Nick rode a wave of popular support, becoming the first Liberal Democrat to achieve high office. To the surprise of sceptics the Coalition lasted the full term, before taking its toll on the party. He’s since written Between The Extremes, exploring how populism has affected those in power and arguing for the need to reclaim the centre ground. Unashamedly pro-EU, he believes British voters should make the final decision on Brexit after the ‘Rubik’s cube’ of negotiations.
Nick Clegg served as Deputy Prime Minister in Britain’s first post war Coalition. As leader of the Liberal Democrats he led the party to their first term in government for 100 years.
After working at the European Commission in transport and trade, Nick served as MEP for the East Midlands before entering Parliament as Member for Sheffield Hallam. He soon became Lib-Dem spokesman on Europe, Foreign and Home Affairs, before winning a leadership contest with a mission to build a strong challenge to the two larger parties. In the 2010 election campaign he emerged as a popular counter to Gordon Brown and David Cameron - distinguishing himself in the televised leaders’ debates. Faced with a hung parliament, Nick negotiated a coalition agreement with the Conservatives that would see them in government, but dogged by controversy.
As Deputy Prime Minister at a time of recession, Nick was part of the leadership team faced with the challenge of economic recovery. He and his party bore the brunt of public and media criticism for the programme of austerity, especially cuts in public spending. (Despite this he became the first government figure to put his head above the parapet on a weekly phone-in show.) Perhaps best known as a passionate pro-European, Nick also battled for progressive policies on civil liberties, social mobility, early years education and NHS mental health treatment.
In his best-selling book Politics: Between the extremes, Nick offers a frank account of his time in government and makes the case for a politics based on reason and compromise. In his follow-up, How To Stop Brexit (And Make Britain Great Again) he lays out the seriousness of the UK’s departure from the EU, the dangers that it may bring, why it may not have the popular support it appears to have, and how the process could be halted. In print, on air and on stage Nick continues to comment widely on how populism has changed politics in Westminster and beyond as well as the implications of Brexit. With honesty and humility he looks at his own role in recent events and reveals what’s going on behind the scenes.
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JLA Speakers Breakfast