Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Nick Clegg defends claims of ‘cavalier indifference’ towards MH17 plane crash by appearing on Sunday Brunch

The Deputy Prime Minister says he was “reaching out to people” by talking about avocadoes on the cookery show

Nick Clegg has defended his appearance to go on Channel 4’s Sunday Brunch yesterday (20 July), in the wake of the MH17 plane crash.

All 298 people who were on board the flight died.

Clegg appeared on the three-hour cookery show alongside Cher Lloyd and Made in Chelsea cast member Millie Mackintosh.

“It's a show which is watched by lots and lots of people, lots of young people,” he said.

“We talked about Ukraine, we talked about politics, we talked about government policies.”

The Deputy Prime Minister was criticised by Labour and Conservative MPs for supposedly acting insensitively by sampling different types of tequila and making an avocado cake on television.

“As the world burned, Nick Clegg was cooking,” said Liberal Democrat activist Charlotte Henry, who wrote an entire blog dedicated to what she described as a “ridiculous appearance”.

“A horrific situation is escalating in the Middle East. Russian separatists look to have shot down a passenger plane, and are moving bodies from the site,” she wrote. “What was Nick Clegg doing? Talking about avocados.”

Labour MP Grahame Morris accused Clegg of showing a ”cavalier indifference“ to the crash victims, while Clacton MP Douglas Carswell questioned: “Where is the gravitas? Where is the leadership?”

”I think it's important for politicians to get through to people who care about what is going on in the world as much as anyone else,” Clegg continued.

“Is the suggestion that people who watch Sunday Brunch don't care about Ukraine? That's not my experience.

"I think it's right to always reach out to people as best we can."