants a “Cleggified Cameron”, saying voters might well end up with a Lib Dem-Labour coalition instead.

“Well, they will end up with a Cleggified Balls, or a Ballsified Clegg. That is the problem we are looking at,” he said.

Mr Cameron again reiterated his attack on the Liberal democrat leader, who was the focus of much of many of Mr Cameron’s attacks during the final TV debate, and who continues to present the most problems to the Tory leader.

“I thought he overplayed his hand on expenses,” he said.

“Anyone would think it was a cross between the Archangel Gabriel and Mother Teresa we were dealing with.

“In the end, the choice at the election is going to come down to: who do I want to provide fresh direction and leadership for the country, rather than who scored a points victory in a debate?”

The May Day weekend will see continued campaigning as parties desperately try to convince the remaining undecided voters ahead of Thursday’s poll.