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The Right Honourable
Nicholas Clegg
MP
Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 May 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by John Prescott[a]
Lord President of the Council
Incumbent
Assumed office
11 May 2010
Prime Minister David Cameron
Preceded by The Lord Mandelson
Leader of the Liberal Democrats
Incumbent
Assumed office
18 December 2007
Deputy Vince Cable
Simon Hughes
Malcolm Bruce
Preceded by Vince Cable (Acting)
Liberal Democrat Home Affairs Spokesman
In office
2 March 2006 – 18 December 2007
Leader Menzies Campbell
Preceded by Mark Oaten
Succeeded by Chris Huhne
Member of Parliament
for Sheffield Hallam
Incumbent
Assumed office
5 May 2005
Preceded by Richard Allan
Member of the European Parliament
for East Midlands
In office
10 June 1999 – 10 June 2004
Preceded by Constituency established
Succeeded by Bill Newton-Dunn
Majority 15,284 (29.9%)
Personal details
Born Nicholas William Peter Clegg
7 January 1967 (1967-01-07) (age 52)
Chalfont St Giles, Buckinghamshire, England
Political party Liberal Democrats
Spouse(s) Miriam González Durántez (m. 2000–present)
Children Antonio, Alberto, Miguel
Alma mater Robinson College, Cambridge
University of Minnesota, Twin Cities
College of Europe
Religion None (atheist)[1][2][3]
Website Official website
a. ^ Office vacant from 27 June 2007 – 11 May 2010

Nicholas William Peter "Nick" Clegg (born 7 January 1967) is a British politician and the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom[4] in the Conservative-Liberal Democrat coalition government and is also the leader of the Liberal Democrats.[5] He is the Member of Parliament (MP) for the constituency of Sheffield Hallam.

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

Personal life

Clegg has been married to Miriam González Durántez since 2000; they have three sons. Durantez is a Spanish Roman Catholic. Their children are being raised as Catholics, even though Clegg is an atheist.[6]

Clegg's family has many foreign members[7]- his grandmother on his father's side was a Russian Baroness before the Russian Revolution, with German and Ukrainian ancestors, while Clegg's Dutch mother was imprisoned by the Japanese in World War II. Clegg is multilingual (he speaks Dutch, English, French, German and Spanish fluently). He says that his family's experience of persecution is one of the reasons he is liberal.[8]

Before becoming a politician

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

After his degree, he was given a scholarship to study for a Master's degree at the University of Minnesota. He then worked as an intern for Christopher Hitchens[9] in New York for a while before going to Brussels to work for the European Union as a trainee aid organiser. He then studied for a second Master's at the College of Europe in Bruges where he met Durantez.

From 1994 to 1998, he worked at the European Commission, where he developed aid programmes to the former Soviet Union and helped the World Trade Organisation to negotiate the entries of Russia and China.[10]

As an MEP

In 1999, Clegg was elected as the Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands. As an MEP, he helped to start a campaign for greater accountability in the European Parliament.[11]

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

As an MP

Clegg won the 2005 election, and became the Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam in May 2005.[12] As an MP, he campaigned to change the prison and immigration systems, and to make sure that the government did not take away too much freedom from people in their work against terrorism.[13] He said that the Iraq War was wrong.[14]

In 2007, he was voted as leader of the Liberal Democrats,[5] and in 2008 he joined the Privy Council, a group of advisors to the Prime Minister.

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

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

As Deputy Prime Minister

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

In July 2010, he revealed plans to have 50 fewer MPs in Parliament, to change the number of MPs needed to begin a new election without the agreement of the Prime Minister to 65% and to hold a referendum on whether or not to change the system of voting in General Elections.[15]

After the government revealed plans to drastically cut government spending, Liberal Democrat approval ratings dropped to 14%, almost half the 34% rating that was recorded in April 2010.[16]

References

  1. Brown, Mick (10 April 2010). "General Election 2010: Nick Clegg's balancing act as hung parliament looms". The Daily Telegraph (London). http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/election-2010/7571076/General-Election-2010-Nick-Cleggs-balancing-act-as-hung-parliament-looms.html.
  2. "Clegg 'does not believe in God'". BBC News. 19 December 2007. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7151346.stm. Retrieved 19 November 2007.
  3. Hurst, Greg (19 December 2007). "Nick Clegg says: 'I don't believe in God'". The Times (London). http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article3074541.ece. Retrieved 20 November 2007. "Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ new leader, has defied political convention with a blunt admission that he is an atheist."
  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/election_2010/8675265.stm
  5. 5.0 5.1 http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7148367.stm
  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7151346.stm
  7. http://www.genealogics.org/getperson.php?personID=I00315715&tree=LEO
  8. http://www.thejc.com/news/uk-news/nick-clegg-i-wont-silence-jenny-tonge
  9. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/programmes/the_daily_politics/7001381.stm
  10. http://timesonline.typepad.com/election10/2010/04/10-things-you-didnt-know-about-nick-clegg.html
  11. http://ukpolitics.telegraph.co.uk/Sheffield+Hallam/Nick+Clegg
  12. http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/constituency/1280/sheffield-hallam
  13. http://www.egovmonitor.com/node/8746
  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/7469471.stm
  15. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10516429
  16. http://today.yougov.co.uk/politics/lib-dem-support-drops