‘A Liberal by temperament, instinct and upbringing’, Sir Nick Clegg was a leading British politician in the years 2007-2015.
As the Leader of the Liberal Democrats, Clegg took the party into Government for the first time in their history, and served as Deputy Prime Minister between 2010-2015.
However, following the Liberal Democrats’ crushing losses at the 2015 election, Clegg resigned as Leader before eventually being unseated himself at the subsequent 2017 poll.
Clegg has since reappeared in public consciousness as the joint global Head of Policy and Communication for the social media company, Facebook. In this role, Clegg has gone about trying to improve Facebook’s public image and ward off media criticisms. In the 2018 New Year’s honours list, Nick Clegg was knighted for political and public service.
What does Nick Clegg do at Facebook?
In October 2018, Clegg was appointed Facebook’s joint Head of Policy and Communications. Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, criticism of the Company in its handling of the European Commission on its WhatsApp takeover, and subsequent ‘fake news spreader’ allegations, Facebook was in a tough spot.
As the Head of Policy and Communications, it has been Clegg’s job to improve Facebook’s image and help the company respond to criticism. Clegg was influential in setting up Facebook’s independent oversight board to police content on the platform.
As for his salary, Clegg is said to be earning $650,000 a year. In 2019, this helped him purchase a $9 million Californian mansion.
Deputy Prime Minister
In the lead up to the 2010 General Election, Clegg threatened to break up Britain’s ‘two-party system’ once and for all. During the country’s first ever TV election debate, David Cameron and Gordon Brown battled to cosy up to the then Liberal Democrat Leader.
Following Clegg’s successful performance in that debate, “I agree with Nick” became the election’s most used phrase
In the hung parliament that resulted, Nick Clegg became king-maker. The Parliamentary arithmetic made a Lib-Lab coalition difficult and so Clegg threw his lot in with Cameron’s Conservatives. Nick Clegg then became Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister.
Clegg’s time in Government was controversial. After signing a pledge prior to the election to not raise student tuition fees, Mr Clegg voted for their tripling in 2010. Disgruntled Lib Dem voters began to lose trust in Clegg and a subsequent ‘apology’ video did little to appease them.
A passionate campaigner for electoral reform, Clegg had his chance with the 2011 ‘Alternative Vote referendum’. However, the ‘alternative vote’ was rejected decisively by 68% of voters. Following this, Clegg told the BBC: the Lib Dems must ‘get up, dust ourselves down and move on’.
The Liberal Democrats were punished at the 2015 General Election and Clegg led the party to almost total electoral wipeout. Having won 57 seats in the 2010 election, the Lib Dems now only had 8.
First elected to the European Parliament in the 1999 European elections, Nick Clegg MEP became the Trade and Industry Spokesman for the Liberal group of MEPs.
In 2005, Clegg was elected to Westminster as the MP for Sheffield Hallam in South Yorkshire. From 2005-2007, Clegg served in a variety of Lib Dem spokesperson roles – most notably with the Home Affairs brief (2006-2007).
Clegg was elected as leader of the Liberal Democrats in 2007, taking the party into government after the 2010 election.
Before losing his seat at the 2017 General Election in a high-profile ‘Portillo’ style moment’, Clegg was the Lib Dem spokesperson for Exiting the European Union (2016-2017).
How old is Nick Clegg?
Sir Nicholas William Peter Clegg was born on the 7th of January 1967. Clegg was educated at the prestigious Westminster private school in London. He then studied Anthropology at Cambridge University (1986-1989), and political philosophy at the University of Minnesota (1989-1990).
Nick Clegg – Early Career
Mr Clegg worked as a trainee journalist at the US magazine The Nation and won a national prize for first time writers at the Financial Times.
He then worked as a Development Aid and Trade expert in the European Union, including managing aid projects in the poorest parts of the former Soviet Union. He was involved in the EU’s negotiations for China and Russia to join the World Trade Organisation.
Nick Clegg – Family
Clegg is married to international trade lawyer Miriam Gonzalez. They have three children.
Nick is an avid lover of the outdoors. He has been said to be an expert skier and keen mountaineer.
Things you may not know about Nick Clegg
He speaks 5 languages
Clegg is multilingual. He speaks five European languages, including German, French, Spanish and English, in addition to his mother’s Dutch.
His mother was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp
Clegg’s Dutch mother spent five years in a Japanese prisoner of war camp. Clegg’s paternal grandmother fled the Russian Revolution.
He attracted the nickname Nick Cleggover
In a 2008 interview with Piers Morgan in GQ magazine, Clegg revealed he had slept with ‘no more than 30’ women. The comment prompted the nickname ‘Cleggover’.
Twitter – @nick_clegg