Nick Clegg
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Nick Clegg
Nicholas William Peter Clegg is a British politician who has been Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Lord President of the Council (with special responsibility for political and constitutional reform) since 2010, as part of the coalition government headed by Prime Minister David Cameron. Clegg has been the Leader of the Liberal Democrats since 2007, and a Member of Parliament (MP) representing Sheffield Hallam since 2005.
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Brexit: Nick Clegg to write letter to 500000 people urging them to demand EU citizens' rights guarantee - The Independent
Google News - 4 months
The Independent Brexit: Nick Clegg to write letter to 500000 people urging them to demand EU citizens' rights guarantee The Independent Ex-Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will write to half a million people urging them to send messages to Theresa May, calling for the rights of EU citizens in the UK to be guaranteed. Mr Clegg's letter claims ambiguity around whether EU citizens ... Why listen to a political has-been like Nick Clegg? asks Ross How bad will Brexit be for UK farmers, retailers and consumers?The Guardian Nick Clegg warns of post-Brexit food price hikesBBC News City A.M. -Chicago Tribune -Daily Mail -FarmersWeekly all 59 news articles »
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Google News article
UK lawmakers press Theresa May to allow a vote on EU strategy
Yahoo News - 4 months
British lawmakers from across the political spectrum will press their bid to force Prime Minister Theresa May to give parliament a vote on her negotiating strategy for leaving the European Union, saying she had no mandate for a "hard Brexit". As Britain embarks on some of its most complex diplomatic negotiations since World War Two, Nick Clegg, former deputy prime minister, said May's plan to invoke Article 50 of the EU's Lisbon Treaty by the end of March - triggering the formal Brexit procedure - would hand power to the other 27 EU members. "Whilst the government has a mandate to pull us out of the European Union they don't have a mandate how to do that," Clegg told the BBC's Andrew Marr program on Sunday.
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Yahoo News article
Only 'tiny handful' of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals - The Guardian
Google News - over 1 year
The Guardian Only 'tiny handful' of ministers knew of mass surveillance, Clegg reveals The Guardian Nick Clegg says the ability of GCHQ 'to hack anything from handsets to whole networks … needs to be much better understood'. Photograph: Justin Tallis/AFP/Getty Images. Patrick Wintour Political editor. Thursday 5 November 2015 13.45 EST Last modified ... How and why MI5 kept phone data spy programme secretBBC News British Spies Collected Phone Data For 14 YearsTechWeekEurope UK MI5 carried out secret mass surveillance for a decadeArs Technica The New Indian Express -Daily Mail -The Australian all 28 news articles »
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Google News article
Theresa May faces fight over web browsing access
Guardian (UK) - over 1 year
Labour and Nick Clegg prepare to contest snooper’s charter plan to give intelligence agencies more powers The home secretary, Theresa May, should not seek to give the intelligence agencies full access to an individual’s web browsing history, Labour and the former deputy prime minister Nick Clegg are both likely to say when the government publishes its draft investigatory powers bill on Wednesday. Keir Starmer, the former director of public prosecutions and now a shadow Home Office minister, said Labour opposed giving intelligence agencies access to web browsing history since the measure was likely to give the agencies effective access to the content of an individual’s communications. Continue reading...
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Guardian (UK) article
Nick Clegg and Miriam dominate the dancefloor as Lib Dems hold a political wake
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
EXCLUSIVE: Instead of a mournful political wake to grieve for their demise, ousted leader Nick Clegg downed wine, danced to Prince and led a conga of his loyal supporters and aides at a party last night.
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Daily Mail (UK) article
Nick Clegg resigns as Liberal Democrats party leader
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
The outgoing Deputy Prime Minister said it was 'simply heartbreaking' to see so many Lib Dem MPs ousted by forces beyond their control, as he warned of the dangers of the 'politics of fear'.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Clegg resigns as Liberal Democrat leader after UK vote plunge
Yahoo News - almost 2 years
London (AFP) - The leader of Britain's Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg resigned on Friday after his party suffered what he called a "crushing" defeat in a general election.
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Yahoo News article
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg votes in tight UK election - almost 2 years
Liberal Democrats leader Nick Clegg has cast his vote in Britain's closest general election in decades. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
Article Link: article
David Cameron, Ed Miliband and Nick Clegg get a pizza makeover
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
Food artist Prudence Staite immortalised the faces of David Cameron, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband as well as Nicola Sturgeon and Nigel Farage in pizza, using olives and pepperoni for her portraits.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Tories and Lib Dems refuse to rule out tuition fee increase
Daily Mail (UK) - almost 2 years
Labour seized on comments by Conservative William Hague and Lib Dem Nick Clegg refusing to rule out more rises, as Ed Miliband set out his pledge to reduce fees to £6,000-a-year.
Article Link:
Daily Mail (UK) article
Selfie caught me with my pants down
Independent - almost 2 years
A student who accidentally dropped his trousers to Nick Clegg only wanted a picture to add to his tiny "celebrity selfies" collection.
Article Link:
Independent article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Nick Clegg
  • 2015
    Age 48
    Clegg also confirmed that the government planned to introduce legislation for five-year fixed-term parliaments, with elections to be held on the first Thursday in May of the fifth year after the previous general election, starting with 7 May 2015.
    More Details Hide Details The corresponding bill was presented to parliament on 22 July 2010 and the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011 received Royal Assent on 15 September 2011.
    He resigned as the leader of the Liberal Democrats after the 2015 general elections.
    More Details Hide Details He says he always expected it to be difficult but it is "immeasurably more crushing and unkind than he feared". As a result, he is resigning and a leadership election will take place.
    In 2015, he resigned as leader of the Liberal Democrats following that year's general election at which his party was decisively defeated and lost 49 MPs, moving from 57 MPs to eight.
    More Details Hide Details Clegg is a fluent speaker of five European languages. Clegg was born in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, the third of four children of Nicholas Peter Clegg, CBE, chairman of United Trust Bank and a former trustee of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (where Ken Clarke was an adviser). Clegg descends from "Russia's old Tsarist nobility": his paternal grandmother, Kira von Engelhardt, Baroness von Smolensk, was a Russian noblewoman, and the granddaughter of Attorney-General of the Russian senate, Ignatiy Platonovich Zakrevsky. His English grandfather was Hugh Anthony Clegg, editor of the British Medical Journal for 35 years. Clegg's Dutch mother, Hermance van den Wall Bake, was interned, along with her family, by the Japanese military in Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies (Indonesia) during the Second World War. She met Clegg's father during a visit to England in 1956, and they married on 1 August 1959.
  • 2014
    Age 47
    Following poor results in the 2014 local elections, two parliamentary candidates suggested Clegg should resign.
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    In April 2014, Clegg refused to hold an inquiry into what he called the "repugnant" actions of former Rochdale MP Cyril Smith.
    More Details Hide Details Greater Manchester Police had stated that Smith, who died in 2010, abused young boys. Clegg said: "My party, the Liberal Democrats, did not know about these actions." Clegg stated that the child abuse allegations were a matter for the police.
  • 2013
    Age 46
    The party scored their first by-election win of Clegg's leadership at Eastleigh in 2013, with Mike Thornton holding the seat for the Liberal Democrats, despite a 19% swing away from the party.
    More Details Hide Details Clegg described the result as an election in which Liberal Democrats "overcame the odds with a stunning victory." Earlier by-elections in the parliament had proven less successful. They failed to win Oldham East and Saddleworth in January 2011, after they had successfully petitioned to overturn the general election result. They polled 32% of the vote, a small increase on 2010, but lost out to Labour whose vote was up by 10 percentage points. The Liberal Democrats also came second at Leicester South (which they had held between 2004 and 2005) in May 2011 with 23% (down 4% on 2010), and at Manchester Central in November 2012 where they polled 9% (down 17%). In the remaining nine contests, Liberal Democrats have finished no higher than third place (and in Rotherham finished in an unprecedented 8th position, with just 451 votes, or 2% of the total). In every by-election except Oldham East and Saddleworth their vote has fallen, with decreases of over 10% recorded at eight of the contests. In six of the 13 by-elections, the party have lost their deposit after failing to poll 5% of the vote – an unusually high number of such lost deposits for a major party.
  • 2012
    Age 45
    In September 2012, Clegg formally announced that he was "regrettably" withdrawing proposals to reform the Lords in the face of overwhelming opposition from Conservative MPs.
    More Details Hide Details He signalled he would exact his revenge by refusing to sack any Liberal Democrat minister who voted against changes to MPs’ boundaries – which is Government policy – in retaliation over the Lords reform débâcle. Traditionally party leaders are offered peerages when they leave the House of Commons. When asked by Labour MP Dennis Skinner if he would take a seat in the Lords, he said: "No", adding: "I personally will not take a seat in an unreformed House of Lords. It just sticks in the throat."
    On 19 September 2012, Clegg apologised, not for breaking his pledge, but for having "made a promise we weren’t absolutely sure we could deliver".
    More Details Hide Details The apology was parodied in a song.
    In August 2012, after reform of the House of Lords was abandoned, Clegg said the Conservatives had defied the Coalition agreement by trying to "pick and choose" which items of Government policy they support.
    More Details Hide Details The row marked one of the most serious crises for the Coalition since the 2010 general election. Jeremy Hunt, the Culture Secretary, said he was "very disappointed", describing the decision as a "great shame". Clegg said that favoured by the Conservatives to make sure the Coalition is a fair and equal partnership. "My party has held to that Coalition contract even when it meant voting for things that we found difficult," he said. "But the Conservative party is not honouring the commitment to Lords reform and, as a result, part of our contract has now been broken." Clegg also revealed the Conservatives rejected his suggestion of a "last ditch" compromise to save both policies. “Clearly I cannot permit a situation where Conservative rebels can pick and choose the parts of the contract they like, while Liberal Democrat MPs are bound to the entire agreement," he said.
  • 2011
    Age 44
    In June 2011, Clegg proposed that more than 46 million people would be handed shares in Royal Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group under the "people's bank" plan.
    More Details Hide Details The plan proposes that ordinary voters would be able to profit from any increase in the value of their shares once the Treasury has recouped taxpayers’ money used for the bail-out – an offer that could eventually be worth up to £1,000 to householders. Clegg said that it was "psychologically immensely important" for people to be given a stake in the banks in the wake of the financial crisis. "Their money has been used to the tune of billions and billions and billions to keep the British banking system on a life-support system," he said. The taxpayer owns 84 per cent of RBS and 43 per cent of Lloyds after the Government spent £65.8 billion buying shares at the height of the financial crisis. The share price of both banks has fallen sharply since the bail-out. Aides close to Cameron and George Osborne warned that the Liberal Democrat scheme could cost £250 million to establish and would prove an "administrative nightmare". However Stephen Williams said "We are absolutely convinced it (standard privatisation) would not be cheaper, we are absolutely convinced of that." A Downing Street spokesman said that the Liberal Democrat plan was "an option". "The Treasury has said it is going to look at all the options and this will be one of those options," the spokesman said. "We will be driven by making sure that we deliver the best value for the taxpayer." The Treasury also played down the likelihood of the proposal becoming reality.
    In an interview in April 2011, Clegg stated he dealt with the pressures of political office by reading novels late at night and he "cries regularly to music".
    More Details Hide Details He supports Arsenal F.C.
    In 2011, Clegg spoke out against the practice of parties putting forwards nominees for royal honours in return for campaign contributions.
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    Clegg has aimed to modernise the Liberal Democrat Party at the same time as maintaining its traditions of political and philosophical Liberalism. In 2011, he told a party conference that the Liberal Democrats were radical centrist in orientation:
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  • 2010
    Age 43
    On 14 October 2010, Clegg delivered a speech at a school in Chesterfield, at which he announced the government's intention to spend £7 billion on a 'fairness premium' designed to see extra support going to the poorest pupils over the course of the parliament.
    More Details Hide Details Clegg claimed that the funds for the scheme would be "additional" to the current education budget and this view was backed up by a Number 10 aide who when interviewed by The Guardian said "the money for this will come from outside the education budget. We're not just rearranging furniture – this is real new money from elsewhere in Whitehall." The package announced would provide 15 hours a week free nursery education for the poorest two-year-olds and a 'pupil premium' which would be given to schools to help those pupils eligible for free school meals worth £2.5 billion a year. The announcement by Clegg ensured that two elements of the government's Coalition Agreement had been fulfilled, that of the promise to support free nursery care to pre-school children and that of funding a 'significant premium for disadvantaged pupils from outside the schools budget by reductions in spending elsewhere'. For Clegg the announcement was an important one politically coming two days after the publication of the Browne Review into the future of university funding which signalled the reversal of the long cherished Liberal Democrat policy of opposing any increase in tuition fees. The pupil premium announcement was important as it formed one of the four key 'priorities' on which the party had fought the last election. On 20 October 2010, the plans for the 'fairness premium' were introduced by the Treasury as part of the spending review which said that the money would be introduced over the period of the review which "will support the poorest in the early years and at every stage of their education".
    On 16 September 2010, during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United Kingdom, Clegg attended the State reception in the grounds of Holyrood Palace and was introduced to the Pope by Her Majesty the Queen.
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    In his 2010 production Dandelion Mind, comedian Bill Bailey sang "Nick Clegg you don't have to wear that dress tonight, walk the streets for money, you don't have to sell your body to the right" to the tune of "Roxanne".
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    Five parliamentary by-elections were held during Clegg's leadership prior to the 2010 general election.
    More Details Hide Details At Crewe and Nantwich the party's share of the vote decreased by 4%. In the subsequent Henley by-election 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. The two Scottish by-elections, Glenrothes and Glasgow East, saw decreases in the Liberal Democrat vote, 8% and 10% respectively. The local election results for the Liberal Democrats during the same period were 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, 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. 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, staying in 4th place compared to the previous European elections, behind the two main parties and UKIP.
    During an interview on 24 October 2010 with the BBC's Andrew Marr Clegg said that he "regretted" not being able to keep his pre-election policy to scrap tuition fees but claimed that this was a result of the financial situation the country had found itself in.
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    On 10 November 2010, as Cameron was making a trade visit to China, Clegg deputised for the third time, meeting Harman across the despatch box.
    More Details Hide Details On a day that coincided with violent student protests against tuition fees in London, the Labour deputy leader chose the same subject to quiz Clegg, accusing him of a U-turn on pledges made before the election. Responding, Clegg accused Harman of trying to re-position the Labour Party as the party of students when the party had previously campaigned against fees only to end up introducing them. The issue of student financing had been considered one of the flagship policies of the Liberal Democrats with all of the party's MPs, including Nick Clegg, signing the Vote for Students pledge to oppose any increase in student tuition fees prior to the 2010 general election. As part of the coalition agreement the Lib Dems abandoned their pledge to oppose any increase in tuition fees but gained permission to abstain on any vote relating to the increase of tuition fees. The Browne Review recommended that the present cap on student fees be lifted, potentially paving the way for universities to charge much higher fees in the future.
    Clegg next stepped in for Prime Minister's Questions on 8 September 2010 following the news that Cameron's father had taken very ill.
    More Details Hide Details Standing in for the Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman, Jack Straw challenged Clegg on the allegations of phone hacking against Downing Street's director of communications Andy Coulson. Responding, Clegg claimed that the allegations dating from Coulson's time at the News of the World were a matter for the police to investigate.
    On 21 July 2010, Clegg became the first Liberal Democrat leader to answer for Prime minister's questions.
    More Details Hide Details He courted controversy during the exchange when at the despatch box he attacked the shadow justice secretary Jack Straw for the decision to invade Iraq saying "perhaps one day you could account for your role in the most disastrous decision of all, which is the illegal invasion of Iraq." Despite having long held views about the issue, the comment was controversial, as it did not reflect the policy of the government which was that the legality of the war in Iraq was currently being studied by the Iraq inquiry.
    When he appeared on Desert Island Discs in October 2010, his choice of discs included Johnny Cash, Prince and Radiohead and his luxury was a "stash of cigarettes".
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    In May 2010 Downing Street announced that Clegg and the Foreign Secretary William Hague would share use of Chevening, which is typically the official country residence of the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.
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    On 5 July 2010, Clegg unveiled plans to have fewer MPs and to hold a referendum on the voting system so that the next general election would be contested under the Alternative Vote system.
    More Details Hide Details In a statement, he said UK democracy was "fractured", with some votes counting more than others. As part of the statement he also changed initial plans requiring the number of MPs needed to vote to dissolve Parliament from 55% to 66%. The Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill was presented to parliament on 22 July 2010 for its first reading which if successful would see the date of the referendum on changing the voting system from the current 'first past the post' system to the Alternative Vote (AV) system set for 5 May 2011. The bill also introduced plans to reduce the number of MP's in the House of Commons from 650 to 600 something which the Labour party attacked as gerrymandering as to do this there would need to be boundary changes. Clegg told MPs: "Together, these proposals help correct the deep unfairness in the way we hold elections in this country. Under the current set-up, votes count more in some parts of the country than others, and millions feel that their votes don't count at all. Elections are won and lost in a small minority of seats. We have a fractured democracy, where some people's votes count and other people's votes don't count." On 22 July 2010 the question for the referendum on AV was published asking voters if they wish to "adopt the 'alternative vote' system instead of the current 'first past the post' system" for electing MPs".
    Following the announcement, teams of negotiators from both parties formulated what would become the Coalition Agreement which would form the basis of their partnership together. Gordon Brown's resignation on 11 May 2010 meant that Cameron was invited by the Queen to form a government and a coalition with the Liberal Democrats was agreed with Nick Clegg as the Deputy Prime Minister.
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    Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Lord President of the Council on 11 May 2010 through a coalition with the Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron.
    More Details Hide Details He has also been made Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform, which was a key point for the Liberal Democrats during the creation of the coalition. The morning after the 2010 general election presented the country with no one political party able to form a government that would command a majority in the House of Commons. In light of this reality the Conservative leader Cameron went public and gave a "big, open and comprehensive offer" to the Lib Dem leader and said that he wanted to open up negotiations with the Liberal Democrats to form Britain's first coalition government since the second world war. Replying Clegg said that he had always maintained that the party with the most seats and the most votes should have the right to seek to govern. Speaking to the press he said: "It seems this morning that it is the Conservative Party which has more votes and more seats – although not an absolute majority – which is why I now think that it is the Conservative Party which should seek to govern in the national interest."
    After Clegg's performance in the first of three general election debates on 15 April 2010, there was an unprecedented surge of media attention and support for the Liberal Democrats in opinion polls.
    More Details Hide Details ComRes reported the Liberal Democrats at 24% on the day, and on 20 April in a YouGov poll, the Liberal Democrats were on 34%, one point above the Conservatives, with Labour in third place on 28%. This success was described as "Cleggmania" by journalists. Following the formation of the coalition, support for the Liberal Democrats fell. On 8 December 2010, the eve of a House of Commons vote on changes in the funding of higher education, an opinion poll conducted by YouGov recorded voting intention figures of Conservatives 41%, Labour 41%, other parties 11% and Liberal Democrats 8%, the lowest level of support recorded for the Liberal Democrats in any opinion poll since September 1990.
  • 2009
    Age 42
    As regards public spending, at the party's 2009 conference in Bournemouth Clegg argued for "savage" spending cuts and said politicians need to treat voters "like grown ups" whilst accusing the Labour and Conservative parties of indulging in "childish games" over the "c-word".
    More Details Hide Details On 29 April 2009 the Liberal Democrats proposed in the House of Commons to offer all Gurkhas an equal right of residence; the motion resulted in a defeat for the Government by 267 votes to 246. It was the only first day motion defeat for a government since 1978. On speaking about the result Clegg said "this is an immense victory for the rights of Gurkhas who have been waiting so long for justice, a victory for Parliament, a victory for decency". He added that it was "the kind of thing people want this country to do". On 21 May 2009 the Home Secretary Jacqui Smith announced that all Gurkha veterans who retired before 1997 with at least four years service could settle in the UK. The actress and daughter of Gurkha corps Major James Lumley, Joanna Lumley, who had highlighted the treatment of the Gurkhas and campaigned for their rights, commented: "This is the welcome we have always longed to give".
    At the 2009 party conference in Bournemouth he accused the Conservatives of "simply believing it is their turn" and claimed that come the election the "choice before people is the choice between fake, phoney change from David Cameron's Conservatives, and real change the Liberal Democrats offer".
    More Details Hide Details 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 Michael Martin, the Speaker at the time, as a defender of the status quo and obstacle to the reform of Parliament. In response to revelations about MPs' expenses, Clegg set out his plans for reform of Parliament in The Guardian. 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.
    In the Commons Clegg initially concentrated most of his fire on Labour and Prime Minister Gordon Brown, but in the autumn of 2009 began also focusing on Cameron and the Conservatives.
    More Details Hide Details Clegg rejected an appeal from Cameron for their two parties to work together. Clegg argued that the Conservatives were totally different from his party, and that the Lib Dems were the true "progressives" in UK politics.
  • 2008
    Age 41
    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.
    More Details Hide Details At the 2010 general election, the Liberal Democrats won 23% of the vote, an improvement of 1%, however they only won 57 seats, 5 fewer than in 2005. No political party had an overall majority, resulting in the nation's first hung parliament since February 1974. Talks between Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, and Clegg led to an agreed Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, enabling the Queen to invite Cameron to form a government. Since the 2010 general election, Clegg's Liberal Democrats have contested 13 by-elections in Great Britain (as of 2 March 2013).
    In November 2008, Clegg suffered more allegations of difficulties with the front bench following an article in the Daily Mirror which reported that Clegg had criticised senior members of his front bench whilst on a plane journey.
    More Details Hide Details He told the BBC's Politics Show that "a lot of it is, frankly, fiction". The tragedy is that we have a society where too many people never get to fulfil that extraordinary potential. My view – the liberal view – is that government's job is to help them to do it. Not to tell people how to live their lives. But to make their choices possible, to release their potential, no matter who they are. The way to do that is to take power away from those who hoard it. To challenge vested interests. To break down privilege. To clear out the bottlenecks in our society that block opportunity and block progress.
    The resignations happened not long after the Commons Speaker Michael Martin on 26 February 2008 had blocked calls by the Liberal Democrats for an "in or out" referendum on Britain's EU membership.
    More Details Hide Details The Speaker's authority was called into question when, led by Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats marched out of the House of Commons, calling the Speaker's decision a constitutional "outrage". Just moments before, frontbench foreign affairs spokesman for the party Ed Davey had been expelled from the chamber by the Speaker's deputy Sir Michael Lord for further challenging the ruling.
    On 5 March 2008, Clegg suffered a real test following the resignation of three of his front bench team.
    More Details Hide Details David Heath, Alistair Carmichael and Tim Farron had been told to abstain in the vote for a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty but had wanted to vote in favour and so defied the whip. In addition to the three frontbenchers, a further 12 more backbench LibDem MPs also defied the whip and voted "yes". Clegg said "though we have disagreed on this issue I fully understand and respect their strongly held views on the subject. However, as they have recognised, the shadow cabinet cannot operate effectively unless the principle of collective responsibility is maintained."
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Senior Lib Dem MPs defended his comments; Lembit Öpik said it showed "you can be a human being and a party Leader", and Norman Lamb that "Nick tries 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." Speaking to the BBC about the interview Clegg said "wisdom with hindsight is an easy thing" as what had been a split second response had been "taken out of context, interpreted, over interpreted and so on". Upon his election Clegg appointed leadership rival Huhne as his replacement as Home Affairs spokesperson and following his strong performances as acting party leader, Vince Cable was retained as the main Treasury spokesperson. Media commentators noted that the Clegg-Huhne-Cable triumvirate provided the Liberal Democrats with an effective political team for the coming years.
    Clegg was appointed to the Privy Council on 30 January 2008 and affirmed his membership on 12 March 2008.
    More Details Hide Details 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 has stated that he feels "a profound antagonism for prejudice of all sorts". He declared his priorities as: defending civil liberties; devolving the running of public services to parents, pupils and patients; and protecting the environment. 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 "an immense amount of respect for people of faith". In 2010, Clegg elaborated on this question, stating: "I was asked a question once in one of those questions where you're only allowed to answer "yes" or "no", and I was asked "Do you believe in God?" As it happens I don't know whether God exists. I'm much more of an agnostic."
  • 2007
    Age 40
    On Friday 19 October 2007, Clegg launched his bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats.
    More Details Hide Details 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.
    Eventually on 15 October 2007 Campbell resigned saying that questions about his leadership were "getting in the way of further progress by the party".
    More Details Hide Details After the resignation of Campbell, Clegg was regarded by much of the media as front-runner in the leadership election. The BBC's Political Editor Nick Robinson stated the election would be a two-horse race between Clegg and Chris Huhne who had stood against Campbell in the 2006 election.
    Clegg caused a degree of controversy when at the Liberal Democrat party conference in 2007 he admitted his leadership ambitions to journalists at a fringe event.
    More Details Hide Details The admission followed a period of increased media speculation about Sir Menzies Campbell's leadership, which the admission by Clegg did nothing to reduce and resulted in a rebuke by some of his frontbench colleagues. This followed a report from the Daily Mirrors Kevin Macguire that Clegg had failed to hide his disloyalty to Campbell's leadership.
    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".
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    In 2007 he was elected Leader of the Liberal Democrats, leading his party into a coalition government with the Conservative Party in 2010.
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  • 2006
    Age 39
    After the 2006 leadership election, Clegg was promoted to be Home Affairs spokesperson, replacing Mark Oaten.
    More Details Hide Details 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", 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.
    Following the resignation of Kennedy on 7 January 2006, Clegg was touted as a possible leadership contender.
    More Details Hide Details He was quick to rule himself out however instead declaring his support for Menzies Campbell ahead of his former colleague in the European Parliament Chris Huhne, with Campbell going on to win the ballot. Clegg had been a signatory to the letter circulated by Vince Cable prior to Kennedy's resignation, which stated his opposition to working under Kennedy's continued leadership.
  • 2005
    Age 38
    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.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Before becoming Leader of the party in 2007 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. Following his election to parliament, 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.
  • 2004
    Age 37
    In November 2004, then Sheffield Hallam MP Richard Allan announced his intention to stand down from parliament, Clegg was selected as the candidate for Sheffield Hallam constituency.
    More Details Hide Details He took up a part-time teaching position in the politics department of the University of Sheffield, combining it with ongoing EU consultancy work with GPlus. He also gave a series of seminar lectures in the international relations Department of the University of Cambridge.
    On leaving the European Parliament, Clegg joined political lobbying firm GPlus in April 2004 as a fifth partner: It's especially exciting to be joining GPlus at a time when Brussels is moving more and more to the centre of business concerns.
    More Details Hide Details With the EU taking in ten more countries and adopting a new Constitution, organisations need more than ever intelligent professional help in engaging with the EU institutions. Clegg worked on GPlus clients including The Hertz Corporation and British Gas.
    In 2004 Clegg explained to the Select Committee on European Union that the aim of MEPs like himself, who had been active in the debate on the EU's negotiating mandate, was to obtain the right to ratify any major WTO deal entered into by the European Union.
    More Details Hide Details The same year Clegg chaired a policy working group for the Liberal Democrats on the Third Age, 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. Whilst an MEP Clegg, for four years, wrote a fortnightly column for Guardian Unlimited. One particular article in 2002 accused Gordon Brown of encouraging "condescension" towards Germany. In an article, Clegg wrote that "all nations have a cross to bear, and none more so than Germany with its memories of Nazism. But the British cross is more insidious still. A misplaced sense of superiority, sustained by delusions of grandeur and a tenacious obsession with the last war, is much harder to shake off". The article was dusted down during the 2010 general election campaign when the Daily Mail interpreted the article as being a "Nazi slur on Britain" and Clegg had begun to feel the full heat of the British tabloid press following his success during the first leaders' debate.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details He 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.
  • 2002
    Age 35
    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.
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  • 2001
    Age 34
    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.
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  • 2000
    Age 33
    In December 2000, Nick Clegg became the Parliament's Draftsman on a complex new EU telecoms law relating to "local loop unbundling"—opening-up telephone networks across Europe to competition.
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    In September 2000, Clegg married Miriam González Durántez, from Valladolid, Spain.
    More Details Hide Details They have three sons. While Clegg has stated that he does not believe in God, his wife is a Roman Catholic and they are bringing up their children as Catholics.
  • 1999
    Age 32
    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.
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  • 1998
    Age 31
    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.
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  • 1993
    Age 26
    He was involved in negotiations with Russia on airline overflight rights, and launched a conference in Tashkent in 1993 that founded TRACECA—an international transport programme for the development of a transport corridor for Europe, the Caucasus and Asia.
    More Details Hide Details 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. Clegg has written extensively, publishing and contributing to a large number of pamphlets and books. With Dr 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.
    In 1993, Clegg won the Financial Times' David Thomas Prize, in remembrance of an FT journalist killed on assignment in Kuwait in 1991.
    More Details Hide Details Clegg was the award's first recipient. He was later 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 in Central Asia and the Caucasus, worth €50 million.
  • 1992
    Age 25
    Between 1992 and 1993, he was employed by GJW Government Relations Ltd, which lobbied on behalf of Libya.
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  • 1989
    Age 22
    Clegg spent the summer of 1989 as an office junior in Postipankki bank in Helsinki.
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  • 1986
    Age 19
    Hands noted that "for the avoidance of any doubt, there was only one 'N Clegg' at Robinson College... he is listed in the 'Robinson College Record', under 'Freshmen 1986'.
    More Details Hide Details He graduated with an upper second class honours (2:1) degree in social anthropology. After university, he was awarded a scholarship to study for a year at the University of Minnesota, where he wrote a thesis on the political philosophy of the Deep Green movement. He then moved to New York City, where he worked as an intern under Christopher Hitchens at The Nation, a progressive liberal magazine, where he fact-checked Hitchens's articles. Clegg next moved to Brussels, where he worked alongside Guy Spier 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 studied for a master's degree at the College of Europe in Bruges, a university for European studies in Belgium, where he met his wife, Miriam González Durántez, a lawyer and the daughter of a Spanish senator. Nick Clegg is an alumnus of the "Mozart Promotion" (1991–92) of the College of Europe.
    However, Conservative MP Greg Hands has a record of CUCA members for 1986–1987, and Clegg's name appears on the list.
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    It has been alleged that Clegg joined the Cambridge University Conservative Association between 1986 and 1987.
    More Details Hide Details Clegg has maintained he has "no recollection of that whatsoever".
  • 1980
    Age 13
    Clegg was educated at two independent schools: at Caldicott School in Farnham Royal in South Buckinghamshire, where he was joint Head Prefect in 1980, and later at Westminster School in Central London.
    More Details Hide Details As a 16-year-old exchange student in Munich, he and a friend drunkenly set fire to what he called "the leading collection of cacti in Germany". When news of the incident was reported during his time as Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Clegg said he was "not proud" of it. He was arrested and not formally charged, but performed a kind of community service. He spent a gap year working as a skiing instructor in Austria, before going on to Cambridge University in 1986, where he studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Robinson College. He was active in the student theatre at Cambridge, acting in a play about AIDS and under director Sam Mendes. He was also captain of his college's tennis team, and campaigned for the human rights organisation Survival International.
  • 1967
    Age 0
    Born on January 7, 1967.
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