ENG: Nicholas William Peter Clegg (born 7 January 1967) is the Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in the coalition Cameron Ministry, Lord President of the Council and leader of the Liberal Democrats.
Clegg's first major elected position was as a MEP for the East Midlands from 1999 to 2004.
He was elected Member of Parliament for Sheffield Hallam in the 2005 general election and became the Liberal Democrats' Home Affairs spokesperson in 2006. Clegg defeated Chris Huhne in the party's 2007 leadership election. As well as his parliamentary roles, Clegg has contributed to many pamphlets and books on political issues.
Clegg was educated at Caldicott School in Buckinghamshire and Westminster School in London, followed by Robinson College at the University of Cambridge, where he studied Social Anthropology; he later studied at the University of Minnesota and the College of Europe in Belgium. He is married to Miriam González Durántez; they have three sons.
Early life, family
Clegg was born in Chalfont St Giles in Buckinghamshire, in 1967, the third of four children. His father, Nicholas Clegg CBE, is chairman of United Trust Bank, and is a trustee of The Daiwa Anglo-Japanese Foundation, where Ken Clarke was an adviser.
Clegg's paternal grandmother, Kira von Engelhardt, was a Baroness from the multiethnic Imperial Russia, of German-Russian and Ukrainian origin, whose aristocratic family fled the Bolsheviks after the 1917 Russian Revolution. Clegg's paternal grandfather, Hugh Anthony Clegg, was the editor of the British Medical Journal for 35 years. Clegg's great-great-grandfather, the Ukrainian nobleman Ignaty Zakrevsky, was attorney general of the imperial Russian senate. His great-great aunt was the writer, Baroness Moura Budberg.
Clegg's Dutch mother, Hermance van den Wall Bake, was, along with her family, interned by the Japanese military in Batavia (Jakarta) in the Dutch East Indies. She met Clegg's father during a visit to England in 1956, and they married on 1 August 1959.
Clegg is multilingual: he speaks English, Dutch, French, 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".
Member of the European Parliament (1999–2004)
Clegg was selected as the lead Liberal Democrat euro-candidate for the East Midlands in 1998, and was first tipped as a politician to watch by Paddy Ashdown in 1999.
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; Newton Dunn subsequently succeeded 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 was 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 newspaper that the battle to persuade the public of the benefits of Europe was being fought at home, not in Brussels.
In 2004 Nick Clegg MEP explained to the Select Committee on European Union Sixteenth Report 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.
Election to the leadership of Lib Dems
Although Clegg did not stand in the 2006 Liberal Democrats leadership election, he admitted on 18 September 2007 that he "probably would" stand for the leadership upon the retirement of Sir Menzies Campbell, an event which took place on 15 October 2007. Clegg's comments were seen by media commentators as a swipe against Campbell's leadership, and he was rebuked by other senior Liberal Democrats including potential leadership rival Chris Huhne.
After the resignation of Campbell, 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 Huhne.
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 but were largely in agreement on many other issues. It was announced on 18 December that he had won.
He was appointed to the Privy Council on 30 January 2008 and affirmed his membership on 12 March 2008.
Deputy Prime Minister
Clegg became Deputy Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Lord President of the Council on 11 May 2010 through a coalition with the Conservative Party under Prime Minister David Cameron.
In 2000 Clegg married Miriam González Durántez, of Valladolid, Spain. They have three sons: Antonio, Alberto and Miguel, who are being brought up bilingually in Spanish and English. He has said that "The most important things in my life are my three young children: I’m besotted by them". His sons were affected by the disruption caused by the eruption of the Icelandic volcano Eyjafjallajökull as their flight was grounded in Spain. His wife is a Roman Catholic and they are bringing up their children as Catholics, although Clegg has stated that he does not believe in God.
Clegg lives close to the Peak District and often walks with his wife near Stanage Edge, which he describes as "one of the most romantic places in the world". He also has a house in Putney, South West London. Downing Street has announced that Clegg and the Foreign Secretary William Hague will share use of Chevening, whic. is typically the official country residence of the Foreign Secretary of the United Kingdom.
Clegg's wealth is estimated at £1.9m.