David Cameron faced demands to know why families were reliant on food banks, Ed Miliband was grilled on Labour’s economic record and Nick Clegg on tuition fees as a fiesty and articulate Yorkshire audience gave the three party leaders a grilling in Leeds.
Mr Cameron told the audience: “I’m not saying everything is perfect; I’m saying we have not finished the work. That’s why I am so keen to do another five years.
He added: “I do not want anyone to have to rely on food banks. It is important that they are there but I do not want anyone to have to rely on them.
“The most important thing we can do is get more people into work.”
During the debate Mr Cameron produced a prop in the shape of the infamous note from former Treasury Secretary Liam Byrne who advised his successor that ‘there is no more money’.
He also faced hostility from the audience with one questioner telling him “you’re wrong” after he disagreed with him.
Mr Cameron denied an audience member’s claim that he was not talking about the “moral dimension” of the issues and giving all his answers in terms of economics.
“To me, helping someone to get a job has a moral dimension. It gives them the dignity and pride that comes with work.
“Getting someone an apprenticeship, that has a moral dimension; it gives someone the chance of a career and success.
“Building a house that a young family can afford to buy and own, that has a moral dimension because it gives them a stake in the country they live in.
“That’s the country I want to build.”
He declined repeatedly to say who he would be prepared to form a coalition with in a hung parliament saying he was “going to fight with everything I’ve got these next seven days to get an overall majority”.
Ed Miliband said Labour would not go into government if it meant forming a coalition or doing a deal with the Scottish National Party.
He said: “Let me be plain. We’re not going to do a deal with the Scottish National Party, we’re not going to have a coalition, we’re not going to have a deal.
“Let me just say this to you - if it meant we weren’t going to be in government, not doing a coalition, not having a deal, then so be it.
“I am not going to sacrifice the future of our country, the unity of our country, I’m not going to give in to SNP demands around Trident, around the deficit, or anything like that.
“I just want to repeat this point to you - I’m not going to have a Labour government if it means deals or coalitions with the Scottish National Party.
“And I just want to say this to voters in Scotland - there’s no easy route here to vote SNP and get a Labour government.”
The Deputy Prime Minister faced an angry 2010 Liberal Democrat voter who said he should have shared power with Labour rather than the Tories.
“There’s just the little matter of democracy,” Mr Clegg told him - adding that he would “never apologise” for his decision.
In a quip at the expense of the two main party leaders’ words about coalition talks, he said: “He (David Cameron) keeps talking about darkened rooms, as does Ed Miliband.
“If either of them still think they are going to win a majority they need to go and lie down in that darkened room.”