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The Right Honourable
 Nick Clegg

Photo by the office of Nick Clegg

Assumed office 
18 December 2007
Deputy Vincent Cable
Preceded by Menzies Campbell

In office
2 March 2006 – 18 December 2007
Leader Menzies Campbell
Preceded by Mark Oaten
Succeeded by Chris Huhne

Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Hallam
Assumed office 
5 May 2005
Preceded by Richard Allan
Majority 8,682 (21.4%)

In office

Born 7 January 1967 (1967-01-07) (age 43)
Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire
Birth name Nicholas William Peter Clegg
Nationality British
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Miriam González Durántez
Alma mater Robinson College, Cambridge;
University of Minnesota;
College D'Europe
Religion None[1][2]
Website and

Nicholas William Peter 'Nick' Clegg (born 7 January 1967) is a British politician and, since 18 December 2007, leader of the Liberal Democrats. The Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam, he was appointed to the Privy Council on 30 January 2008 and affirmed his membership on 12 March 2008.


Early life

Nick Clegg was born in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire in 1967, the third of four children. His half-Russian father, Nicholas, was a banker, and is a trustee (and former chairman) of The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation.[3] His great-great-grandfather, the Russian nobleman Ignaty Zakrevsky, was Attorney General of Senate in Imperial Russia.[4] His great-great aunt was the writer Baroness Moura Budberg.[5]

His Dutch mother Hermance van den Wall Bake[6] was a teacher of children with special educational needs who had been interned as a girl with her family by the Japanese in Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies. He was brought up bilingually in Dutch and English and also speaks French, German and Spanish.[7][8]



Clegg was educated at Caldicott in South Buckinghamshire, then Westminster School in London. As a 16-year-old exchange student in Munich, Germany, he performed community service for a minor case of arson:[9][10] he and a friend burned a rare collection of cacti belonging to a professor, something which he said he was "not proud" of, when it re-emerged during his time as Lib Dem Home Affairs spokesman.[11]

He attended Robinson College, Cambridge, after spending a gap year as a ski instructor in Austria and as an office junior in a Helsinki bank. At Cambridge, Clegg studied Archaeology and Anthropology. He was active in the student theatre, captain of the college tennis team, and campaigned for Survival International, protecting the rights of threatened indigenous peoples.[12] In 2008 it was reported that while at university, Clegg had joined the Cambridge University Conservative Association between 1986 and 1987, with contemporary membership records citing an "N Clegg" of Robinson College. (At the time, Clegg was the only person of that name at Robinson.) However, Clegg himself later maintained he had "no recollection of that whatsoever."[13][14][15][16][17]

After university he was awarded a scholarship to study at the University of Minnesota for a year, where he wrote a thesis on the political philosophy of the Deep Green movement. He then moved to New York, where he worked as an intern under Christopher Hitchens at The Nation, a left wing magazine.[18]

Clegg next moved to Brussels, where he worked for six months as a trainee in the G24 Co-ordination Unit which delivered aid to the countries of the former Soviet Union. After the internship he took a second Master's degree at the College of Europe in Bruges, where he met his wife, Míriam González Durantez.[citation needed]

Career before politics

In 1993, Clegg won the Financial Times' David Thomas Prize, set up in memory of David Thomas, an FT journalist killed on assignment in Kuwait in 1991. He was the first recipient and was sent to Hungary, where he wrote articles about the mass privatisation of industries in the former communist bloc.

In April 1994 he took up a post at the European Commission, working in the TACIS aid programme to the former Soviet Union. For two years he was responsible for developing direct aid programmes, worth €50.313 million, in Central Asia and the Caucasus. He was involved in negotiations with Russia on airline overflight rights, and launched a conference in Tashkent in 1993 that founded TRACECA – the Transport Corridor for Europe, the Caucasus and Asia, otherwise known as the 'New Silk Road'. Vice President and Trade Commissioner Leon Brittan then offered Clegg a job in his private office, as a European Union policy adviser and speech writer. As part of this role, Clegg was in charge of the EC negotiating team on Chinese and Russian accession talks to the World Trade Organisation.

Member of the European Parliament (1999-2004)

Clegg was selected as the lead Liberal Democrat euro-candidate for the East Midlands in 1998, and was first tipped as a politician to watch by Paddy Ashdown in 1999 in the Nottingham Evening Post.

On his election in 1999, he was the first Liberal parliamentarian elected in the East Midlands since Ernest Pickering was elected MP for Leicester West in 1931, and was credited with helping to significantly boost the Liberal Democrat poll rating in the region in the six months after his election.

Clegg worked extensively during his time as an MEP to support the party in the region, not least in Chesterfield where Paul Holmes was elected as MP in 2001. He helped persuade Conservative MEP Bill Newton Dunn to defect to the Liberal Democrats; Newton Dunn subsequently succeeded him as MEP for the East Midlands.

As an MEP, Clegg co-founded the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform, which led calls for reforms to expenses, transparency and accountability in the European Parliament. He was made Trade and Industry spokesman for the European Liberal Democrat and Reform group (ELDR), and led on legislation for "local loop unbundling" – opening up telephone networks across Europe to competition. It was the fastest piece of legislation ever to go through the parliament, and the subject of an in-depth BBC Open University documentary on EU decision making.

Clegg campaigned extensively against illegal logging, and wrote a report which advocated that World Trade Organization (WTO) rules should be waived to allow an embargo on illegally logged timber. Clegg worked with fellow MEP Chris Davies on legislation to ban cosmetics tested on animals, pushing the law through despite arguments from the government that it was impossible under WTO rules.

Clegg also worked extensively with Green MEPs on legislation to liberalise the EU's energy sector, arguing that liberalisation was a crucial tool to promote greater energy-efficiency and sustainability. Clegg took a leading role in providing Parliamentary oversight in the ongoing WTO world trade talks and attended WTO summits.

Clegg decided to leave Brussels in 2002, arguing in an article in The Guardian newspaper that the battle to persuade the public of the benefits of Europe was being fought at home, not in Brussels.[19] Clegg's work in the East Midlands included campaigning together with the neighbouring MP Richard Allan, in the Sheffield Hallam constituency. When in November 2004, Allan announced his intention to stand down from parliament, Clegg was selected as the candidate for Sheffield Hallam. He then took up a part time teaching position in the politics department of the University of Sheffield, combining it with ongoing EU consultancy work which he took up after his departure from the European Parliament. He also gave a series of seminar lectures in the International Relations Department of the University of Cambridge.

Member of Parliament (since 2005)

Clegg worked closely with Allan throughout the campaign in Sheffield Hallam – including starring in a local pantomime – and won the seat in the 2005 general election with over 50% of the vote, and a majority of 8,682.[20] This result represents one of the smallest swings away from a party in a seat where an existing MP has been succeeded by a newcomer (4.3%) – see Sheffield constituency article.

On his election, Clegg was promoted by leader Charles Kennedy to be the party's spokesperson on Europe, focusing on the party's preparations for an expected referendum on the European constitution and acting as deputy to Foreign Affairs Spokesperson Menzies Campbell. Clegg's ability to articulate liberal values at a very practical level quickly lent him prominence, with many already seeing him as a future Liberal Democrat leader. Following the resignation of Charles Kennedy on 7 January 2006, Clegg was touted as a possible leadership contender.[21] He was quick to rule himself out and to declare his support for Sir Menzies Campbell,[22] who won the ballot.

Liberal Democrats' Home Affairs spokesperson

After the 2006 leadership election, Clegg was promoted to be Home Affairs spokesperson, replacing Mark Oaten. In this job he spearheaded the Liberal Democrats' defence of civil liberties, proposing a Freedom Bill to repeal what he described as "unnecessary and illiberal legislation",[23] campaigning against Identity Cards and the retention of innocent people's DNA, and arguing against excessive counter-terrorism legislation. He has campaigned for prison reform, a liberal approach to immigration, and defended the Human Rights Act against ongoing attacks from across the political spectrum. In January 2007, Clegg launched the 'We Can Cut Crime!' campaign, "proposing real action at a national level and acting to cut crime where the Liberal Democrats are in power locally".[24]

In Sheffield, Clegg has campaigned on local transport, recycling, housing development and health. He has close links with both of the city's universities and has opposed the closure of local services including fire stations and post offices. Before becoming leader he also served as treasurer and secretary of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on National Parks, a particular interest given that his constituency includes part of the Peak District National Park.[citation needed]

Publications and policy

Clegg has written extensively, publishing and contributing to a large number of pamphlets and books. With Professor Richard Grayson he wrote a book in 2002 about the importance of devolution in secondary education systems, based on comparative research across Europe. The final conclusions included the idea of pupil premiums so that children from poorer backgrounds receive the additional resources their educational needs require.

He wrote a controversial pamphlet for the Centre for European Reform advocating devolution and evolution of the European Union, and contributed to the 2004 Orange Book, where he offered market liberal solutions for reform of European institutions.[25] He also co-authored a pamphlet with Duncan Brack arguing for a wholesale reform of world trade rules to allow room for a greater emphasis on development, internationally binding environmental treaties, and parliamentary democracy within the WTO system.

Clegg chaired a policy working group for the Liberal Democrats on the Third Age in 2004, which focused on the importance of ending the cliff-edge of retirement and providing greater opportunities for older people to remain active beyond retirement. The group developed initial proposals on transforming post offices to help them survive as community hubs, in particular for older people. He served on Charles Kennedy's policy review, "Meeting the Challenge", and the "It's About Freedom" working parties. Clegg also wrote a fortnightly column for Guardian Unlimited for four years while serving as an MEP.

Clegg initially concentrated most of his fire on Labour and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but in the autumn of 2009 began also focusing on Tory leader David Cameron.[26] Clegg rejected an appeal from David Cameron for their two parties to work together.[27] Clegg argued that the Tories were totally different from his party, and that the Lib Dems were the true "progressives" in UK politics.[27]

Clegg has argued there will need to be "savage" spending cuts and said politicians need to treat voters "like grown ups".[28]

Leader of the Liberal Democrats (since 2007)

Election to the leadership

Clegg did not stand in the Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2006, he admitted on 18 September 2007 that he "probably would" stand for the leadership upon the retirement of Sir Menzies Campbell,[29] an event which took place on 15 October 2007. Clegg's comments were seen by media commentators as a swipe against Campbell's leadership, and he was rebuked by other senior Liberal Democrats including potential leadership rival Chris Huhne.[30]

After the resignation of Campbell, Clegg was regarded by much of the media as front-runner in the leadership election.[31][32][33] The BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson stated the election would be a two-horse race between Clegg and Huhne.[34] On Friday 19 October 2007, Clegg launched his bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.[35] Clegg and Huhne clashed in the campaign over Trident but were largely in agreement on many other issues. It was announced on 18 December that he had won.[36]

Frontbench Team appointments

Clegg appointed erstwhile leadership rival Chris Huhne as his replacement as Home Affairs spokesperson. Following his strong performances as acting party leader, Vincent Cable was retained as the main Treasury spokesperson. Media commentators have noted that the Clegg-Huhne-Cable triumvirate provides the Liberal Democrats with an effective political team for the coming years.[37] Clegg has experienced problems over the EU treaty when a number of his frontbench failed to vote with the whipping arrangements.


In his acceptance speech upon winning the leadership contest, Clegg declared himself to be "a liberal by temperament, by instinct and by upbringing" and that he believes "Britain [is] a place of tolerance and pluralism". He declared his priorities as: defending civil liberties; devolving the running of public services to parents, pupils and patients; and protecting the environment.[38] In an interview on BBC Radio 5 Live on the morning after his election to the leadership, Clegg stated that he does not believe in God, but that he has great respect for people of faith, and is committed to raising his children as Catholics as a consequence of his wife being a Catholic.[1][39]

He recently supported "liberal interventionism", arguing that the "unjustified invasion of Iraq" should not weaken support for this. He expressed that there should be more emphasis on a more humanitarian foreign policy.[40]


Clegg's platform for the Liberal Democrats has been both to modernise the party at the same time as maintaining its traditions of political and philosophical Liberalism. Since becoming leader he has called for more choice for patients on waiting lists in the National Health Service (NHS), giving them the option to go private and to be funded by the NHS if they wish; a substantial tax cut in order to "put more money back into the pockets of people", compulsory English lessons for all long-term immigrants, the introduction of the euro into the UK, better action on the environment, the abandonment of Britain's Trident missile defence system in 2010, fixed terms for every parliament, devolving more power to local councils and giving constituents the power to fire their MP if they let them down, a slimming of government across the board and an end to over-centralisation in London.[citation needed]

Standing in the polls

Since becoming leader, the polls have been mixed though the Liberal Democrats occasionally poll above 20 points[41] averaging around 19%[42].

In May 2009, the party overtook Labour in an opinion poll (25% vs 22%) for the first time since the days of its predecessor, the SDP-Liberal Alliance, in 1987.[43] Clegg thus became the first Liberal Democrat leader to out-poll Labour in an opinion poll.

Electoral performance

Four parliamentary by-elections have been held during Clegg's leadership. At Crewe and Nantwich the party's share of the vote decreased by 4%. In the subsequent Henley the party achieved a 1.8% increase in their vote. At the Norwich North by-election the party came third with a 2.2% fall in their vote share. In the two Scottish by-elections, Glenrothes and Glasgow East, saw decreases in the Liberal Democrat vote, 8.3% and 10% respectively.

The local election results for the Liberal Democrats during Clegg's leadership has been mixed. In the 2008 Local Elections the Liberal Democrats took second place with 25% of the vote making a net gain of 34 councillors and took control of Sheffield City Council[44], but their share of the vote was down 1%. The next year the Liberal Democrats gained Bristol but lost both Somerset and Devon producing a net loss of councils and a net loss of one councillor.[45]. The party however did increase its share of the vote by 3% to 28% beating the Labour Party into third place. In the European Parliament elections held on the same day the Liberal Democrats gained a seat but had a slight decrease in their share of the vote, slipping into 4th place, behind the two main parties and UKIP.[46].

In the 2008 London Assembly elections the Liberal Democrats were the only one of the three main parties to see a decrease in their share of the vote, and in the mayoral election the Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick came third again with a decreased share of the vote.

During 2009, with the deepening recession evaportating support for the incumbent Labour government, the Tory opposition were regularly ascendant in the opinion polls and the Liberal Democrats actually managed to overtake Labour more than once by a narrow margin. [1] However, many opinion polls in early 2010 have suggested that a hung parliament is a very serious possibility, and Nick Clegg has spoken of his consideration to form a coalition with the Tories should they fail to gain enough seats to form a majority. [2] However, senior party figures have warned Clegg that forming a coalition with the Tories could split the Liberal Democrats. [3]

Controversies and criticisms

Charles Kennedy's resignation

Clegg was a signatory to the letter circulated by Vincent Cable prior to Charles Kennedy's resignation as leader of the Liberal Democrats, which stated his opposition to working under Kennedy's continued leadership.[47] He subsequently backed Sir Menzies Campbell for the leadership, ahead of Clegg's erstwhile fellow MEP and Orange Book contributor Chris Huhne. Some commentators claim that Clegg's support was due to a hope that he would then inherit the leadership when Campbell's age eventually forced him to retire – the so-called rule that "young cardinals elect old popes".[48]

Sir Menzies Campbell's resignation

The Liberal Democrat party conference in 2007 came during a period of increased media speculation about Sir Menzies Campbell's leadership. Clegg therefore caused a degree of controversy when he admitted his leadership ambitions to journalists at a fringe event, for which he was rebuked by some of his frontbench colleagues.[49] This followed a report that Clegg had failed to hide his disloyalty to Sir Menzies Campbell's leadership.[50]

GQ interview

In March 2008 GQ magazine ran with an interview conducted by Piers Morgan in which Clegg admitted to sleeping with "no more than 30" women.[51] Amanda Platell in the Daily Mail found Clegg's comments hypocritical.[52] Senior Lib Dem MPs defended his comments; Lembit Opik said it showed "you can be a human being and a party leader", and Norman Lamb that "Nick tried to be absolutely straight in everything that he does, and that might sometimes get him into trouble but he will build a reputation for being honest and straightforward."[53]

Relationship with frontbench

In November 2008 an article in the Daily Mirror reported that Clegg had criticised senior members of his front bench whilst on a plane journey.[54] He has attempted to play down the report.[55]


Clegg allegedly claimed the full amount permissible under the Additional Cost Allowance, including claims for food, gardening and redecorating. The Telegraph also said Clegg claimed £80 for international call charges, a claim he said he would repay.[56] He claimed the maximum allowed additional costs allowance in expenses from the taxpayer for his second home in the year 2007-2008.[57]

Clegg became the first party leader in modern political history to call for a Speaker to resign following his handling of the expenses scandal, describing Mr Martin as a defender of the status quo and obstacle to the reform of Parliament.[58]

In response to revelations about MPs' expenses, Clegg set out his plans for reform of Parliament in The Guardian.[59] Speaking about the plans, he said: "let us bar the gates of Westminster and stop MPs leaving for their summer holidays until this crisis has been sorted out, and every nook and cranny of our political system has been reformed." He argued for the "reinvention of British politics" within 100 days, calling for a commitment to accept the Kelly expenses report in full; the power to recall members suspended for misconduct; House of Lords reform; reform of party funding; fixed term parliaments; enabling legislation for a referendum on AV+; and changes to House of Commons procedure to reduce executive power.[60]


In 2000 Clegg married Míriam González Durantez from Valladolid, Castilla y León, Spain, and they have 3 children together: Antonio, Alberto and Miguel.[61][62] His wife is a Roman Catholic and they are bringing up their 3 children as Catholics despite Clegg being a non-believer himself.[63] Miriam's late father, José Antonio Gonzàlez Caviedes, was alcalde of Olmedo (Valladolid. Spain) and member of the Spanish Senate representing the Partido Popular.[64][65]


  1. ^ a b "Clegg 'does not believe in God'". BBC News. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-19. 
  2. ^ "Nick Clegg says: 'I don't believe in God'". The Times. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-20. "Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ new leader, has defied political convention with a frank admission that he is an atheist." 
  3. ^ "Introduction to The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation: Trustees". 26 October 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-26. 
  4. ^ "Всероссийское Генеалогическое Древо". Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  5. ^ "The sexy Russian spy in Lib Dem leader hopeful Nick Clegg's past". Daily Mail. 21 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  6. ^ Brown, Colin (22 October 2007). "Kennedy offered chance to return to Lib Dems' front bench". The Independent. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  7. ^ "GPlus welcomes Clegg as Fifth Partner". GPlus. 30 April 2004. Retrieved 2007-12-20. 
  8. ^ "The Nick Clegg Story". BBC News. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  9. ^ "Clegg 'not proud' of conviction". BBC News Online. 19 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  10. ^ "Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg keeps on smiling despite torrid week - Times Online". The Times. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  11. ^ "'I'd drunk too much. I was irresponsible. Criminal': Nick Clegg on his regrets - Mail Online". Daily Mail. Retrieved 2009-07-07. 
  12. ^ "Interview with Student Direct". Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^
  17. ^
  18. ^ "BBC Daily Politics profile". 18 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-23. 
  19. ^ Clegg, Nick (27 November 2002). "Why I'm quitting Europe". The Guardian.,,848483,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  20. ^ "2005 general election: Sheffield Hallam". The Guardian.,,-1280,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  21. ^ "Kennedy told: quit by Monday". The Guardian. 6 January 2006.,9061,1680603,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  22. ^ Clegg, Nick (20 January 2006). "It's a marathon, not a sprint". The Guardian.,,1691081,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  23. ^ Clegg, Nick (27 November 2006). "Why we need a Freedom Bill". egovmonitor. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  24. ^ "We Can Cut Crime!". Liberal Democrats. 2007. Retrieved 2008-06-02. 
  25. ^ "Orange Blossom". Liberator. 2004. Retrieved 2008-03-26. 
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b
  28. ^
  29. ^ "I would stand for leader – Clegg". BBC News. 19 september 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  30. ^ Deborah Summers and Ros Taylor (2007-09-19). "Clegg admits leadership ambitions". The Guardian.,,2172352,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  31. ^ Andrew Porter, Political Editor of the Daily Telegraph (2007-10-16). "Menzies Campbell resigns as Lib Dem leader". The Daily Telegraph.;jsessionid=NSAXO4GA1CZN3QFIQMFSFF4AVCBQ0IV0?xml=/news/2007/10/15/nming515.xml. "Nick Clegg, the party's home affairs spokesman, is the favourite to take over." 
  32. ^ Julian Glover (16 October 2007). "Ambitious and assured - profile of Nick Clegg". The Guardian.,,2192029,00.html. "Smart, multilingual and ambitious, Nick Clegg has been tipped as the next Liberal Democrat leader for longer than he has served as MP for his leafy constituency at the posh end of Sheffield. No one questions his capability to do the job, but many in his party wonder whether he really wants to take it over it now. Some ask too whether he is too Tory for the party's taste. Mr Clegg insists such criticism is misplaced." 
  33. ^ "Video of Clegg announcing candidacy". YouTube. 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  34. ^ BBC Radio 4 Today Programme, 16 October 2007
  35. ^ "Clegg launches Lib Dem leader bid". BBC News Online. 19 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  36. ^ "Nick Clegg is new Lib Dem leader". BBC News Online. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-12-18. 
  37. ^ Nick Robinson (18 December 2007). "A familiar receipe". Nick Robinson's newslog (BBC News online). Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  38. ^ "Nick Clegg's speech in full". BBC News online. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22. "Here is the full text from new Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg's speech, after winning the two-month contest to succeed Sir Menzies Campbell" 
  39. ^ "Nick Clegg says: 'I don't believe in God'". The Times. 19 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-20. "Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ new leader, has defied political convention with a blunt admission that he is an atheist." 
  40. ^ "Clegg puts case for intervention". BBC News. 23 June 2008. 
  41. ^ Current voting intentions
  42. ^ The UKPolling Report Polling Average
  43. ^ Disaster for Gordon Brown as Labour falls below Lib Dems in new poll The Daily Telegraph, 30 May 2009
  44. ^ Lib Dems take power in Sheffield BBC News
  45. ^ Elections 2009: Councils A-Z BBC News
  46. ^ European Parliament Elections 2009 BBC
  47. ^ "Defiant Kennedy urged to quit now". BBC News. 6 January 2006. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  48. ^ Paul Linford (7 March 2006). "Lib Dem succession race gets under way". Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  49. ^ Deborah Summers and Ros Taylor (19 September 2007). "Clegg admits leadership ambitions". The Guardian.,,2172352,00.html. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  50. ^ Kevin Macguire (29 May 2006). "Village life - Kevin Maguire eavesdrops on an unhappy Minger". New Statesman. Retrieved 2007-11-02. 
  51. ^ "Nick Clegg has had sex with 'no more' than 30", Daily Telegraph, 2 April 2008.
  52. ^ Amanda Platell "Why Calamity Clegg's boasts about his promiscuity are no joking matter", Daily mail, 1 April 2008. Retrieved on 2 April 2008.
  53. ^ "Clegg sex quiz openness defended". British Broadcasting Corporation. 1 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-02. 
  54. ^ Adam Lee-Potter (2008-11-29). "Exclusive: Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg slags off his own party colleagues on packed plane". Daily Mirror. 
  55. ^ "Clegg downplays criticism report". BBC News. 2008-11-30. 
  56. ^ Prince, Rosa (2005-12-13). "Daily Telegraph: Nick Clegg (13 May 2009)". Retrieved 2009-05-13. 
  57. ^ "Clegg's £7k renovation expenses". BBC News. 14 May 2008. Retrieved 2008-05-14. 
  58. ^ "Speaker Michael Martin's position weakens Nick Clegg breaks rank (17 May 2009)". Times Online. 2009-05-17. Retrieved 2009-05-18. 
  59. ^ "Nick Clegg: Bar the gates. No summer holiday before the overhaul (27 May 2009)". Guardian Online. 2009-05-27. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  60. ^ "Take Back Power: Change politics for good (28 May 2009)". Liberal Democrats. 2009-05-28. Retrieved 2009-05-29. 
  61. ^ Miriam González Durántez, aka Mrs Clegg, talks about her family life, flamenco and that infamous GQ interview
  62. ^ Third son for Nick Clegg
  63. ^ Religion: I don't believe in God
  64. ^ "The Lib Dems' new 'first lady'". BBC News online. 18 December 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 
  65. ^ "Lib Dem wives: Can you spot the difference?". The Times. 20 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-11-22. 

External links

Offices held

Party political offices
Preceded by
Sir Menzies Campbell
Leader of the British Liberal Democrats
Preceded by
Mark Oaten
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman
Succeeded by
Chris Huhne
European Parliament
Preceded by
(new constituency)
Member of European Parliament for East Midlands
Succeeded by
Bill Newton Dunn
Parliament of the United Kingdom
Preceded by
Richard Allan
Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam

Simple English

File:Nick Clegg by the 2009 budget
Nick Clegg is the Deputy Prime Minister of the UK

Nicholas William Peter ' Nick' Clegg (born 7 January 1967 in Chalfont St. Giles, Buckinghamshire, England) is a British politician who is the Deputy Prime Minister[1] in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and the leader of the Liberal Democrats.[2] He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Sheffield Hallam.

Nick Clegg was a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) from 1999 to 2004 and was first elected as a Liberal Democrat MP in the 2005 general election. He became the leader of the Liberal Democrats in December 2007. Following the 2010 General Election, he was made Deputy Prime Minister after a coalition deal with the Conservative Party.


Personal life

Clegg has been married to Miriam González Durántez since 2000; they have three sons. Durantez is a Spanish Roman Catholic, and their children are being raised as Catholics, even though Clegg is an atheist.[3]

Clegg's family has many foreign members[4]- his grandmother on his father's side was a Russian Baroness before the Russian Revolution, with German and Ukrainian ancestors, while Clegg's Dutch mother was imprisoned by the Japanese in World War II. Clegg is multilingual (he speaks Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish fluently). He says that his family's experience of persecution is one of the reasons he is liberal.[5].

Before becoming a politician

Clegg was born in Buckinghamshire. He went to Caldicott primary school and Westminster secondary school. He spent a gap year working as a skiing instructor in Austria before starting university at Cambridge, where he studied Anthropology.

After his degree, he was given a scholarship to study for a Master's degree at the University of Minnesota. He then worked as an intern for Christopher Hitchens[6] in New York for a while before going to Brussels to work for the European Union as a trainee aid organiser. He then studied for a second Master's at the College of Europe in Bruges where he met Durantez.

From 1994 to 1998, he worked at the European Commission, where he developed aid programmes to the former Soviet Union and helped the World Trade Organisation to negotiate the entries of Russia and China.[7]

As an MEP

In 1999, Clegg was elected as the Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands. As an MEP, he helped to start a campaign for greater accountability in the European Parliament.[8]

In 2004, he left the Parliament in order to campaign for the Sheffield Hallam constituency seat in the 2005 General Election. During the campaign, he worked as a part-time lecturer at the University of Sheffield.

As an MP

Clegg won the 2005 election, and became the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam in May 2005.[9] As an MP, he campaigned to change the prison and immigration systems, and to make sure that the government did not take away too much freedom from people in their work against terrorism[10]. He also said that the Iraq War was wrong[11].

In 2007, he was voted as leader of the Liberal Democrats,[12] and in 2008 he joined the Privy Council, a group of advisors to the Prime Minister.

As leader of the Liberal Democrats, Clegg's main policies have been to get rid of the Trident missile system, to give NHS patients the choice of private medical care, to make the length of time between elections 5 years (at the moment it only has a 5-year limit, meaning that the government can begin a new election at any time), giving more power to local government, tax cuts for the poor and for the government to do more about the environment.

In May 2009, the Liberal Democrats' approval ratings were higher than the Labour Party's for the first time since 1987.

As Deputy Prime Minister

In May 2010, the UK had a General Election which did not produce a clear winner. David Cameron, leader of the Conservative Party, who had got the most votes, asked to form a coalition government with the Liberal Democrats. Clegg accepted, and became Deputy Prime Minister.

In July 2010, he revealed plans to use 50 fewer MPs in Parliament, to change the number of MPs needed to begin a new election without the agreement of the Prime Minister to 65% and to hold a referendum on whether or not to change the system of voting in General Elections[13].

After the government revealed plans to drastically cut government spending, Liberal Democrat approval ratings dropped to 14%, almost half the 34% rating that was recorded in April.[14]




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