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
  • Get to the point
2015 General Election
May2015

Poll of Polls

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

Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager (B2B) - Romford - £40,000 + car

£35000 - £40000 per annum + car and benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Manager...

Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000

£18000 - £20000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Helpdesk Analyst - Devon - £20,000 ...

Ashdown Group: Data Scientist - London - £50,000 + bonus

£35000 - £50000 per annum + generous bonus: Ashdown Group: Business Analytics ...

Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Development) - Kingston

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Project Coordinator (Software Dev...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: ‘We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon’, says Ed Balls

'We will not sit down with Nicola Sturgeon'

In an exclusive interview, Ed Balls says he won't negotiate his first Budget with SNP MPs - even if Labour need their votes to secure its passage
VE Day 70th anniversary: How ordinary Britons celebrated the end of war in Europe

How ordinary Britons celebrated VE Day

Our perception of VE Day usually involves crowds of giddy Britons casting off the shackles of war with gay abandon. The truth was more nuanced
They came in with William Caxton's printing press, but typefaces still matter in the digital age

Typefaces still matter in the digital age

A new typeface once took years to create, now thousands are available at the click of a drop-down menu. So why do most of us still rely on the old classics, asks Meg Carter?
Discovery of 'missing link' between the two main life-forms on Earth could explain evolution of animals, say scientists

'Missing link' between Earth's two life-forms found

New microbial species tells us something about our dark past, say scientists
The Pan Am Experience is a 'flight' back to the 1970s that never takes off - at least, not literally

Pan Am Experience: A 'flight' back to the 70s

Tim Walker checks in and checks out a four-hour journey with a difference
Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics - it's everywhere in the animal world

Humans aren't alone in indulging in politics

Voting, mutual back-scratching, coups and charismatic leaders - it's everywhere in the animal world
Crisp sales are in decline - but this tasty trivia might tempt back the turncoats

Crisp sales are in decline

As a nation we're filling up on popcorn and pitta chips and forsaking their potato-based predecessors
Ronald McDonald the muse? Why Banksy, Ron English and Keith Coventry are lovin' Maccy D's

Ronald McDonald the muse

A new wave of artists is taking inspiration from the fast food chain
13 best picnic blankets

13 best picnic blankets

Dine al fresco without the grass stains and damp bottoms with something from our pick of picnic rugs
Barcelona 3 Bayern Munich 0 player ratings: Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?

Barcelona vs Bayern Munich player ratings

Lionel Messi scores twice - but does he score highest in our ratings?
Martin Guptill: Explosive New Zealand batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Explosive batsman who sets the range for Kiwis' big guns

Martin Guptill has smashed early runs for Derbyshire and tells Richard Edwards to expect more from the 'freakish' Brendon McCullum and his buoyant team during their tour of England
General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'