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David Cameron has won what could be a crucial pre-election victory after a snap poll showed that the prime minister came out on top of the Question Time leaders' special.

The Tory leader faced tough questions over his pledge to cut net migration to less than 100,000 in the UK and his promise to hold a referendum on Britain's membership of the EU in 2017.

The event, hosted in Leeds Town Hall and chaired by veteran presenter David Dimbleby, saw a lively audience fire hard questions at the prime minister.

At one point, the prime minister pulled out a copy of the infamous Liam Byrne note, which the former Treasury secretary left Cameron's government after Gordon Brown was kicked out of office in 2010. The Labour man had written that "there was no money left" in the Treasury's coffers.

The stunt and Cameron's other comments seemed to do the trick as a flash survey from ICM for The Guardian found that voters thought he had performed the best on the night, putting the prime minister above Miliband (38%) and Clegg (19%).

21:44

Cameron won the event, according to a snap poll from ICM for The Guardian newspaper.

21:36

Natalie Bennett wasn't part of tonight's event but the Greens were quick to send over her thoughts. This is what they emailed us as soon as the show had finished.

"Tonight's show was a poor cousin to the previous debates. Not only were no women involved, but the range of the discussion was incredibly limited," Bennett said.

"No one was offering genuine alternative to the failed policy of austerity, and no one was truly standing up the vicious rhetoric on immigration that has infected political debate in this country."

21:32

If the Liberal Democrats don't get into power after the general election, Clegg said he will plan to stay on as leader.

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The questions have now switched to the areas of immigration and the EU. The Liberal Democrat leader wants the UK to stay within the political and economic group, but Clegg admitted that he had problems about migrants being able to claim benefits in the UK.

And on a vote of the UK's membership of the EU.

21:17

21:13
Nick Clegg
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Nick Clegg has argued that the "real question" for the electorate at the general election is who goes into Number 10 with Ed Miliband or David Cameron after 7 May.

He argued that the Liberal Democrats would stop a "lurch to the left or right" and warned of Alex Salmond teaming up with Miliband and Nigel Farage making a deal with Cameron.

Clegg stressed that he would not go into government unless Labour or the Tories would promise to increase the education budget in England.

21:06

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg is now on. The deputy prime minister, who faces a tough fight to win Sheffield Hallam again, was asked about his 2010 tuition fee pledge.

21:03

Miliband ends on a high as the debate switched to the issue of trust and politicians.

20:59

Miliband stressed that he believes in a welfare system that "encourages responsibility". He also claimed that a Labour government would guarantee unemployed young people would take a job or lose their benefits.

When asked where the jobs would come from, Miliband said a "proper" industrial policy was needed alongside a cut to business rates.

Ed Miliband
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Miliband was asked why he wouldn't offer a vote on the UK's membership of the EU. The Labour leader argued that it was a question of leadership and wanted to focus on other issues like improving wages and workers' rights.

20:47
Ed Miliband
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The Labour leader has now been quizzed about the possibility of a deal between his party and the SNP in the event of a hung parliament after 7 May.

20:44

The BBC Question Time got fiery after Miliband said he didn't think the last Labour government overspend before they were kicked out of office in 2010. He argued that the party now has a plan to "balance the books", whereas the Tories want to double their cuts.

20:39

Now Labour leader Ed Miliband is up. He faced a baptism of fire over Labour's economic record in government.

20:34
Cameron
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Cameron has revealed that a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU is a "red line" for him when it comes to coalition government negotiations.

The promise is a clear message to voters and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg with just a week to go before the election.

20:31

Things are getting a bit informal.

20:25

Cameron has restated his promise to bring net migration to the UK to tens of thousands after official figures from the ONS showed that he missed his 2010 target.

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The public are now grilling the prime minister over the NHS. Cameron said his government have overseen a "recovery job", including 7,000 more nurses, millions more operations a year and 9,000 more doctors.

20:17

Cameron defended his promise to legislate against tax rises over the next parliament after some tough questions from the audience. The Tory leader said he wants to make sure people keep more of their cash and "stop taxing poor people".

20:13

The question and audience session with Cameron is becoming increasing hostile.

20:11

Former Labour Treasury secretary Liam Byrne once left a note to the next government after Gordon Brown lost the 2010 General Election. It said there was no money left for Cameron's administration to spend.

20:07

The discussion has swiftly switched to a debate about benefits and youth unemployment.

20:05

The first question to Cameron is on the reports that the Tories are planning to cut child tax credits if they gain power after the general election. The prime minister stressed that he wouldn't make such a move and said he wanted to end the "rumours".