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?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Home Care / Support Workers

£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...

Recruitment Genius: Web Team Leader

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...

Recruitment Genius: Client Manager

£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...

Recruitment Genius: Property Negotiator - OTE £20,000+

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...

Day In a Page

The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'