Author Archives: Nick Clegg MP

Nick Clegg writes…Europe makes Britain great

Unlike many of our neighbours, Britain did not join the EU as a way of embracing a new, modern identity. For the Germans, French, Italians and the Benelux countries, European co-operation represented the victory of peace over war. For Spain, Greece and Portugal, membership signified the victory of democracy over fascism. For many newer members, it was about throwing off the tyranny of Soviet communism.
Not us. Joining the European Community was a pounds and pence calculation of what was good for us, done with a shrug of the shoulders and an ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ acceptance that the age of empire was over.

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Nick Clegg MP writes…The recovery would not be happening without us

This morning we’ve seen yet more proof that the economy is firmly on the path to recovery. Growth is returning, with today’s figures showing the longest period of growth since 2007. We’ve also had good news on jobs – with youth unemployment down, jobs outside of London up and a surge in new full time jobs.

In Government we’re clearing up Labour’s mess. Here are four reasons why it would not be happening without the Liberal Democrats.

1. Our decision to go into coalition gave Britain the stable government needed to get the country through these difficult times. Despite the endless clamour …

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Nick Clegg’s New Year Message

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Nick Clegg writes: Black History Month

black history monthBlack History Month reminds us that remembering the past is about more than just memorising important dates and facts. It’s about recognising and understanding the kaleidoscopic mix of people, events and influences that have shaped the country we live in and make us who we are.

Over the last 26 years, Black History Month has helped to inform and educate men, women and children across Britain, highlighting and celebrating the powerful contribution of African and Caribbean people in every area of British society, across centuries of our history.

Black History Month …

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Nick Clegg’s Conference rally speech – “We are the party of jobs”

Nick Clegg arrives at GlasgowSpeaking at the Liberal Democrat Autumn Conference rally in Glasgow this evening, Liberal Democrat Leader and Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is expected to say:

Welcome to Glasgow. This year’s conference sees us gather in a city that has always been important to the Liberal Democrats, a city once represented by Roy Jenkins, that gave us Ming Campbell and where nearby in 2005 Jo Swinson won a famous victory to take her seat from Labour and become an MP at just 25.

Before anything I want to pay tribute to our team of Scottish MPs who lead the way in Parliament in arguing for a United Kingdom that is strong, secure and together. All under the direction of our fantastic Chief Whip and rally compere.

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Nick Clegg MP writes… The Labour and Tory exodus

Something is happening on the centre ground of British politics. An exodus. The Conservative leadership is being lured to the right. Ed Miliband is pulling his party to the left. Only the Liberal Democrats are holding firm.

That creates an opportunity for our party. Over the last twenty years the centre has become a crowded place. First New Labour pitched up, determined to demonstrate a new found credibility on the economy. Then followed a detoxified Conservative Party, hugging hoodies and frolicking with huskies. Yet now – in what, in time, may prove to be a highly significant political shift – the …

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Nick Clegg writes … A fairer and more prosperous world

Lynne Featherstone in Zambia. Photo:  some rights reserved by DFID Featherstone and I are travelling to Mozambique and Ethiopia this week, which will be my first trip to sub-Saharan Africa as Deputy Prime Minister. We will see the changing nature of our relationship with these African countries, as well as the UK’s international development programmes in action.

By working with Mozambique, Ethiopia and other developing countries, we are helping to create a world that is fairer, more prosperous and more secure.

This year the Coalition Government will meet our commitment to spend 0.7 per cent of Gross National Income on international development – an achievement that comes with much controversy but one I am proud to deliver.

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Nick Clegg MP writes… Rio+20: We made progress

The dust has now settled on last week’s Rio+20 summit and I’m keen to look back at my initial goals and to let you know what we achieved in terms of meeting them. Of course the final text was not all we would have wanted had we been able to write it ourselves; however I am pleased to be able to report that all three of my priorities have been included in the final text of the document that was agreed last week.

  1. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We agreed to launch a process to develop these, to ensure that countries

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Nick Clegg MP writes… Rio+20 should set the green agenda for the next 20 years

Next week, representatives from 190 countries will meet to discuss how we build a green economy that reduces poverty without destroying the environment. These issues have been close to my heart since I wrote a postgraduate thesis on the “Deep Green” movement and humans’ effect on the environment over twenty years ago. But their importance for future generations has been brought home tenfold to me since becoming a father, and I am proud that I will be leading the UK delegation at the Rio Summit.

At the original Earth Summit in 1992, against the backdrop of Brazil’s disappearing Amazon …

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Nick Clegg MP writes: We won’t let a generation fall behind

Having risen steadily since 2004, the number of unemployed young people hit the one million mark this month.

One million. One in five 16-24 year olds not in education, training or work, not because they are lazy or feckless, but because of factors well beyond their control.

It’s not good enough. Youth unemployment is an economic waste and a slow-burn social disaster.

We can’t afford to leave our young men and women on the scrap heap. We need the next generation to help us build a new economy.

When we chose to form this Coalition Government, Liberal Democrats knew that we would have to …

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Nick Clegg’s speech to the Liberal Democrats conference rally

Welcome to Birmingham, a city with a great, outspoken liberal tradition. The home of Joe Chamberlain, where Gladstone called for Home Rule in one of the most rousing speeches of his life, and where Lloyd George nearly lost his life when he spoke out against the Boer War. Now it’s the home of those great modern day, outspoken liberals – John Hemming and Lorely Burt.

I have spent the last few weeks criss-crossing the country, speaking to as many of you as possible, hearing your concerns and answering your questions. We did what Lib Dems do: discussed, debated, argued – …

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Nick Clegg’s speech on the economy – text in full


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg delivered a speech on the economy at the LSE this morning. Here’s the full text:

Good morning. Today I’m going to talk about the economy. I’m certainly in the right place. For more than a century LSE scholars have been at the forefront of every major economic debate asking – and answering – the most pressing questions of the day.

Today, the big question facing governments is this: Given the unprecedented pressures in the global economy, what can we do to restore stability and encourage growth?

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Green government, reforming government: the liberal influence

Here’s Nick Clegg’s latest email to party members:

I’m delighted to let you know about two developments in government today – reinforcing our commitment to being the greenest government ever and publishing our plans for an elected second chamber.

Our party has always been the greenest among the mainstream political parties. We put the commitment to put make Britain greener on the front cover of our manifesto. And I’m proud that we’re living up to that reputation in Government – even in these difficult economic times.

Chris Huhne and Vince Cable have today announced proposals for binding carbon targets in the run-up to …

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Nick Clegg’s email on the election results

I wanted to get in touch immediately to thank everyone who has worked so hard in the elections. This was always going to be a challenging time. For the first time in most of our memories we were fighting as a party of Government – and a government dealing with the economic mess Labour left us in.

But there is no getting away from the fact that this has been a bad set of results – both the election results for the Liberal Democrats and the referendum outcome. I am certainly deeply disappointed. I know many of you are too. I …

Posted in Op-eds | 116 Comments

Nick Clegg writes … It may be just a small cross on the ballot paper but it is a big opportunity

The ballot boxes are being put in place, the polling stations are being prepared, and voting starts in less than 24 hours. But this election is still wide open. We have before us the most incredible opportunity to transform our country for the better and to put fairness back into our society.

So in these last few hours, let me say to everyone who has felt that sense of excitement in the last few weeks at the idea that real change might be possible: we have to turn excitement into votes. Change is coming, but only if you choose it.

Change has …

Posted in General Election and Op-eds | 7 Comments

Nick Clegg writes… The Labour party are worn out and irrelevant

28% at the last set of local elections. 5% points clear of Labour and our highest ever share of the vote. In 23 out of the 25 county councils we are now the main opposition to the Conservatives. And in many counties there are no Labour county councillors at all. In both the South East and the South West Labour were pushed to fifth in the European elections. In vast swathes of Southern Britain they’re as irrelevant as the Tories are in many Northern cities.

In the battle of ideas as well as increasingly in the electoral battle the Labour …

Posted in Op-eds | 14 Comments

Back our campaign to get an elected House of Lords

Over the last few weeks our newspapers have been filled with headlines about alleged corruption in the House of Lords. The accusations of peers amending laws in exchange for cash are deeply shocking, and this case points to the urgent need to reform our Parliament and revive British democracy.

The truth is, it’s high time we drag our political system into the 21st century. For millions of people across the UK our Parliament feels remote and out of touch and nowhere more so than the House of Lords, where power still rests on privilege. Labour has failed to live up to …

Posted in News, Op-eds and Parliament | Tagged and | 20 Comments

Nick Clegg writes… my first year as Liberal Democrat leader

Clegg’s first year: Clegg on Clegg | Tall on Clegg | Land on Clegg | Littlewood on Clegg | Clegg on YouTube

A year ago today I was elected as leader of our great party. It has been a challenging and exciting year. I am very proud that in that time we have made all the running on so many of the important issues facing us.

Across the country in my Town Hall meetings, of which I’ve now held more than 30, people regularly raise with me their concerns about housing repossessions, fuel …

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Nick Clegg writes for LDV: making the Lib Dems “fit for the battle ahead”

The next general election may be only a matter of months away. In the seven months since becoming Leader I’ve been concentrating on making sure that the Party is ready for the election whenever it is called.

This means working hard to develop strong new policies and clear messages. It also means strengthening our capacity to campaign so that we can achieve our ambition of doubling our number of MPs in two general elections.

Simon Hughes, Chris Rennard (Chief Executive and Chair of the General Election Campaign) and I set up the Bones Commission early this year to come …

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Nick Clegg: Together, we can build Britain’s liberal future

I would like to thank all Liberal Democrat members whose support led to my election yesterday as Party Leader.  Now is the time for our party to come together to work for a more liberal Britain. Politics is out of step with the liberal instincts of the British people: we must change that.

When I look at Britain today I see a country stifled by the policies of successive illiberal governments – both Labour and Conservative.  Our civil liberties have been casually cast aside, our public services are run by giant, faceless and often incompetent government bureaucracies, and our poorest communities suffer with security and opportunity in short supply.  Britain is a rich society full of ambitious people with energy and drive, but where families nonetheless struggle to meet their monthly bills and achieve a good balance between the demands of work and family time.

I am determined that our party will point the way to a better future for Britain: the liberal country that the British people want it to be.  We can do that by trusting the citizen, taking radical action, and ending the stifling grip of the two-party system.

I want to open up my party, Westminster, and British politics as a whole.  I intend to hold regular and public Town Hall Meetings, and to spend at least one day every week listening and campaigning outside Westminster, reaching out and engaging with families and individuals throughout Britain who feel disconnected from politics.

I started that process today.

Posted in News | 26 Comments

Leadership Platform 6: Nick Clegg writes…

Like everyone, I owe a great debt of gratitude to our NHS. But these days it is struggling – with budget cuts, ward closures and superbugs. People are struggling, too – with cancelled operations, complex bureaucracy, and little sense of control over their own health.

I want an NHS ordinary people take charge of. But during the campaign, lots of people have been asking me exactly what that will mean. So here goes.

First, of course, I will devolve to locally elected people the power to develop the health service their community needs – not the health service Whitehall wants them …

Posted in Leadership Election | 13 Comments

Leadership Platform 5: Nick Clegg writes…

Another extremely busy – but very exciting – week.

On Monday, children, parents and teachers from an excellent local school, Dobcroft, came to visit. The trip – for the kids at least – finished with a dusk flight on the London Eye and pizza on the way home, while I went to a local cafe to brief journalists on my plans for primary education and childcare.

On Tuesday, I went up to Luton to see the fascinating Marsh Farm Estate project – a real vision of community empowerment – and then dashed back to London where Chris and I …

Posted in Leadership Election | 5 Comments

Leadership Platform 4: Nick Clegg writes…

Dear all,

Over the last few weeks, Chris and I have been travelling around the country, speaking at hustings meetings of every shape and size. It’s been a pleasure and honour to meet so many members. But sadly, only a small proportion of members get to a hustings. So today I thought I’d take the opportunity to post a video from the latest – held in Plymouth on Saturday.

As I say in the video, it may be you who have the votes, but it’s Britain that’s watching. So I’ve tried to be positive and outward facing in this campaign …

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | 16 Comments

Nick Clegg: the five books that have most influenced my politicial views

Liberal Democrat Voice has asked both leadership candidates to list the five books that have most influenced their political views, along with an explanation for their choice. Chris Huhne’s piece will appear later today.

I was lucky enough to grow up in a home filled with books. They’re a huge part of my life and shaped so much of how I think and feel. But if I’m honest, the biggest political influence in my life wasn’t Mill, Rawls or Berlin, however much I respect and admire them. I became a liberal not in a library, but over the dinner table, in the …

Posted in Books and Leadership Election | 4 Comments

Leadership Platform 2: Nick Clegg writes…

Last week Simon Hughes and I spent an hour and a half or so talking with a group of 20 students at South Bank University

I was so struck by how alienated they all felt from political discussion, and from the political classes. The idea of getting involved in politics had never even occurred to most of them – though I think we managed to change that. Two of them told us they’d be joining the party that afternoon!

You can watch the video here:

If our party is to reach out beyond the narrow debates of Westminster, and become the mass …

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | 18 Comments

Nick Clegg writes: Yes to multilateral, global disarmament

Lib Dem Voice has asked both leadership candidates to set out their views on what should be the party’s approach to Britain’s policy on nuclear weapons. First up is Nick Clegg…

My ambition is simple: nuclear disarmament around the world. Under my leadership, Britain would use every last ounce of her leverage to secure multilateral, global disarmament.

I am dismayed by suggestions we should pre-empt the 2010 talks on the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty by planning to build a new, “smaller” nuclear weapons system. Building a new warhead would almost certainly be illegal under the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty; a treaty I …

Posted in Leadership Election and Op-eds | 14 Comments

Recent Comments

  • Andy Chandler
    Good piece. This is why I find what Macron is doing is quite interesting in that we need to redefine Europes political identity and purpose. Centrist, libera...
  • Andy Chandler
    @Adam Not too sure what you mean by "invented snobbery". I just want to give everyone my background. I come from a working class background. My dad is a social...
  • Martin Gray
    Trouble is we've had centrist governments that have utterly failed to deliver on people's concerns...Be interesting to see what comes out of the upcoming EU ele...
  • Adam
    Whether or not Harold Wilson was or was not working class would depend in which definition of class we are using - liberal or Marxist. The two are quite differe...
  • Ian Sanderson (RM3)
    'was a staunch member of the Communist Party ' In a one party state, lasting for 40 years, where any sort of professional career or advancement depends on k...