Nick Clegg – working partner; working parent

The Independent today features a relationship-focused interview with Nick Clegg. It looks mainly at two areas for balance: work/family and his working partnership with David Cameron:

Mr Clegg… insists he is determined to keep family life and government work as separate as humanly possible.

In this aim he has found an ally in the Prime Minister, who is also the father of small children. Both agreed to change the timing of a cabinet meeting to fit in with the school run. “I try – I haven’t entirely succeeded yet – as much as I can to take the kids to school,” he says before adding: “To walk them to school.”

“In a sense I’m very lucky because David Cameron has young children. We agreed the other day we were going to slightly delay the start of the cabinet meeting to allow us both to take our children to school, which is a reflection – if any was needed – of the fact that we are both of the same generation in this new politics.” He adds that he is “very rigid in saying ‘no’ to endless dinner invitations, to try to make sure I’m back home regularly to put the kids to bed”.

And like so many working parents who have to do the odd bit of catching up once those kids are in bed, Nick, we learn, was on the phone to Danny Alexander at midnight on Sunday, following the weekend’s dramatic events.

On communicating with David Cameron, his “partner in government”:

We speak every day, if not several times a day – it’s a very strong working partnership. We have each other’s mobiles, BlackBerries, emails.

We work quickly – we are able to arrive at difficult decisions quickly. We understand the constraints we are both working under and we’re very pragmatic and workmanlike about the fact our partnership is absolutely essential in making sure the coalition works.

Nick Clegg won’t get any questions at the first Prime Minister’s Questions of the new Parliament later today, but he refers to the “architectural antagonism of the chamber” and the “yah-boo across the despatch box.”

However, he insists:

I am very keen the Liberal Democrat voice should continue to be heard in Parliament and it will be.

Just how this will be achieved isn’t quite yet understood, but many of us are already watching to see what kind of start is made in this new partnership in government.

Read the full interview here.

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4 Comments

  • Stuart Mitchell 2nd Jun '10 - 12:24pm

    “We agreed the other day we were going to slightly delay the start of the cabinet meeting to allow us both to take our children to school, which is a reflection – if any was needed – of the fact that we are both of the same generation in this new politics.”

    Every PM since 1997 has had young children. There’s nothing “new” about it.

  • OhNoNotAgain 2nd Jun '10 - 9:22pm

    Quite! And its very nauseating for working mothers and fathers who can’t alter the routines of the companies they work for. Grow up this isn’t being family friendly – you have to give these rights to other people and then you are family friendly.

  • Andrea Gill 2nd Jun '10 - 9:33pm

    @OhNoNotAgain – Isn’t more flexible working patterns part of the coalition agenda?

  • Oh really! Take academy school. There will be no consultation with parents before a school opts out with the right to be able to set different term dates, school hours and admission policies. Very family friendly – mums will be running around like crazy hens. I am afraid you lib dems have got into bed with some strange bed fellows – this is not going to go down a treat with parents – good luck!

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