When BBC Radio 4’s iconic Any Questions? programme came to Bennett Memorial Diocesan School on Friday evening, veteran presenter Jonathan Dimbleby described the venue as ‘one of the highest achieving schools in the country’.
The level of debate on key issues by high profile politicians was similarly impressive.
The UK Independence Party leader and MEP Nigel Farage was in typically trenchant mood when talking about the EU referendum.
Asked about President Obama’s comment on Friday that Britain would be at the ‘back of the queue’ for trade if it left the European Union, Mr Farage said the President had been fed the line by British advisors because Americans don’t use the word ‘queue’.
He added: “It would be nice to see the Government actually getting its facts right rather than producing dodgy dossiers. I can only guess Tony Blair was brought out of retirement to write it.”
Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn responded to the MEP’s belief that membership of the Union ‘diminishes us hugely’.
He said: “I wish you would stop talking down Britain. We do have a major influence. We are not locked in the boot of the car. We are helping to drive it.”
On the subject of the foreign aid budget, Mr Farage said he did not mind giving money for natural disasters like earthquakes but claimed that huge sums were wasted on corrupt regimes.
The Secretary of State for International Development, Justine Greening, countered: “We do spend the money effectively. The bottom line is if we stop supporting refugees in camps, where do you think they are going to go? They are going to come towards Europe. Frankly, UKIP has a pro-migration policy.”
Each week the Radio 4 programme, which has 1.5 million listeners, visits a different venue. More than 300 people were in the audience at Bennett Memorial after they invited programme makers to the school four years ago.