Nick Clegg
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Sir Nicholas William Peter Clegg (born 7 January 1967) is a British media executive and former
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom is a minister of the Crown and a member of the British Cabinet. The office is not always in use, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime ministers may use other offices, such as First Sec ...
who has been president for global affairs at
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since 2022, having previously been vicepresident of global affairs and communications at
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from 2018 to 2022. Before joining Facebook, Clegg served as Deputy Prime Minister of the UK from 2010 to 2015 and as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015. He was
Member of Parliament A member of parliament (MP) is the representative in parliament of the people who live in their electoral district. In many countries with bicameral parliaments, this term refers only to members of the lower house since upper house members o ...
(MP) for Sheffield Hallam from 2005 to 2017. An " Orange Book" liberal, he has been associated with both socially liberal and economically liberal policies. Born in
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South East England that borders Greater London to the south-east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, ...
, Clegg was educated at
Westminster School Westminster School is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school in Westminster, London, England, in the precincts of Westminster Abbey. It derives from a charity school founded by Westminster Benedictines before the 1066 Norman Conquest, as d ...
before going on to study at the
University of Cambridge The University of Cambridge is a Public university, public collegiate university, collegiate research university in Cambridge, England. Founded in 1209 and granted a royal charter by Henry III of England, Henry III in 1231, Cambridge is the world' ...
,
University of Minnesota The University of Minnesota, formally the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, (UMN Twin Cities, the U of M, or Minnesota) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Tw ...
and
College of Europe The College of Europe (french: Collège d'Europe) is a post-graduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ) is the capital and largest city A city is a human settlement of notable siz ...
. He worked as a journalist for the ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray ba ...
'' before becoming a
Member of the European Parliament A Member of the European Parliament (MEP) is a person who has been elected to serve as a popular representative in the European Parliament. When the European Parliament (then known as the Common Assembly of the European Coal and Steel Commu ...
(MEP) in 1999. After his election to the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
in 2005, Clegg served in a variety of leadership roles in the Liberal Democrats, most notably as spokesperson for Home Affairs, before being elected to succeed Menzies Campbell as party leader in 2007. During his tenure as leader, Clegg asserted that the Liberal Democrats had transcended left and right-wing politics and described the party as radical centrist. He advocated for reduced taxes, electoral reform, cuts on defence spending and an increased focus on environmental issues. As a result of the 2010 general election, Clegg's Liberal Democrats found themselves with 57 seats in the House of Commons. The Conservative Party, which failed to receive a majority, formed a coalition with the Liberal Democrats, and Clegg was appointed by
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
to serve as his Deputy Prime Minister. In this capacity, he became the first leader of the Liberal Democrats to answer for the Prime Minister's Questions, and used his influence in the position to pass the Fixed-term Parliaments Act. Controversy arose during this time surrounding the Liberal Democrats' decision to abandon their pledge to oppose increases in tuition fees, which had previously been a key issue that won the party support from students. During the party's time in
coalition A coalition is a group formed when two or more people or groups temporarily work together to achieve a common goal. The term is most frequently used to denote a formation of power in political or economical spaces. Formation According to ''A Gui ...
, the Liberal Democrats saw a significant drop in support, and the 2015 general election left the party with just 8 seats, which resulted in Clegg's ousting as Deputy Prime Minister and his resignation as party leader. In 2016, following a
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
in which a majority supported leaving the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
, Clegg returned to the Liberal Democrat frontbench, concurrently serving as Spokesperson for Exiting the European Union and for International Trade from July 2016 to June 2017. In the 2017 general election, Clegg was defeated in his constituency of Sheffield Hallam by Jared O'Mara of the Labour Party. After losing his seat, Clegg moved to the United States after he was appointed by
Mark Zuckerberg Mark Elliot Zuckerberg (; born ) is an American business magnate, internet entrepreneur, and Philanthropy, philanthropist. He is known for co-founding the social media website Facebook and its parent company Meta Platforms (formerly Faceboo ...
as Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications of Facebook, Inc. (now Meta Platforms, Inc.) in 2018. In February 2022, Clegg was promoted by Zuckerberg to President for Global Affairs at Meta Platforms.


Early life and family

Clegg was born in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, the third of four children of Hermance van den Wall Bake and Nicholas Peter Clegg, chairman of United Trust Bank and a former trustee of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation (where Ken Clarke was an adviser). Clegg has one-quarter Baltic-German ancestry. His paternal grandmother, Baroness Kira von Engelhardt, of
Smolensk Smolensk ( rus, Смоленск, p=smɐˈlʲensk, a=smolensk_ru.ogg) is a types of inhabited localities in Russia, city and the administrative center of Smolensk Oblast, Russia, located on the Dnieper River, west-southwest of Moscow. First me ...
, was a Baltic-German noblewoman, niece of Moura Budberg, adventuress and suspected
double agent In the field of counterintelligence, a double agent is an employee of a secret intelligence service for one country, whose primary purpose is to spy on a target organization of another country, but who is now spying on their own country's organi ...
, and the granddaughter of
attorney general In most common law jurisdictions, the attorney general or attorney-general (sometimes abbreviated AG or Atty.-Gen) is the main legal advisor to the government. The plural is attorneys general. In some jurisdictions, attorneys general also have exec ...
of the
Imperial Russia The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
n Senate, Ignatiy Platonovich Zakrevsky. Through this Russian connection, Clegg is distantly related to Michael Ignatieff, leader of the
Liberal Party of Canada The Liberal Party of Canada (french: Parti libéral du Canada, region=CA) is a federal political party in Canada. The party espouses the principles of liberalism,McCall, Christina; Stephen Clarkson"Liberal Party". ''The Canadian Encyclopedia'' ...
from 2008 to 2011. His English grandfather was Hugh Anthony Clegg, editor of the ''
British Medical Journal ''The BMJ'' is a weekly peer-reviewed medical trade journal, published by the trade union the British Medical Association (BMA). ''The BMJ'' has editorial freedom from the BMA. It is one of the world's oldest general medical journals. Orig ...
'' for 35 years. Clegg's mother is Dutch and was
interned Internment is the imprisonment of people, commonly in large groups, without Criminal charge, charges or Indictment, intent to file charges. The term is especially used for the confinement "of enemy citizens in wartime or of terrorism suspects ...
, along with her family, by the Japanese military in Batavia (Jakarta) in the
Dutch East Indies The Dutch East Indies, also known as the Netherlands East Indies ( nl, Nederlands(ch)-Indië; ), was a Dutch colony consisting of what is now Indonesia. It was formed from the nationalised trading posts of the Dutch East India Company, whic ...
(Indonesia) during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
. She met Clegg's father during a visit to England in 1956, and they married on 1 August 1959. Clegg is
multilingual Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a group of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. More than half of all ...
. He speaks English, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish. His background has informed his politics. He says, "There is simply not a shred of racism in me, as a person whose whole family is formed by flight from persecution, from different people in different generations. It's what I am. It's one of the reasons I am a liberal." His Dutch mother instilled in him "a degree of scepticism about the entrenched class configurations in British society".


Education

Clegg was educated at two
independent school An independent school is independent in its finances and governance. Also known as private schools, non-governmental, privately funded, or non-state schools, they are not administered by local, state or national governments. In British Eng ...
s: at Caldicott School in Farnham Royal in South
Buckinghamshire Buckinghamshire (), abbreviated Bucks, is a Ceremonial counties of England, ceremonial county in South East England that borders Greater London to the south-east, Berkshire to the south, Oxfordshire to the west, Northamptonshire to the north, ...
, where he was joint Head Prefect in 1980, and later at
Westminster School Westminster School is a Public school (United Kingdom), public school in Westminster, London, England, in the precincts of Westminster Abbey. It derives from a charity school founded by Westminster Benedictines before the 1066 Norman Conquest, as d ...
in
Central London Central London is the innermost part of London, in England, spanning several London borough, boroughs. Over time, a number of definitions have been used to define the scope of Central London for statistics, urban planning and local government. ...
. 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 A cactus (, or less commonly, cactus) is a member of the plant family Cactaceae, a family comprising about 127 genera with some 1750 known species of the order Caryophyllales. The word ''cactus'' derives, through Latin, from the Ancient Greek ...
in Germany". When news of the incident was reported during his time as Liberal Democrat Home Affairs spokesperson, Clegg said he was "not proud" of it. He was arrested and not formally charged, but performed a type of
community service Community service is unpaid work performed by a person or group of people for the benefit and betterment of their community without any form of compensation. Community service can be distinct from volunteering, since it is not always performed ...
. He spent a
gap year A gap year, also known as a sabbatical year, is typically a year-long break before or after college/university during which students engage in various educational and developmental activities, such as travel or some type of regular work. Gap yea ...
working as a skiing instructor in
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
, before going on to
Cambridge Cambridge ( ) is a College town, university city and the county town in Cambridgeshire, England. It is located on the River Cam approximately north of London. As of the 2021 United Kingdom census, the population of Cambridge was 145,700. Cam ...
in 1986, where he studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Robinson College. He was active in the student theatre at Cambridge, acting in a production of '' The Normal Heart'' under director
Sam Mendes Sir Samuel Alexander Mendes (born 1 August 1965) is a British film and stage director, producer, and screenwriter. In 2000, Mendes was appointed a CBE for his services to drama, and he was Knight Bachelor, knighted in the 2020 New Year Honour ...
. He was also captain of his college's tennis team, and campaigned for the human rights organisation
Survival International Survival International is a human rights organisation formed in 1969, a London based charity that campaigns for the collective rights, rights of indigenous peoples, indigenous and/or tribal peoples and uncontacted peoples. The organisation's ca ...
. Clegg spent the summer of 1989 as an office junior in Postipankki bank in
Helsinki Helsinki ( or ; ; sv, Helsingfors, ) is the Capital city, capital, primate city, primate, and List of cities and towns in Finland, most populous city of Finland. Located on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, it is the seat of the region of U ...
. It has been alleged that Clegg joined the Cambridge University Conservative Association between 1986 and 1987. Clegg has maintained he has "no recollection of that whatsoever". However, Conservative MP Greg Hands has a record of CUCA members for 1986–1987, and Clegg's name appears on the list. Hands noted that "for the avoidance of any doubt, there was only one 'N Clegg' at Robinson College ... eis listed in the 'Robinson College Record', under 'Freshmen 1986'. 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 The University of Minnesota, formally the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, (UMN Twin Cities, the U of M, or Minnesota) is a public university, public Land-grant university, land-grant research university in the Minneapolis–Saint Paul, Tw ...
, 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 Christopher Eric Hitchens (13 April 1949 – 15 December 2011) was a British-American author and journalist who wrote or edited over 30 books (including five essay collections) on culture, politics, and literature. Born and educated in England, ...
at ''
The Nation ''The Nation'' is an Liberalism in the United States, American liberal biweekly magazine that covers political and cultural news, opinion, and analysis. It was founded on July 6, 1865, as a successor to William Lloyd Garrison's ''The Liberator ...
'', a progressive liberal magazine, where he fact-checked Hitchens's articles. Clegg next moved to
Brussels Brussels (french: Bruxelles or ; nl, Brussel ), officially the Brussels-Capital Region (All text and all but one graphic show the English name as Brussels-Capital Region.) (french: link=no, Région de Bruxelles-Capitale; nl, link=no, Bruss ...
, 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 The Soviet Union,. officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics. (USSR),. was a List of former transcontinental countries#Since 1700, transcontinental country that spanned much of Eurasia from 1922 to 1991. A flagship communist state, ...
. After the internship he studied for a master's degree at the
College of Europe The College of Europe (french: Collège d'Europe) is a post-graduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ) is the capital and largest city A city is a human settlement of notable siz ...
in
Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ) is the capital and largest city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., eds (1996) ''The Social Scienc ...
, 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.


Careers before politics

Between 1992 and 1993, he was employed by GJW Government Relations Ltd, which lobbied on behalf of
Libya Libya (; ar, ليبيا, Lībiyā), officially the State of Libya ( ar, دولة ليبيا, Dawlat Lībiyā), is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa. It is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to Egypt–Libya bo ...
. In 1993, Clegg won the inaugural ''
Financial Times The ''Financial Times'' (''FT'') is a British daily newspaper A newspaper is a Periodical literature, periodical publication containing written News, information about current events and is often typed in black ink with a white or gray ba ...
'' David Thomas Prize, in remembrance of an ''FT'' journalist killed on assignment in
Kuwait Kuwait (; ar, الكويت ', or ), officially the State of Kuwait ( ar, دولة الكويت '), is a country in Western Asia. It is situated in the northern edge of Eastern Arabia at the tip of the Persian Gulf, bordering Iraq to Iraq–Ku ...
in 1991. He was later sent to Hungary, where he wrote articles about the mass privatisation of industries in the former
communist bloc The Eastern Bloc, also known as the Communist Bloc and the Soviet Bloc, was the group of socialist states of Central and Eastern Europe, East Asia, Southeast Asia, Africa, and Latin America under the influence of the Soviet Union that existed du ...
. He took up a post at the
European Commission The European Commission (EC) is the Executive (government), executive of the European Union (EU). It operates as a cabinet government, with 27 European Commissioner, members of the Commission (informally known as "Commissioners") headed by a P ...
in April 1994, working in the TACIS aid programme to the
former Soviet Union The post-Soviet states, also known as the former Soviet Union (FSU), the former Soviet Republics and in Russia as the near abroad (russian: links=no, ближнее зарубежье, blizhneye zarubezhye), are the 15 sovereign states that wer ...
. For two years, Clegg was responsible for developing direct aid programmes in Central Asia and the
Caucasus The Caucasus () or Caucasia (), is a region between the Black Sea and the Caspian Sea, mainly comprising Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia (country), Georgia, and parts of Southern Russia. The Caucasus Mountains, including the Greater Caucasus range ...
worth €50 million. He was involved in negotiations with Russia on airline overflight rights, and launched a conference in
Tashkent Tashkent (, uz, Toshkent, Тошкент/, ) (from russian: Ташкент), or Toshkent (; ), also historically known as Chach is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Uzbekistan, largest city of Uzbekistan. It is the most populous ...
in 1993 that founded TRACECA—an international transport programme for the development of a transport corridor for Europe, the Caucasus and Asia. Vice-President and Trade Commissioner
Leon Brittan Leon Brittan, Baron Brittan of Spennithorne, (25 September 193921 January 2015) was a British Conservative Party (UK), Conservative politician and barrister who served as a European Commissioner from 1989 to 1999. As a member of Parliament (U ...
then offered him a job in his private office, as a European Union policy adviser and speechwriter. As part of this role, Clegg was in charge of the EC negotiating team on Chinese and Russian accession talks to the
World Trade Organization The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an intergovernmental organization Globalization is social change associated with increased connectivity among societies and their elements and the explosive evolution of transportation and telecommunica ...
.


Written publications

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. 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. 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.


Member of the European Parliament (1999–2004)

In 1998, Clegg was selected as the lead Liberal Democrat candidate for the
European Parliament The European Parliament (EP) is one of the Legislature, legislative bodies of the European Union and one of its seven Institutions of the European Union, institutions. Together with the Council of the European Union (known as the Council and in ...
in the
East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, ITL for Statistics, statistical purposes. It comprises the eastern half of the area tradi ...
constituency; the following year,
Paddy Ashdown Jeremy John Durham Ashdown, Baron Ashdown of Norton-sub-Hamdon, (27 February 194122 December 2018), better known as Paddy Ashdown, was a British politician and diplomat who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 1988 to 1999. Internati ...
was first to tip him as a politician to watch. On his election in 1999, he was the first Liberal parliamentarian elected in the
East Midlands The East Midlands is one of nine official regions of England at the ITL 1 statistical regions of England, first level of International Territorial Level, ITL for Statistics, statistical purposes. It comprises the eastern half of the area tradi ...
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 The September 11 attacks against the United States by Al-Qaeda, which Casualties of the September 11 attacks, killed 2,977 people and instigated the global war on terror, were a defining event of 2001. The United States led a Participants in ...
. Clegg helped persuade Conservative MEP Bill Newton Dunn to defect to the Liberal Democrats, with Newton Dunn subsequently succeeding 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). 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. Clegg decided to leave Brussels in 2002, arguing in an article in ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
'' newspaper that the battle to persuade the public of the benefits of Europe was being fought at home, not in Brussels. 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. That same year he chaired a policy working group for the Liberal Democrats on the
Third Age In J. R. R. Tolkien's legendarium, the history of Arda, also called the history of Middle-earth, began when the Ainu (Middle-earth), Ainur entered Arda (Middle-earth), Arda, following the creation events in the Ainulindalë and long ages of l ...
, 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, for four years whilst an MEP, wrote a fortnightly column for ''
Guardian Unlimited TheGuardian.com, formerly known as Guardian.co.uk and ''Guardian Unlimited'', is a British news and media website owned by the Guardian Media Group. It contains nearly all of the content of the newspapers ''The Guardian'' and ''The Observer'', ...
''. One particular article in 2002 accused
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010. He previously served as Chance ...
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 The ''Daily Mail'' is a British daily middle-market tabloid newspaper and news websitePeter Wilb"Paul Dacre of the Daily Mail: The man who hates liberal Britain", ''New Statesman'', 19 December 2013 (online version: 2 January 2014) publis ...
'' 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.


Parliamentary candidate

On leaving the European Parliament, Clegg joined political lobbying firm GPlus in April 2004 as a fifth partner: Clegg worked on GPlus clients including The Hertz Corporation and
British Gas British Gas (trading as Scottish Gas in Scotland Scotland (, ) is a Countries of the United Kingdom, country that is part of the United Kingdom. Covering the northern third of the island of Great Britain, mainland Scotland has a Anglo- ...
. In May 2003, Richard Allan, the then Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam, announced his intention to stand down from the House of Commons. Clegg was selected as the prospective parliamentary candidate. He took up a part-time teaching position in the politics department of the
University of Sheffield The University of Sheffield (informally Sheffield University or TUOS) is a public university, public research university in Sheffield, South Yorkshire, England. Its history traces back to the foundation of Sheffield Medical School in 1828, Firth C ...
, combining it with ongoing EU consultancy work with GPlus. He also gave a series of seminar lectures in the
international relations International relations (IR), sometimes referred to as international studies and international affairs, is the Scientific method, scientific study of interactions between sovereign states. In a broader sense, it concerns all activities betwe ...
Department of the University of Cambridge.


Member of Parliament (2005–2017)

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. 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%). 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 The Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe (TCE; commonly referred to as the European Constitution or as the Constitutional Treaty) was an unratified Ratification is a principal (commercial law), principal's approval of an act of its ...
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 Kennedy on 7 January 2006, Clegg was touted as a possible leadership contender. 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 A ballot is a device used to cast votes in an election and may be found as a piece of paper or a small ball used in secret voting. It was originally a small ball (see blackballing) used to record decisions made by voters in Italy around the 16t ...
. Clegg had been a signatory to the letter circulated by
Vince Cable Sir John Vincent Cable (born 9 May 1943) is a British politician who was Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2017 to 2019. He was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Twickenham (UK Parliament constituency), Twic ...
prior to Kennedy's resignation, which stated his opposition to working under Kennedy's continued leadership.


Liberal Democrats' Home Affairs spokesperson

Following 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", 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".


Sir Menzies Campbell's resignation

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. 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 Kevin Maguire in the ''
New Statesman The ''New Statesman'' is a British Political magazine, political and cultural magazine published in London. Founded as a weekly review of politics and literature on 12 April 1913, it was at first connected with Sidney Webb, Sidney and Beatrice ...
'' that Clegg had failed to hide his disloyalty to Campbell's leadership. Campbell eventually resigned on 15 October 2007, saying that questions about his leadership were "getting in the way of further progress by the party".


Leader of the Liberal Democrats (2007–2015)


Election to the leadership

After Campbell's resignation, 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. On Friday 19 October 2007, Clegg launched his bid to become leader of the Liberal Democrats. Clegg and Huhne clashed in the campaign over
Trident A trident is a three-tine (structural), pronged spear. It is used for spear fishing and historically as a polearm. The trident is the weapon of Poseidon, or Neptune (mythology), Neptune, the God of the Sea in classical mythology. The trident ma ...
but were largely in agreement on many other issues. It was announced on 18 December that he had won. Clegg was appointed to the
Privy Council A privy council is a body that advice (constitutional), advises the head of state of a State (polity), state, typically, but not always, in the context of a monarchy, monarchic government. The word "privy" means "private" or "secret"; thus, a pr ...
(PC) on 30 January 2008, and affirmed his membership on 12 March 2008. 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 sa 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 BBC Radio 5 Live is a British national radio station owned and operated by the BBC that broadcasts mainly news, sport, discussion, interviews and phone-ins. It is the principal BBC radio station Broadcasting of sports events, covering sport in ...
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." He resigned as the leader of the Liberal Democrats after the 2015 general election. He said the results were "immeasurably more crushing and unkind than he feared". He was succeeded by
Tim Farron Timothy James Farron (born 27 May 1970) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2015 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2015 to 2017 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017. He has also served as Member ...
after a leadership election.


''GQ'' magazine interview controversy

In March 2008, '' GQ'' magazine ran with an interview conducted by
Piers Morgan Piers Stefan Pughe-Morgan (; né O'Meara; born 30 March 1965) is a British broadcaster, journalist, writer, and television personality. He began his Fleet Street career in 1988 at '' The Sun''. In 1994, aged 29, he was appointed editor of th ...
in which Clegg admitted to sleeping with "no more than 30" women. 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".


Relationships with the frontbench

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. On 5 March 2008, Clegg suffered a real test following the resignation of three of his front bench team. David Heath, Alistair Carmichael and
Tim Farron Timothy James Farron (born 27 May 1970) is a British politician who served as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2015 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2015 to 2017 Liberal Democrats leadership election, 2017. He has also served as Member ...
had been told to abstain in the vote for a referendum on the
Lisbon Treaty The Treaty of Lisbon (initially known as the Reform Treaty) is an international agreement that amends the two treaties A treaty is a formal, legally binding written agreement between actors in international law. It is usually made by a ...
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." The resignations happened not long after Michael Martin, the Speaker of the House of Commons, had on 26 February 2008 blocked calls by the Liberal Democrats for an "in or out" referendum on Britain's EU membership. 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 earlier, 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. In November 2008, Clegg suffered more allegations of difficulties with the front bench following an article in the ''
Daily Mirror The ''Daily Mirror'' is a British national daily Tabloid journalism, tabloid. Founded in 1903, it is owned by parent company Reach plc. From 1985 to 1987, and from 1997 to 2002, the title on its Masthead (British publishing), masthead was simpl ...
'' that reported that Clegg had criticised senior members of his front bench whilst on a plane journey. He told the BBC's Politics Show that "a lot of it is, frankly, fiction".


Attitudes to other parties

In the Commons, Clegg initially concentrated most of his fire on Labour and Prime Minister
Gordon Brown James Gordon Brown (born 20 February 1951) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Labour Party (UK), Leader of the Labour Party from 2007 to 2010. He previously served as Chance ...
, but in the autumn of 2009 began also focusing on Cameron and the Conservatives. 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. 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 David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
's Conservatives, and real change the Liberal Democrats offer".


Parliamentary expenses

Clegg became the first party leader in modern political history to call for a Speaker of the House of Commons to resign, describing then-Speaker Michael Martin, following his handling of the expenses scandal, as a defender of the status quo and an 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 ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
''. 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 Recall may refer to: * Recall (bugle call), a signal to stop * Recall (information retrieval), a statistical measure * ReCALL (journal), ''ReCALL'' (journal), an academic journal about computer-assisted language learning * Recall (memory) * Recal ...
members suspended for misconduct;
House of Lords The House of Lords, also known as the House of Peers, is the Bicameralism, upper house of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. Membership is by Life peer, appointment, Hereditary peer, heredity or Lords Spiritual, official function. Like the ...
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. Shortly ahead of the election, Clegg was asked about his own expenses by Andrew Neil of the BBC. Clegg allegedly claimed the full amount permissible under the Additional Cost Allowance, including claims for food, gardening and redecorating his second home. ''The Telegraph'' also said Clegg claimed £80 for international call charges, a claim he said he would repay.


Perspective

Clegg aimed to modernise the Liberal Democrat Party at the same time as maintaining its traditions of political and philosophical
liberalism Liberalism is a Political philosophy, political and moral philosophy based on the Individual rights, rights of the individual, liberty, consent of the governed, political equality and equality before the law."political rationalism, hostilit ...
. In 2011, he told a party conference that the Liberal Democrats were radical centrist in orientation: "Our opponents try to divide us with their outdated labels of left and right. But we are not on the left and we are not on the right. We have our own label: Liberal. We are liberals and we own the freehold to the centre ground of British politics. Our politics is the politics of the radical centre."


Policies

When he became leader of the Liberal Democrats, Clegg called for more choice for patients on waiting lists in the
National Health Service The National Health Service (NHS) is the umbrella term for the publicly funded health care, publicly funded healthcare systems of the United Kingdom (UK). Since 1948, they have been funded out of general taxation. There are three systems which ...
(NHS), giving them the option to go private and to be funded by the NHS if they wish; a substantial tax cut to "put more money back into the pockets of people", better action on the environment, the abandonment of Britain's Trident missile-defence system, fixed-term parliaments; devolving more power to local councils; giving constituents the power to force a by-election if their MP was found responsible for serious wrongdoing; and a slimming of government across the board. Clegg campaigned to cut spending on defence projects such as
Eurofighter The Eurofighter Typhoon is a European multinational twinjet, twin-engine, canard (aeronautics), canard delta wing, multirole combat aircraft, multirole fighter. The Typhoon was designed originally as an air-superiority fighter and is manufactu ...
as well as the
UK Trident programme Trident, also known as the Trident nuclear programme or Trident nuclear deterrent, covers the development, procurement and operation of Nuclear weapons and the United Kingdom, nuclear weapons in the United Kingdom and their means of delivery. It ...
. 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".


Gurkha campaign

On 29 April 2009 the Liberal Democrats proposed in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
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 Jacqueline Jill Smith (born 3 November 1962) is a British broadcaster, political commentator and former Labour Party (UK), Labour Party politician. She was Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), Member of Parliament (MP) for Redditch (UK Parli ...
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 Dame Joanna Lamond Lumley (born 1 May 1946) is an English actress, presenter, former model, author, television producer, and activist. She has won two British Academy Television Award, BAFTA TV Awards for her role as Patsy Stone in the BBC si ...
, who had highlighted the treatment of the Gurkhas and campaigned for their rights, commented: "This is the welcome we have always longed to give".


Deputy Prime Minister (2010–2015)

Clegg became
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The deputy prime minister of the United Kingdom is a minister of the Crown and a member of the British Cabinet. The office is not always in use, and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, prime ministers may use other offices, such as First Sec ...
and Lord President of the Council on 11 May 2010 through a coalition with the Conservative Party under Prime Minister
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
. He was also made Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform, which was a key point for the Liberal Democrats during the creation of the coalition.


Coalition Agreement

The morning after the 2010 general election presented the country with no single political party able to form a government that would command a majority in the
House of Commons The House of Commons is the name for the elected lower house of the bicameral parliaments of the United Kingdom and Canada. In both of these countries, the Commons holds much more legislative power than the nominally upper house of parliament. T ...
, since the February 1974 general election with the Labour Party led by
Harold Wilson James Harold Wilson, Baron Wilson of Rievaulx, (11 March 1916 – 24 May 1995) was a British politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from October 1964 to June 1970, and again from March 1974 to April 1976. He ...
falling short of a majority. In light of this reality the Conservative leader,
David Cameron David William Donald Cameron (born 9 October 1966) is a British former politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2016 and Leader of the Conservative Party (UK), Leader of the Conservative Party from 2005 to ...
, went public and gave a "big, open and comprehensive offer" to the Liberal Democrats' leader and said that he wanted to open up negotiations with them to form Britain's first
coalition government A coalition government is a form of government in which political parties cooperate to form a government. The usual reason for such an arrangement is that no single party has achieved an absolute majority after an election, an atypical outcome in ...
since
Winston Churchill Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill (30 November 187424 January 1965) was a British statesman, soldier, and writer who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom twice, from 1940 to 1945 Winston Churchill in the Second World War, dur ...
's war ministry during the Second World War. In reply, 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." 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 PM and Lord President of the Council. The initial agreement was published on 12 May 2010. It consisted of a seven-page document, in 11 sections. In the foreword, it stated "These are the issues that needed to be resolved between us in order for us to work together as a strong and stable government". Of the 57 Liberal Democrat MPs, only two ( Charles Kennedy and John Leech) refused to support the Conservative Coalition agreement.


Plans for electoral reform


Parliamentary Voting System and Constituencies Bill

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. 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 the Labour party attacked as
gerrymandering In representative democracies, gerrymandering (, originally ) is the political manipulation of Boundary delimitation, electoral district boundaries with the intent to create undue advantage for a party, group, or socioeconomic class within t ...
, 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". The question required a yes or no answer. The Act received Royal Assent on 16 February 2011. The result of the
referendum A referendum (plural: referendums or less commonly referenda) is a Direct democracy, direct vote by the Constituency, electorate on a proposal, law, or political issue. This is in contrast to an issue being voted on by a Representative democr ...
was that the alternative vote proposal was defeated by a margin of 2:1.


Fixed-term Parliaments Bill

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. 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.


Prime Minister's Questions

On 21 July 2010, Clegg became the first Liberal Democrat leader to answer for
Prime minister's questions Prime Minister's Questions (PMQs, officially known as Questions to the Prime Minister, while colloquially known as Prime Minister's Question Time) is a constitutional convention (political custom), constitutional convention in the United Kingdo ...
. He courted controversy during the exchange when at the despatch box he attacked Shadow Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Lord Chancellor
Jack Straw John Whitaker Straw (born 3 August 1946) is a British politician who served in the Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the Labour governments of Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician ...
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 The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a United States-led invasion of the Ba'athist Iraq, Republic of Iraq and the first stage of the Iraq War. The invasion phase began on 19 March 2003 (air) and 20 March 2003 (ground) and lasted just over one mont ...
." 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. Clegg next stepped in for Prime Minister's Questions on 8 September 2010 following the news that Cameron's father was very ill. Standing in for the Labour deputy leader Harriet Harman,
Jack Straw John Whitaker Straw (born 3 August 1946) is a British politician who served in the Cabinet from 1997 to 2010 under the Labour governments of Tony Blair Sir Anthony Charles Lynton Blair (born 6 May 1953) is a British former politician ...
challenged Clegg on the allegations of phone hacking against Downing Street's director of communications Andy Coulson. Responding, Clegg said that the allegations dating from Coulson's time at the ''News of the World phone hacking affair, News of the World'' were a matter for the police to investigate. 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. 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 Labour as the party of students when the party had previously campaigned against fees only to end up introducing them.


Tuition fees

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 wrote to his MPs saying that he had "struggled endlessly" with the issue and said that departing from the pledge he had made prior to the election would be "one of the most difficult decisions of my political career". Defending recommendations of the review, Clegg said that poorer students would pay less since the income level at which students needed to earn before beginning to pay off their student loan would rise from £15,000 to £21,000. 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. 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". The apology was Nick Clegg Says I'm Sorry (The Autotune Remix), parodied in a song.


Fairness premium

On 14 October 2010, Clegg delivered a speech at a school in Chesterfield, Derbyshire, 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. Clegg claimed that the funds for the scheme would be "additional" to the current education budget and this view was backed up by a 10 Downing Street, 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".


Bank shares

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. 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 (British politician), 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. A source said Mr Osborne was "happy to listen to ideas" but the "issue doesn't currently arise".


House of Lords reform

In August 2012, after House of Lords Reform Bill 2012, 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. The row marked one of the most serious crises for the Coalition since the 2010 general election. Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport, 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. 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. 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 the Member of Parliament for Bolsover (UK Parliament constituency), Bolsover Dennis Skinner, from the Labour Party, 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."


Opposition (2015–2017)

Clegg retained his Sheffield Hallam seat in the 2015 election, despite a strong campaign from Labour with a 17% swing in the vote. Clegg campaigned for Remain in the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, as did all other Liberal Democrat MPs, and became the Lib Dem spokesperson for Department for Exiting the European Union, Exiting the European Union and Department for International Trade, International Trade.


Electoral performance and standing in the polls


Standing in the polls

After Clegg became leader, the polls were mixed; the Liberal Democrats occasionally polled above 20 points, averaging around 19%. In May 2009, the party overtook Labour in an opinion poll (25%–22%) for the first time since the days of its predecessor, the SDP–Liberal Alliance, in 1987. Clegg thus became the first Liberal Democrat leader to out-poll Labour in an opinion poll. After Clegg's performance in the first of three 2010 United Kingdom general election debates, general election debates on 15 April 2010, there was an unprecedented surge of media attention and support for the Liberal Democrats in opinion polls. 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 Wikt:Cleggmania, "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 Tuition fees (UK), funding of higher education, an opinion poll conducted by YouGov recorded voting intention figures of Conservatives 41%, Labour Party (UK), Labour 41%, List of political parties in the United Kingdom, other parties 11% and Liberal Democrats 8%, the lowest level of support recorded for the Liberal Democrats in any opinion poll since September 1990.


Parliamentary by-elections (2008–2010)

Five parliamentary by-elections were held during Clegg's leadership prior to the 2010 general election. At Crewe and Nantwich the party's share of the vote decreased by 4%. In the subsequent 2008 Henley by-election, Henley by-election the party achieved a 1.8% increase in their vote. At the 2009 Norwich North by-election, Norwich North by-election the party came third with a 2.2% fall in their vote share. The two Scottish by-elections, 2008 Glenrothes by-election, Glenrothes and 2008 Glasgow East by-election, Glasgow East, saw decreases in the Liberal Democrat vote, 8% and 10% respectively.


2008 and 2009 local elections

The local election results for the Liberal Democrats during the same period were mixed. In the 2008 United Kingdom local elections, 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%. 2009 United Kingdom local elections, 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 2009 European Parliament election in the United Kingdom, 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 United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP.


2008 London elections

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 2008 London mayoral election, mayoral election the Liberal Democrat candidate Brian Paddick came third again with a decreased share of the vote.


2010 general election

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 United Kingdom general election, February 1974. Talks between Cameron, the Conservative Party leader, and Clegg led to an agreed Conservative/Liberal Democrat coalition, enabling Elizabeth II, the Queen to invite Cameron to form a government.


Parliamentary by-elections (2010 onwards)

Since the 2010 general election, Clegg's Liberal Democrats have contested 13 by-elections in Great Britain (as of 2 March 2013). The party scored their first by-election win of Clegg's leadership at 2013 Eastleigh by-election, Eastleigh in 2013, with Mike Thornton (politician), Mike Thornton holding the seat for the Liberal Democrats, despite a 19% swing away from the party. 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 2011 Oldham East and Saddleworth by-election, 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 2011 Leicester South by-election, Leicester South (which they had held between 2004 Leicester South by-election, 2004 and 2005 United Kingdom general election, 2005) in May 2011 with 23% (down 4% on 2010), and at 2012 Manchester Central by-election, 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 2013 Rotherham by-election, 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.


2011 local, Scottish and Welsh elections

A year following the formation of the Coalition Clegg's Liberal Democrats faced poor results in the local elections. In 2011 Scottish Parliament election, Scotland the party lost all its mainland constituency seats, holding only the Shetland (Scottish Parliament constituency), Shetland and Orkney (Scottish Parliament constituency), Orkney islands. Their constituency vote share also fell from 16% to just 8% In the 2011 National Assembly for Wales election, Welsh elections the party held just one of its 3 constituency seats, that of Welsh leader Kirsty Williams, but gained South Wales Central (National Assembly for Wales electoral region), a regional seat. In the 2011 United Kingdom local elections, 2011 local elections, the Lib Dems lost over 700 councillors, and slumped from 25% to 17% in the share of the local council vote, also losing control of Sheffield City Council with the LibDems dropping to the lowest number of councillors in more than 20 years. In the 2011 United Kingdom Alternative Vote referendum, AV referendum, the Yes vote, supported by the Liberal Democrats, was defeated by 67.9% to 32.1%. In the face of the election results, Clegg told the BBC that Liberal Democrats must "get up, dust ourselves down and move on".


2012 local and London elections

Local elections were held in May 2012 to 185 local authorities in Great Britain, including all 32 councils in Scotland and 21 out of 22 in Wales. Results again proved poor for the Liberal Democrats, as they won 431 seats in total, a loss of over 300 on the pre-election position. They also lost overall control of one council (Cambridge City Council, Cambridge, though the Liberal Democrats hold 21 out of 42 seats, so they exercise control with the mayor's casting vote). They retained control of the other six councils they were defending in England. Despite the losses, the Liberal Democrat vote share saw a modest increase compared to 2011. Elections were also held for the Mayoralties of City of Salford, Salford and Liverpool City Council, Liverpool. Liberal Democrat candidates polled 5% and 6% respectively, with Labour winning both contests. In London, elections were held to the 2012 London Assembly election, London Assembly and 2012 London mayoral election, Mayoralty. The Liberal Democrats again selected Brian Paddick as their Mayoral candidate. He polled just 4% of the vote (down from 10% in 2008 London mayoral election, 2008), and finished fourth behind the Green Party of England and Wales, Green Party. In the Assembly, the Liberal Democrats also finished behind the Greens across London, and failed to win any of the individual constituency seats. They polled 7% of the vote on the London-wide list (which elects "top-up" candidates to the assembly under a form of proportional representation), which represented a decline of 5% on the previous contest. This meant that the party lost one seat, and was reduced to just two assembly seats, their smallest representation since the formation of the assembly in 2000. In the aftermath of the results, Clegg again faced calls to quit as leader, with former MP Lembit Öpik suggesting that Clegg retain his Cabinet position while relinquishing leadership of the party, saying "My empirical view is that we would have done better with a different leader".


2012 Police and Crime Commissioner elections

As part of the Coalition Agreement, directly elected Police and Crime Commissioners were introduced to replace Police authority, Police Authorities. 2012 England and Wales police and crime commissioner elections, Elections to the new posts took place in November 2012. Liberal Democrats contested 24 of the 41 police force areas, and failed to win any of the contests (and in fact never progressed to the second round of the two-stage count in any of the elections they fought). Their best performance was in Cumbria Constabulary, Cumbria, where they polled 22%, while their worst was Surrey Constabulary, Surrey where the took just 6% of the vote. Despite not winning any contests under their official party label, one Liberal Democrat, Winston Roddick was elected as Police and Crime Commissioner for North Wales Police, North Wales having stood as an Independent. Roddick claimed that he had never hidden his party membership and that his campaign was "financed by himself with no donations or backing from any political party and he was an independent candidate in every sense of the word". His campaign also dismissed as "sour grapes" claims from the Labour Party that "the only way in which the Lib Dems thought they could win the election was by presenting themselves as independent."


2015 and 2017 general elections

In the 2015 general election, the Liberal Democrats were reduced from 57 seats to 8. Clegg held his Sheffield Hallam seat with a reduced majority. After his party's result, he resigned the party leadership the day after the election. In the 2017 general election, Clegg lost to Labour candidate Jared O'Mara by a margin of 2,125 votes (4.2%).


Career after Parliament


Brexit

In October 2017, Clegg wrote ''How To Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again)'', which made the case that Brexit was not inevitable. In May 2018, he joined David Miliband and Nicky Morgan calling for a soft Brexit. The next month he appeared at a People's Vote march in London to mark the second anniversary of the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum, EU referendum of 2016. People's Vote was a campaign group calling for a public vote on the final Brexit deal between Britain and the European Union, EU. In July 2019, Clegg said that "aggressive and regressive English nationalism" had taken over the Conservative Party in their competition with Nigel Farage, the leader of the Brexit Party established in November 2018. When asked how he expected the next few years to unfold, Clegg told the ''
New Statesman The ''New Statesman'' is a British Political magazine, political and cultural magazine published in London. Founded as a weekly review of politics and literature on 12 April 1913, it was at first connected with Sidney Webb, Sidney and Beatrice ...
'' that "the clock is now ticking for the end of the union of the United Kingdom".


Broadcasting and media

Since January 2013 Clegg has presented a weekly radio show on LBC called ''Call Clegg''. Initially broadcast in the London area, the programme went national along with LBC in February 2014. The programme was nominated for two Radio Academy Awards in 2014. Since April 2018, Clegg has fronted a podcast called ''Anger Management with Nick Clegg'', in which he interviews known persons about the politics of anger. Since the first episode, it has been featured in ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
'' under Podcast of the Week. A party political broadcast in which Clegg apologised for the Liberal Democrats breaking the promise over tuition fees was remixed into a song, "Nick Clegg Says I'm Sorry (The Autotune Remix), Nick Clegg Says I'm Sorry" by The Poke and Alex Ross, and sold on iTunes as a charity single. The song charted on 23 September 2012 at number 143 in the UK Singles Charts, Official UK Singles Charts before climbing to 104 the following week. 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 (The Police song), Roxanne".


Facebook

In June 2018, vice-president of global affairs and communications at Facebook, Inc. Elliot Schrage announced he would be resigning his position. After talks with the Facebook leadership and Richard Allan, Baron Allan of Hallam, Facebook's Director of Policy in Europe and the Liberal Democrat MP for Sheffield Hallam before Clegg, in October 2018 it was announced that Clegg had been hired as a lobbyist and public relations officer, replacing Schrage as Vice-President, Global Affairs and Communications. He joined Facebook because he was "convinced that the culture is changing" and that "lawmakers need to have a serious conversation about whether data-intensive companies allow other companies to share and use data". He admitted that the Facebook–Cambridge Analytica data scandal, Cambridge Analytica data scandal had "rocked Facebook to its very foundations" and told the BBC that the company "hadn't done enough in the past" in regards to data privacy. In April 2019, Clegg was accused by Věra Jourová, European Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality, in a letter signed by a number of senior EU civil servants, of misunderstanding EU law, stating that proposed new Facebook guidelines on political advertising would "hinder the exercise of EU electoral rights." In May 2019, he rejected calls by American presidential candidates Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris, as well as Facebook co-founder Chris Hughes to Competition law, break Facebook up, saying that Facebook was "a great American success story" and that "I don't think it's a very American tradition to start penalizing success." In June 2019, Clegg said there was "absolutely no evidence" that Russia had influenced the outcome of the EU referendum using Facebook. He said that the company was working towards greater regulation of technology firms. In October 2019, Damian Collins, chair of the British House of Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, formally asked Clegg to explain why Facebook had exempted political statements from fact-checking guidelines. In 2020, Clegg helped lead the creation of the Facebook Oversight Board, which reported to him, convincing former Danish Prime Minister and former
College of Europe The College of Europe (french: Collège d'Europe) is a post-graduate institute of European studies with its main campus in Bruges Bruges ( , nl, Brugge ) is the capital and largest city A city is a human settlement of notable siz ...
 friend Helle Thorning-Schmidt to serve as its co-chair. He then played a role in Facebook's Donald Trump on social media#Facebook, deplatforming of U.S. President Donald Trump in mid-2021. Ahead of the release of the whistleblown Facebook Files in October 2021, Clegg authored an internal memo saying that there was no evidence Facebook was a main cause in polarisation and that the company does not "profit from polarization, in fact, just the opposite." He later posted a public statement saying that the reporting on the Files "conferred egregiously false motives to Facebook's leadership and employees," saying that it was "just plain false" that Facebook ignored its own internal research. After the release of the Files, he then made a number of public interviews defending the company. In one of the interviews, he stated that "I can't give you a yes or no answer" when asked if Facebook played a role in amplifying extremist content ahead of the 2021 United States Capitol attack. Clegg faced criticism for his role in defending the company, with ''
The Guardian ''The Guardian'' is a British daily newspaper. It was founded in 1821 as ''The Manchester Guardian'', and changed its name in 1959. Along with its sister papers ''The Observer'' and ''The Guardian Weekly'', ''The Guardian'' is part of the Gu ...
'' journalist John Harris (critic), John Harris dubbing him "the fall guy for Facebook's failures". In February 2022, Clegg was promoted to president of global affairs.


Personal life

In September 2000, Clegg married Miriam González Durántez, from Valladolid, Spain. 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. 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 Elizabeth II, Her Majesty the Queen. Clegg identifies as a feminist. Clegg lives in Atherton, California, having previously lived in Parkfields, Putney, south west London. He also has a house in his former constituency close to the Peak District, and often walked with his wife near Stanage Edge, which he describes as "one of the most romantic places in the world". In May 2010 Downing Street announced that Clegg and the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Foreign Secretary William Hague would share use of Chevening, which is typically the official country residence of the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom. In August 2022, Clegg announced he was returning to live in London for personal reasons, including being closer to elderly parents, dividing his working time between London and California. When he appeared on ''Desert Island Discs'' in October 2010, his choice of discs included Johnny Cash, Prince (musician), Prince and Radiohead and his luxury was a "stash of cigarettes". 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". He supports Arsenal F.C.


Honours

Clegg was appointed a Knight Bachelor in the 2018 New Year Honours for political and public service.


In popular culture

Clegg was portrayed by Bertie Carvel in the 2015 Channel 4 television film Coalition (film), ''Coalition''.


Ancestry


Styles

*Mr Nicholas William Peter Clegg (1967–1999) *Mr Nicholas William Peter Clegg Member of the European Parliament, MEP (1999–2004) *Mr Nicholas William Peter Clegg (2004–2005) *Mr Nicholas William Peter Clegg Member of Parliament (United Kingdom), MP (2005–2010) *The The Right Honourable, Right Honourable Nicholas William Peter Clegg MP (2010–2017) *The Right Honourable Nicholas William Peter Clegg (2017–2018) *The Right Honourable Sir Nicholas William Peter Clegg (2018–present)


Notes


References


Further reading


Books by Nick Clegg

* Clegg, Nick (2000). ''Doing Less to Do More: A New Focus for the EU''. Centre for European Reform.
Extract
* Brack, Duncan and Clegg, Nick (2001). ''Trading for the Future: Reforming the WTO''. Centre for Reform. . * Clegg, Nick (2002). "Restoring Legitimacy: Parliaments and the EU" in Ulrike Rüb (ed.) ''European governance: views from the UK on democracy, participation and policy-making in the EU'', pp31–44. The Federal Trust for Education and Research. . * Grayson, Richard and Clegg, Nick (2002). ''Learning from Europe: lessons in education''. * Clegg, Nick (2009)
''The Liberal Moment''
Demos (UK think tank), Demos. . * Alexander, Danny with foreword by Clegg Nick (2010), ''Why Vote Liberal Democrat?''. Biteback. . * Clegg, Nick (ed.) (2010). ''Change That Works for You: Liberal Democrat General Election Manifesto 2010: Building a Fairer Britain''. Liberal Democrat Publications. . * Clegg, Nick (2016). ''Politics: Between the Extremes''. The Bodley Head. * Clegg, Nick (2017). ''How To Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again)''. The Bodley Head. .


Books about Nick Clegg

* (2011) ''Nick Clegg: The Biography'' by Chris Bowers * (2011) ''The Clegg Coup: Britain's First Coalition Government Since Lloyd George'' by Jasper Gerard * (2011) ''The Cameron-Clegg Government: Coalition Politics in an Age of Austerity'' by Simon Lee and Matt Beech * (2011) ''Dave and Nick: The Year of the Honeymoon'' by Ann Treneman


External links

*
Nick Clegg , Politics , The GuardianNick Clegg , New Statesman
, - , - , - , - , - , - {{DEFAULTSORT:Clegg, Nick Nick Clegg, 1967 births Living people People educated at Westminster School, London Academics of the University of Sheffield Alumni of Robinson College, Cambridge British agnostics British expatriates in the United States British feminists British lobbyists British people of Dutch descent British people of German descent British people of German-Russian descent British people of Russian descent British people of Ukrainian descent Centrism in the United Kingdom College of Europe alumni Deputy Prime Ministers of the United Kingdom Leaders of the Liberal Democrats (UK) Liberal Democrats (UK) MEPs Liberal Democrats (UK) MPs for English constituencies Male feminists Members of the Privy Council of the United Kingdom MEPs for England 1999–2004 People from Chalfont St Giles People from Putney Politics of Sheffield Radical centrist writers UK MPs 2005–2010 UK MPs 2010–2015 UK MPs 2015–2017 University of Minnesota alumni Knights Bachelor Lord Presidents of the Council Facebook employees