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Thursday 25th August 2016
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Call Clegg: Watch In Full - 16th January

Follow Call Clegg as it happens as Nick Clegg answers listeners questions for another 30 minutes on LBC 97.3.

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09:33 That's it from Call Clegg this week - and what a dramatic edition it was.

09:30 - Question on ministers who paid for acting lessons - including George Osborne - as reported in the Huffington Post.

NC: I've never heard of this before, it is just not true that the Government is using your money to pay for acting lessons. I've no idea if individual ministers have used their money.

[On the portraits]

That's not a Government thing, if you go to Parliament, it has four centuries of having paintings made of people who have made an impact.

I've had coaching, in the run up to leaders' debates, but I paid for that. At the end of the day the best thing you can do is speak naturally and as a human being.

09:28 - Question on YouGov poll for The Sun which suggeststhe Lib Dems will do badly in EU elections.

NC: Do I think the European elections will be tough for the Lib Dems? Yes. I've lost count of the number of polls which vary and contradict each other. Let's wait and see what the people say, not what the pollsters say. That's not to deny that we've got an uphill struggle.

I think we need to be in Europe, being in Europe means being in work. I'm not going to stand by and let people play silly political games which put the country at risk.

09:24 - Question from Zac Goldsmith, Tory MP, he asked about Heathrow. What is the Lib Dems' position?

NC: The reason we've always ruled out Heathrow expansion is because of the environmental impact, air and noise polution. That is the reason, so clearly any suggestion of expansion that increases existing levels is something we will regret. I'm a person who tries to be led by evidence but the reason we've always opposed it is environmental impact.

I haven't said I accept the review, the review hasn't concluded.

09:23 - Does he think the banks have learnt lessons?

NC: I think we as a Governement have learnt from the mistakes from our predecessors, which is why we have put in strong legislation. I don't think abolishing bonuses is the answer but pay should only be linked to actions which are responsible and productive.

09:20 - Question on banking reforms - what action do the Lib Dems intend to take to stop high salaries and bonuses for bankers.

NC: To be lectured about banking by the Labour Party is like being lectured on fires by an arsonist. They were sucking up to the banks, it is almost laughable that they are lecturing us.

[Lists the actions they have taken against the banks e.g regulations]

We have taken a huge amount of action and we will continue to do so in the name of the British public who deserve to see restraint.

09:12 On Lord Rennard

NC: He should apologise, it's not just me saying that. The QC - an independent judge - looked into this and he said there wasn't enough evidence for him to recommend action but he felt the women were speaking with credibility and should be believed and that Lord Rennard should think on his behaviour and apologise.

It is a matter of great regret - to put it mildly - that he hasn't.

We've changed procedures dramatically and the point of the threshold of proof needs to be looked at. I think we all should have asked more questions. Questions were asked and they were not pursued and they were not taken as formally as they should have been.

I think the Party as a whole and myself as leader have to take responsibility, we failed in the procedures we made.

The report from the QC has revealed that there is further work to do. The burden of proof needed in cases like this to take action is very high and I think we need to reconsider that.

I want [Lord Rennard] to do the decent thing as recommended as the QC. At the end of the day, there are some things I can't do as leader. We have something called due process. He's not going to play a role in my General Election campaign next year, I have made that very clear. At the end of the day because of the standard of proof we have in our rules I think it is important he apologises.

I have apologised to the women both personally and publically. I have an old fashioned view that everyone should treat each other with respect, people with responsibility more so.

I can't frogmarch people to apologise but I would appeal to their decency to do so themselves.

09:11 General Election cont.

NC: In my own view one of the greatest risks now to the ongoing strength of the economy is a Conservative government - who are in one of their hyperbolic bouts of talking about leaving Europe - and of course the Labour Party who still don't seem to have learnt the lesson of what went wrong on their watch.

We've held our nerve and because of that we've started an economic recovery.

09:09 Would he end the coalition early?

NC: I think there is a need... We promised the country five years - we fixed the election for 2015 - and we need to see through fixing the economy. I think endless speculation about when a General Election is going to be held was quite damaging in the past, I think that we have clarity and certainty that this Parliament will last until 2015.

09:07 Payday loans cont.

NC: There are changes on the way. There should be a limit to that, checks should be in place. For people on low incomes these are difficult times, that is why we are changing the income tax system and more changes are on the way and we should make sure the benefits system is there only for people who really need it.

09:05 Question on preventing people turning to payday loans - should companies do more to make staff's pay go further e.g. weekly pay to stop them running out of money at the end of the month

NC: It's the same amount of money. Why would weekly installments make it easier? I haven't heard this before, I suspect this is about how people handlle the money they recieve. My kneejerk response is if people splurge their money each month, if you are the kind of person who does that you're going to be stretched anyway.


There are a lot of people in work who recieve support but at least they are in work.

09:03 Should there be a 'Greedy Street' based on rich tax dodgers

NC:  The Conservatives have said if they are re-elected that they will only be asking people of working age to contribute and I think we should spread the weight fairly

09:01 Question on Benefit Street

NC: I haven't seen it so I can't comment. It's obviously provoked a lot of debate. From what I've heard of the reactions like of all of these things the truth is probably somewhere in between.

There are a lot of people on the benefits sytem who need support but we need to make sure people who can work are able to do so.

09:00 Call Clegg has begun, call in now on 0845 60 60 973 or send in your question here.
08:39 Of course, the Deputy Prime Minister will answer any question that you want to put to him - call in now on 0845 60 60 973 or send in your question here.
08:34 Nick Clegg has been labelled a "coward" after the Liberal Democrats decided not to discipline Lord Rennard over the allegations of improper conduct. How will he defend their actions?
08:30 Welcome to another unmissable edition of Call Clegg - and it's one that everyone will be watching.