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Member of Parliament
for Sheffield HallamIn office
5 May 2005 – 3 May 2017Preceded byRichard AllanSucceeded byJared O'MaraMember of the European Parliament
for East MidlandsSir Nicholas William Peter Clegg (born 7 January 1967) is a British media executive and former politician who served as Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from 2010 to 2015 and as Leader of the Liberal Democrats from 2007 to 2015.[2] Clegg served as Member of Parliament (MP) for Sheffield Hallam from 2005 to 2017. An "Orange Book" liberal,[3] he has been associated with both socially liberal and economically liberal policies.[4][5] Since 2018, he has been Vice-President for Global Affairs and Communications at Facebook.[6][7]

Born in Buckinghamshire, Clegg was educated at the University of Cambridge, the University of Minnesota, and the College of Europe. He served as a journalist for the Financial Times before becoming a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 1999.[8] After his election to the House of Commons 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 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.[9] 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.[10]

During the party's time in coalition, the Liberal Democrats saw a significant drop in support,[11] 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.[12][13] In 2016, following a referendum in which a majority supported leaving the European Union, 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.[14]

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 CBE, chairman of United Trust Bank[15] and a former trustee of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation[16] (where Ken Clarke was an adviser).[17]

Clegg is of one-quarter Baltic-German descent: his paternal grandmother, Baroness Kira von Engelhardt, of Smolensk, was a Baltic-German noblewoman, niece of Moura Budberg, adventuress and suspected double agent,[18] and the granddaughter of attorney general of the Imperial Russian Senate, Ignatiy Platonovich Zakrevsky.[19][20] Through this Russian connection, Clegg is distantly related to Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2008 to 2011.[21]

His English grandfather was Hugh Anthony Clegg, editor of the British Medical Journal for 35 years.[22]

Clegg's mother is Dutch[23] and 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,[22] and they married on 1 August 1959.

Clegg is multilingual: he speaks English, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish.[24][25][26] 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."[27] His Dutch mother instilled in him "a degree of scepticism about the entrenched class configurations in British society".[28] He has said of languages that "The danger is that we [in the UK] can afford to be lazy about languages, because they all want to speak English – English is the most useful, the global language bar none. But I don't think we should allow that luxury to be a sort of alibi not to learn languages."[citation needed]

Education

Buckinghamshire, Clegg was educated at the University of Cambridge, the University of Minnesota, and the College of Europe. He served as a journalist for the Financial Times before becoming a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) in 1999.[8] After his election to the House of Commons 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 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.[9] 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.[10]

During the party's time in coalition, the Liberal Democrats saw a significant drop in support,[11] 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.[12][13] In 2016, following a referendum in which a majority supported leaving the European Union, 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.[14]

Clegg was born in Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, the third of four children of Hermance van den Wall Bake and Nicholas Peter Clegg CBE, chairman of United Trust Bank[15] and a former trustee of the Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation[16] (where Ken Clarke was an adviser).[17]

Clegg is of one-quarter Baltic-German descent: his paternal grandmother, Baroness Kira von Engelhardt, of Smolensk, was a Baltic-German noblewoman, niece of Moura Budberg, adventuress and suspected double agent,[18] and the granddaughter of attorney general of the Imperial Russian Senate, Ignatiy Platonovich Zakrevsky.[19][20] Through this Russian connection, Clegg is distantly related to Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2008 to 2011.[21]

His English grandfather was Hugh Anthony Clegg, editor of the British Medical Journal for 35 years.[22]

Clegg's mother is Dutch[23] and 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,[22] and they married on 1 August 1959.

Clegg is multilingual: he speaks English, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish.[24][25][26] 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."[27] His Dutch mother instilled in him "a degree of scepticism about the entrenched class configurations in British society".[28] He has said of languages that "The danger is that we [in the UK] can afford to be lazy about languages, because they all want to speak English – English is the most useful, the global language bar none. But I don't think we should allow that luxury to be a sort of alibi not to learn languages."[citation needed]

Education

Westminster School

Clegg was educated at two independent schools: at Caldicott School in Farnham Royal in South Buckinghamshire, where he was joint Head Prefect in 1980,[29][30] and later at Westminster School in Central London. 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".[31] When news of the incident was reported during his time as Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Clegg said he was "not proud" of it.[32] He was arrested and not formally charged, but performed a kind of community service.[33][5]

He spent a gap year working as a skiing instructor in Austria, before going on to Cambridge in 1986, where he studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Robinson College.[34] He was active in the student theatre at Cambridge, acting in a production of The Normal Heart under director Sam Mendes.[34][35][36] He was also captain of his college's tennis team, and campaigned for the human rights organisation Survival International.[37] Clegg spent the summer of 1989 as an office junior in Postipankki bank in Helsinki.[38]

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 ... [he] is listed in the 'Robinson College Record', under 'Freshmen 1986'.[39][40][41][42] He graduated w

Clegg is of one-quarter Baltic-German descent: his paternal grandmother, Baroness Kira von Engelhardt, of Smolensk, was a Baltic-German noblewoman, niece of Moura Budberg, adventuress and suspected double agent,[18] and the granddaughter of attorney general of the Imperial Russian Senate, Ignatiy Platonovich Zakrevsky.[19][20] Through this Russian connection, Clegg is distantly related to Michael Ignatieff, leader of the Liberal Party of Canada from 2008 to 2011.[21]

His English grandfather was Hugh Anthony Clegg, editor of the British Medical Journal for 35 years.[22]

Clegg's mother is Dutch[23] and 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,[22] and they married on 1 August 1959.

Clegg is multilingual: he speaks English, French, Dutch, German, and Spanish.[24][25][26] 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."[27] His Dutch mother instilled in him "a degree of scepticism about the entrenched class configurations in British society".[28] He has said of languages that "The danger is that we [in the UK] can afford to be lazy about languages, because they all want to speak English – English is the most useful, the global language bar none. But I don't think we should allow that luxury to be a sort of alibi not to learn languages."[citation needed]

Clegg was educated at two independent schools: at Caldicott School in Farnham Royal in South Buckinghamshire, where he was joint Head Prefect in 1980,[29][30] and later at Westminster School in Central London. 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".[31] When news of the incident was reported during his time as Liberal Democrat home affairs spokesman, Clegg said he was "not proud" of it.[32] He was arrested and not formally charged, but performed a kind of community service.[33][5]

He spent a gap year working as a skiing instructor in Austria, before going on to Cambridge in 1986, where he studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Robinson College.[34] He was active in the student theatre at Cambridge, acting in a production of The Normal Heart under director Sam Mendes.[34]He spent a gap year working as a skiing instructor in Austria, before going on to Cambridge in 1986, where he studied Archaeology and Anthropology at Robinson College.[34] He was active in the student theatre at Cambridge, acting in a production of The Normal Heart under director Sam Mendes.[34][35][36] He was also captain of his college's tennis team, and campaigned for the human rights organisation Survival International.[37] Clegg spent the summer of 1989 as an office junior in Postipankki bank in Helsinki.[38]

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 ... [he] is listed in the 'Robinson College Record', under 'Freshmen 1986'.[39][40][41][42] He graduated with an upper second class honours (2:1) degree in social anthropology.[43]

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.[44][45]

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.[36] Nick Clegg is an alumnus of the "Mozart Promotion" (1991–92) of the College of Europe.[46]

Between 1992 and 1993, he was employed by GJW Government Relations Ltd, which lobbied on behalf of Libya.[47][48]

In 1993, Clegg won the inaugural F

In 1993, Clegg won the inaugural Financial Times' David Thomas Prize, in remembrance of an FT journalist killed on assignment in Kuwait in 1991. He was later sent to Hungary, where he wrote articles about the mass privatisation of industries in the former communist bloc.[36]

He took up a post at the European Commission in April 1994, working in the TACIS aid programme to the former Soviet Union. For two years, Clegg was responsible for developing direct aid programmes in Central Asia and the Caucasus worth €50 million. 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. Vice-President and Trade Commissioner Leon Brittan 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.[36]

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 devolut

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.[3] 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.

In 1998, Clegg was selected as the lead Liberal Democrat candidate for the European Parliament in the East Midlands constituency; the following year, Paddy Ashdown was first to tip him as a politician to watch.[49] On his election in 1999, he was the first Liberal parliamentarian elected in the East Midlands since Ernest Pickering was elected MP for Leicester West in 1931, and was credited with helping to significantly boost the Liberal Democrat poll rating in the region in the six months after his election. Clegg worked extensively during his time as an MEP to support the party in the region, not least in Chesterfield where Paul Holmes was elected as MP in 2001. 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.[50]

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.[51] He was made Trade and Industry spokesman for the European Liberal Democrat and Reform group (ELDR).[52] 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.[53] 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.[54]

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.[55] That same year he 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.

Clegg, for four years whilst an MEP, 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".[56] 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.[57]

On leaving the European Parliament, Clegg joined political lobbying firm GPlus in April 2004 as a fifth partner:[58]