Clegg 'forgot' deputy role

Nick Clegg: Holding the fort
Nick Clegg: Holding the fort

By staff

Nick Clegg has admitted the fact he is in charge of the country slipped his mind.

The Liberal Democrat leader is nominally heading the government while prime minister David Cameron is out of the country on his Middle East trip.

The responsibility does not appear to be weighing especially heavily on him.

Asked whether he was in charge, he told the Metro newspaper: "Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that."

The novelty value of a Liberal Democrat being responsible for the government while the prime minister is overseas, highlighted for the first time last summer, appears to have faded quickly.

Mr Clegg quickly pointed out emails and BlackBerry meant Mr Cameron was not as isolated as he might have been 50 years ago.

"I'm holding the fort but I'm hoping to take the end of the week off with my kids," he added.

"Someone else will have to do it then. It sounds more haphazard than it probably is."

Mr Cameron insisted that, though he was not on British soil, he was the one who remained firmly in charge.

"I'm not absent, that is the way government works," he told Sky News.

"In the age of the BlackBerry, the telephone, the internet, just because I leave the country doesn't mean I am not in charge."

This is not the first time Mr Clegg has found himself facing stories about his work ethic.

Last month the Sunday Telegraph reported that he would stop receiving routine reports and memos for overnight consideration at 15:00 between Monday and Thursday.

Mr Clegg's office explained that his ministerial 'red box' having a mid-afternoon deadline from other departments did not mean the deputy prime minister stopped working at that time, however.


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