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BBC Question Time: Russell Brand and Nigel Farage go head-to-head

Ukip leader Nigel Farage has soared ahead of comedian and revolutionary Russell Brand in our poll to find out who got the upper hand on Question Time.

The prospective MP for Thanet South currently has 54% of the vote, with Brand on 29%. They are followed by Times journalist Camilla Cavendish, Labour MP Mary Creagh and Tory Penny Mordaunt. However, six per cent of voters said nobody came out of the show well.

The programme, recorded at the Gulbenkian Theatre in Canterbury on Thursday night, saw an open first question on the nature of politics, allowing both Farage and Brand to express their unhappiness with politics as they see it.

The panel at tonight's Question Time. Picture: Tony Flashman
The panel at tonight's Question Time. Picture: Tony Flashman
Russell Brand and Nigel Farage
Russell Brand and Nigel Farage

Audience members said the adversarial nature of political debate acted as a deterrent, but Farage disagreed, and defended aggressive parliamentary debate.

He was also asked what, as an ex-broker, he would do for the people of Thanet he is hoping to represent.

Mr Farage reiterated the line that he's not wealthy compared to some other politicians, but an audience member pointed out he's wealthier than many in Thanet.

Another question asked if Britain is really overcrowded? Farage answered it's the pressure on services that matter.

Russell Brand argued it's the financial industry and tax evasion that's to blame for stretched services, not immigration, calling Farage a "poundland Enoch Powell." 

Brand attacked Farage over several issues
Brand attacked Farage over several issues

But in response to the jibe, Brand got a roasting from an audience member claiming he should stand for parliament, putting his money where his mouth is.

He ruled it out, claiming he "doesn't want to become one of them."

There was also some aggressive heckling aimed at Farage from Stop Ukip campaigner Bunny La Roche.

Labour's Mary Creagh criticised Farage's language around immigration, claiming immigration is used as a proxy for other issues.

She did admit however that immigration and its effects should be controlled. 

Tory Penny Mordaunt also said it's about control, and Britain should have better border controls and remove "negative financial incentives" that attract people to the UK.

But she said most immigrants are "net contributors to the economy".

Bunny La Roche of Stop Ukip heckled Farage in Canterbury tonight
Bunny La Roche of Stop Ukip heckled Farage in Canterbury tonight

An audience member again raised the issue of tax avoidance, and said immigration is a side issue in comparison.

She was met with a big round of applause. 

An another audience question about the role the private sector should play in the NHS prompted some interesting debate.

Labour's Mary Creagh was on dangerous ground, criticising Tory NHS reform while trying to defend the rise of privatisation under Tony Blair.

She conceded the "private sector was used by Labour government to tackle certain problems" and said there is a place for it.

Journalist Camilla Cavandish pointed out a distinction between involvement of the private sector and full-blown privatisation, while Farage criticised Private Finance Initiatives in the NHS.

Brand raised a key point, and said it's the perception that some MPs benefit personally from NHS privatisation that concerns people, and makes them suspicious.

Grammar schools were discussed towards the end of the programme prompting a lacklustre debate between panellists.

Farage came out strongly in favour of grammar schools, and said Kent is lucky to have them.

An audience member pointed out that though people who go to grammar school do better, that's not much help for the 75% who do not get in. 

The debate was chaired by David Dimbleby.

Question Time host David Dimbleby
Question Time host David Dimbleby

We want your views on whether Brand, Farage or fellow panelists Penny Mordaunt, Mary Creagh orCamilla Cavendish come off best. 

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