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Call Clegg: As It Happened - 31st January 2013

Thursday 31st January 2013

Nick Clegg has been answering LBC listeners' questions in the fourth of his historic radio shows this morning - here is how it went.

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The Deputy Prime Minister became the first senior minister to have a weekly radio phone-in when he is on Call Clegg with Nick Ferrari.

Here are the key moments of Call Clegg.


09:30 -     Paul, would you like to be Prime Minister and do you still see yourself as Leader of the Liberal Democrats after the General Election? NC: "yes to both!"

09:29 -     Lynn - why shouldn't more mothers be encouraged to stay at home and raise their own children. NC: "I totally respect that - it's not the Government's place to tell you how to raise you're children. What we're trying to do is help those couples who want to go back to work but can't because of the high cost of childcare. We want to make it easier - I stress, if you want to - to go back to work."

09:27 - On childcare tax : "no disagreement in the coalition on this whatsoever - it's just fiddly to sort out. We've already made big changes. What we're going to do in the future is fill in the gaps. For the squeezed middle - people who have no incentive to go back to work because of the high cost of childcare - it is those people we are going to try and help."

09:25 -     NC on tax breaks for married couples: "why should the tax man tell you if you should get married or not? It's not fair"

09:24 -     NC: "I think the idea of someone who has left under a cloud... it's very difficult to swallow. Barclays is not run by the Government, it's not run by the taxpayer - even though we did give them some money. I would say to any bank - show some sensitivity and restraint as you wouldn't be alive and kicking if it wasn't for the taxpayer."

09:22 - Nick Ferrari asks - is Bob Diamond deserving of a 2.7m bonus?

09:21 - NC: "If you want to start bringing the country together you've got to start healing the north south divide. The benefits of being able to travel from Sheffield from London will be immense. Why would every other country in the world be investing in high speed rail [if it was just to create a new place for people to live and commute to London]."

09:19 - Andrew asks - On Cross Rail - wouldn't it be better to spend the money opening up the old railway lines?

09:18 - NC: "It won't be enough for some people, it will be others. I cannot be clearer of my own personal abhorrence of anything that can be construed as prejudice."

09:18 - "Of course we take it supremely seriously. Mr Ward has been summoned before the Party whips, he has been given what is effectively a yellow card. He has apologised profusely. I haven't spoken to him personally."

09:16 - Jonathan, Finchley, asks about incidents across Holocaust Memorial day - e.g. cartoon in the Sunday Times and comments from MP David Ward re: Jews and Israel - wants to know what the Lib Dems do about anti-Semitism?

09:14 - NC: "There are no easy magic wand situations and I'm sure Jeremy Hunt will make the right decision."

09:14 - John, "we don't want another Staffordshire where finance comes above safety. To deprive and A and E from an area because of what is happening in another is unfair."

09:13 - "It's incredibly difficult decision, I don't know what Jeremy Hunt will decide. I think people have to acknowledge the source of the problem."

09:12 - NC "The problem comes back to the appalling PFI contract that the previous Government signed with a neighbouring health trust. The whole area is running on empty. There are no easy choices - I'm not going to second guess Jeremy Hunt's decision - but of course the advice of GPs and Consultants is taken into consideration."

09:10 - John, Lewisham - wants to know with the Government making the decision today to close Lewisham hospital - will the advice of GPs and Consultants be considered in future?

09:10 - The Conservatives didn't keep their part of the deal by not agreeing to Lords reform

09:09 - "We're not repealing the legislation, we're just delaying. You do these things as a package. A deal is a deal"

09:08 - Brian wants to know about changing electoral boundaries - why NC voted against it: "the coalition Government is a deal. An important part of that deal was finally to have people in the Lords who create the laws of the land being the people who obey the laws of the land - voted in."

09:06 - Juliet wants advice for women in politics "I'll take responsibility - we're [Lib Dems] not reflecting the community we represent - and not just women. We are creating mentoring schemes for people who want to go into politics, including the disabled."

09:04 - On having highest youth unemployment in Europe: "It's important to remember within those figures you've got thousands of young people who are studying."

09:03 - "It is a deal by the way - you are expected to take up the opportunities [that are offered to you]"

09:03 - Juliet (calling from Surbiton High School) - what hope can you offer students when youth unemployment is so high? NC: We've done the Youth Contract. If you're between the ages of 18-24 and have been out of work for a certain amount of time we will guarantee you will either earn or learn