Nick Clegg reveals he owns a ‘onesie’ – in response to question from Old Etonian ‘King of the Liberals’ who used to work for him

The question regarding the 'onesie' came in a light-hearted exchange following thirty minutes of critical and at times heated debate

The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has revealed he was given a 'big green onesie' as a gift - but has never worn it.

The Liberal Democrat leader was speaking during his first weekly phone-in show on the London-based talk radio station LBC. Mr Clegg, who said the 'onesie' was still in the packaging, joked he would only wear it in the privacy of his own home.

But the question regarding the 'onesie' from a “Harry from Sheffield” – which formed part of a light-hearted exchange following thirty minutes of critical, and at times heated, debate between Mr Clegg and callers – was not all it seemed.

In fact, the caller was Harry Matthews, a student Liberal Democrat activist who worked in the Deputy Prime Minister’s office over the summer. Matthews claimed that he gave Mr Clegg the garment at a party event several months ago, and posted a picture on Twitter as confirmation.

Mr Matthews, 20, is acting chair of the national organisation Liberal Youth and a Physics undergraduate at the University of Sheffield, in Mr Clegg’s constituency.

Mr Clegg was earlier confronted by a former Liberal Democrat councillor who told him he had torn up his party membership card because he was ashamed of what they were doing in Government.

The caller, John, from Woking, told him: “I'm a Liberal Democrat who's just torn up his membership card.

“I joined in 1973 and I'm afraid I can't now say I want to represent the Liberal Democrats. I'm an ex-county councillor in Surrey and I am ashamed of what the party's doing.”

Mr Clegg has said he is doing the programme, with presenter Nick Ferrari, because he feels politicians do not hear enough from voters directly, and one caller told him his decision to take part was “very commendable”.

Mr Clegg asked John to give the party credit for measures like raising the income tax threshold and introducing a pupil premium for children from disadvantaged backgrounds.

He insisted: “I am immensely proud that, facing the biggest crisis this country has seen in a generation, the Liberal Democrats took a big, collective and brave decision - at some political cost - to say we are going to step up to the plate... and fix this mess while also trying to make society fairer.”

Another caller, a Sheffield University student called Lauren, dismissed measures like the pupil premium as "tokenistic" and accused the Government of discouraging young people from gaining qualifications by abolishing the educational maintenance allowance and increasing tuition fees.

"It seems as if the coalition is trying to tell them that higher education is not for them," said Lauren - a charge Mr Clegg did not accept.

The Deputy Prime Minister repeated his apology for committing the Lib Dems not to raise tuition fees when they were not in a position to deliver on the promise, and he admitted the party's recent eighth position in the Rotherham by-election was a "woeful result".

But he said it was always going to be "monumentally controversial" for them to enter coalition with any other party, and said voters were willing to give their support when they had a chance to explain their actions.

"Where we can get on to people's doorstep or in front of a radio mike and explain to people what we are doing, why we are sticking to our guns on some of the big decisions, why the country has to go through this difficult process, I'm finding that people - perhaps not with bunting and wild-eyed enthusiasm - recognise that what we are doing is the right thing," he said.

"What I'm trying to do is build a strong economy and a fair society."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Systems and Network Support Analyst

£26000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

Recruitment Genius: IT Systems Support Analyst

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is a rapidly expandi...

Recruitment Genius: Business Travel Consultant

£20000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: With offices in London, Manches...

Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker / Trainee Broker / Closer - OTE £250,000

£30000 - £250000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Stock Broker/ Trainee FX, Stoc...

Day In a Page

Migrant crisis: UN official Philippe Douste-Blazy reveals the harrowing sights he encountered among refugees arriving on Lampedusa

‘Can we really just turn away?’

Dead bodies, men drowning, women miscarrying – a senior UN figure on the horrors he has witnessed among migrants arriving on Lampedusa, and urges politicians not to underestimate our caring nature
Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger as Isis ravages centuries of history

Nine of Syria and Iraq's 10 world heritage sites are in danger...

... and not just because of Isis vandalism
Girl on a Plane: An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack

Girl on a Plane

An exclusive extract of the novelisation inspired by the 1970 Palestinian fighters hijack
Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

Why Frederick Forsyth's spying days could spell disaster for today's journalists

The author of 'The Day of the Jackal' has revealed he spied for MI6 while a foreign correspondent
Markus Persson: If being that rich is so bad, why not just give it all away?

That's a bit rich

The billionaire inventor of computer game Minecraft says he is bored, lonely and isolated by his vast wealth. If it’s that bad, says Simon Kelner, why not just give it all away?
Euro 2016: Chris Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Coleman on course to end half a century of hurt for Wales

Wales last qualified for major tournament in 1958 but after several near misses the current crop can book place at Euro 2016 and end all the indifference
Rugby World Cup 2015: The tournament's forgotten XV

Forgotten XV of the rugby World Cup

Now the squads are out, Chris Hewett picks a side of stars who missed the cut
A groundbreaking study of 'Britain's Atlantis' long buried at the bottom of the North Sea could revolutionise how we see our prehistoric past

Britain's Atlantis

Scientific study beneath North Sea could revolutionise how we see the past
The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember,' says Starkey

The Queen has 'done and said nothing that anybody will remember'

David Starkey's assessment
Oliver Sacks said his life has been 'an enormous privilege and adventure'

'An enormous privilege and adventure'

Oliver Sacks writing about his life
'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

'Gibraltar is British, and it is going to stay British forever'

The Rock's Chief Minister hits back at Spanish government's 'lies'
Britain is still addicted to 'dirty coal'

Britain still addicted to 'dirty' coal

Biggest energy suppliers are more dependent on fossil fuel than a decade ago
Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition

Orthorexia nervosa

How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
Lady Chatterley is not obscene, says TV director

Lady Chatterley’s Lover

Director Jed Mercurio on why DH Lawrence's novel 'is not an obscene story'
Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests

Set a pest to catch a pest

Farmers in tropical forests are training ants to kill off bigger pests