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Call Clegg 4 September

September 4, 2014 5:56 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Watch as Nick Clegg takes your questions live on LBC for this week's Call Clegg.


NC: It's 9 o'clock on Thursday 4 September and that means it is time again for Call Clegg with me Nick Clegg here on LBC. So do get in touch. I'll be taking your questions for the next half an hour or so. And call on 0345 6060973 or email at nickclegg@lbc.co.uk and as ever you can of course watch on the website, lbc.co.uk. So let's go straight to the first caller, Chris, Chris in Hemel Hempstead. Hello Chris.

C: Good morning Mr Clegg.

NC: Morning.

C: I'd like to talk about Ashya King and the national disgrace about the whole debacle. The point I'd like to make, two quick points, one where has the Chief Executive and the Board of Directors of this health authority been. They've been hiding under a rock. They don't seem to have made any comments. And we've heard from the Prime Minister, yourself and everybody else who thinks it's an utter disgrace. And the question I'd like you to ask is when are we going to get these people in these public, you know like, Councils, NHS Trusts, the Police to be accountable and transparent in cases like this. And why didn't the government take hold of the situation and find one person to take overall control of this terrible situation?

NC: Well as you know I thought it was wrong to throw the full force of the law at Mr and Mrs King, because like everybody else it became quite obvious to me that they were two parents in a state of desperation and anguish about the health of their little child and they were trying to do the best for him. And I'm pleased that the CPS, the Crown Prosecution Service announced as they did that they weren't taking any further action and the family is being reunited. And further than that of course as you know the family have been offered the advice of one of the country's leading oncologist's about the particular condition that Ashya has so that the family can now take decisions about what is the best treatment for him. As it happens apparently I am told some patients do get NHS funding to receive this proton treatment and we will see now what the family decides with that advice.

All I would say Chris and I am like everybody else I just thought, look it was just wrong that the family was being split up like that because the full force of the law is being thrown at them. All I would say is clearly the people at the Hospital and Hampshire Police thought, as it happens with retrospect we now realise with hindsight wrongly, they thought there was a threat to Ashya's life. And so they are duty bound in a sense to try and do something if they feel a child is in a vulnerable position. We now know Chris that's not the case.

I mean you remember as well as I do the bulletin saying that the battery was going to run low on the equipment Ashya had. We didn't know at that time that actually that wasn't the case and that he wasn't in as much danger as Hampshire Police and the people at the Hospital thought. All I am saying is you know, I don't think we should be too harsh on the fact that it appears that the Police and the people at the Hospital, that this child was in peril in a way that we now know he wasn't. But you can't, I don't think that we should be too harsh on them that they took some action because they thought he was. That's all. I'm just trying to be fair here.

C: Sorry can I just make two very quick points?

NC: Sure.

C: One it took an LBC reporter one phone call to find out the truth of what has been going on...

NF: Let me just get the Deputy Prime Minister...

C: ...and the other thing no doubt...

NF: Hold on Chris let me just give the Deputy Prime Minister the background on that.

NC: Yeah.

NF: We phoned the clinic Mr Clegg in Prague and we discovered that initially if you remember the family left the country on 29 August. They first made contact with the clinic on 21 August. The clinic first requested files from Portsmouth, from Southampton Hospital on 22 August and by 29 August those files had still not gone to Prague and that's what seems to have prompted the family to then go to Cherbourg, to go to Spain to try and sell their house. Just to give you the background, back to what you were going to say Chris.

C: And the other thing no doubt we will now have an enquiry with lessons to be learnt and no doubt the cost of that enquiry is going to be many thousands of pounds more than what the actual cost of this treatment could have been.

NF: I think that is a point a call by the police, Deputy Prime Minister.

NC: Look clearly, a mistake has been made. Something has gone wrong in the sense that we now know that Mr and Mrs King like any parent just want to do anything, anything that they can think of to help their child. You know I'm a Dad, you are no doubt as well Chris. I mean anyone, that's the most basic instinct that we've all got. We now know that. All I am saying is and I of course am not exactly, you know, I'm not totally privy to exactly who know what about Ashya's medical condition at Hampshire Police. But they thought that this little boy's life was in peril. That I mean, I think you just have to accept that in good faith that is what they thought at the time. Wrongly it turns out but that's what they thought at the time. And the fact that the papers were not sent from the Hospital to Prague is not really actually, it doesn't really bear on the fact that the Police in Hampshire felt...

NF: Well?

NC: ...that he was in Spain and was going to be in peril.

NF: Does it not speak to the argument the police should have made more robust enquiries Deputy Primate Minister?

NC: Yes. Maybe, yes of course all of that absolutely. And... but look. Look I was the first, I think I was the first senior politician to come and out and say...

NF: You were.

NC: ...look enough is enough this is ridiculous.

NF: You were.

NC: So I'm not...but I'm just trying to be fair that sometimes...

NF: Just asking people...

NC: ...people make mistakes and they make mistakes for reasons which are not malign. They did it because they clearly thought this kid was in danger and it appears that he wasn't.

NF: And the latest wrangle on this appears to be, lasted a year Mr Clegg, that the boy is still a ward of court of Portsmouth City Council and they have yet to remove that particular order which the father is saying means he still can't physically move his child. What would you say to Portsmouth City Council who at the moment are not motivated to go to court to rescind the order?

NC: Oh I think again, speaking from a distance and... By the way Chris in answer to your question which you asked me, so why did the government not take a grip of this. The wheels of justice may be frustratingly slow, sometimes even a bit erratic and we may all comment as we have on this occasion. But one of the fundamental principles in this country, one I will you know defend to the hilt to my dying breath is that politicians do not, justice is not the plaything of politicians. The day you start having politicians deciding on a personal whim, we like this case we don't' like that case, we like... So we can express as I did, express my strong human view that it was not right to go after the King family. But it was not for politicians to start telling the Police how to do their day-to-day job.

NF: But what of the fact he is still a ward of court?

NC: Look as I say, my human reaction as was the case when I was first asked about this is leave the...let this family decide with the right medical support and expertise, which has now been offered. And it's been and that offer has been made that one of the country's leading oncologists will fly out to see them in Spain. Let them decide quietly in peace together with the right medical device what is right for this child and let's take this out of courts and criminal justice system which is not where I think this whole case belongs.

NF: Let's thank Chris. Thank you. Shall we move on to other questions please Deputy Prime Minister?

NC: Yeah, Sean in Matfield. Hello Sean.

S: Yeah morning Mr Clegg.

NC: Morning.

S: Regarding ISIL. Do you think it's important that we should be very careful not to state too much on the media what we're going to do out there? That the biggest weapon we've got is the element of surprise that we should allow the Iraqi and Kurds to take the lead. We should support Barack Obama, gather around him rather than keep slagging him off all the time and come together as a united force against ISIL. Because I know clandestine operations will be taking place now. It could even be hostage rescue, it could be many things about targeted air strikes. And the worst thing we can is to say get in there boys, do it. Because you galvanise Arab states against the west it's when we start seeing western troops killing Muslims. So can we just be a bit more calm and patient?

NC: Yeah. No, I actually agree with a lot of that Sean. I think it would be total disaster if this comes to be perceived as the west against the rest and it is emphatically not the case that that is what it is. Let's remember we are only acting, obviously we have self-interest we want to keep ourselves safe. But we are acting through the humanitarian aid that we've provided, the air strikes that the US are conducting in support of the legitimate government in Bagdad, the legitimate authorities in the Kurdish region against a terrorist organisation which is literally creating, carving out a new country across two other nations and you speak to any country in that region.

The King of Jordan was in Westminster, in the House of Commons yesterday, saying quite understandably how much he passionately feels that it is the duty of his country to join in and in the region mobilise regional, a regional push against ISIL. And we are there to support, assist, participate in that. But let's absolutely get away from this idea that somehow we can fix this from Washington or we can fix this from the Ministry Defence.

This is, you are quite right Sean, this is part of a much wider movement which has to be led first foremost by the countries and legitimate authorities in the region. It is if the moment this collapses or anyone allows this wittingly or otherwise to collapse into a perceived sort of west versus the Islamic world, I think we would then be drawn into a terrible downward spiral of violence which would be very difficult to escape. Let's remember there is a schism opening up, a very violent one between these extremists, ISIL, who are perverting the religion of Islam and the greatest offence, in my view, that they are causing is to other Muslims. And we must remember that. We are there, we are alongside, we are side by side, we arm in arm with the many, many millions of devout, law abiding, peace loving Muslims around the world who are more offended than anybody else by what ISIL stands for. And that is the prism through which we should this see this. Not a sort of can Washington and London fix this from on high. And that is why by the way, whilst I totally understand, completely, I feel it myself. Can't we fix this? Can't we fix this by next Tuesday? We have to proceed in cooperation with countries in the region. We've obviously got to have discussions in the United Nations. You've got to build up a case. You've got to work out with other countries what you are going to do. And sometimes I understand everyone's fear and impatience to have all of this fixed overnight. Sometimes doing it in a way so that the push against ISIL, and we will all have to work to push against ISIL is successful. Sometimes doing that systematically and methodically in the way you suggest is the best way forward.

NF: Have you had sight or what do you take from the article in The Times today by David Cameron and Barrack Obama?

NC: Oh I mean I'm obviously talking the Prime Minister about this on an ongoing basis we were talking about it again late last night...

NF: So perhaps you can tell me what he means then? 'We will be more forthright in the defence of our values not least because a world of greater freedom is a fundamental part of how we keep our own people safe.' In practical terms what do the two men mean?

NC: Well in practical terms a lot is already going on. So as you know we have intervened to deal with the humanitarian catastrophe that faces the victims of ISIL.

NF: The defence of our values?

NC: We've supported American air strikes which are designed to push ISIL back and protect particular towns and cities. And just I explained to Sean in Matfield one of the things we are doing right now is talking to a whole range of countries in the region and beyond so that you can mobilise the biggest coalition of international opinion working together on all fronts. Diplomatic, political, military, humanitarian in order to squeeze out ISIL because...

NF: So it's like George Bush I, it's like a Gulf War I, in that it would be a broader alliance.

NC: Well that's a very interesting point you make. It's actually a very interesting point you make. I remember vividly how meticulous George Bush Senior was in the region in particular in building alliances. And I remember vividly, the papers were full of saying, why don't you go and act now, act now, now. And I remember thinking at the time, I was obviously much younger then but he was quite methodical and smart and saying, this is not just you know the U.S versus the rest. This is something which is being done hand in glove with countries in the region and it just takes a bit of time to mobilise that coalition. And if you do mobilise it successfully then you deliver a better blow against your opponents, and I think that's the phase we're in at the moment and of course I understand the pressure on political leaders to provide an instant solution. I think that the point that Sean is making and it's a very wise one, is sometimes making sure that you assemble opinion and work as I say with and through the region but not just from afar from the west, actually will deliver the answer that people want against ISIL more effectively in the long run. We don't world where ISIL even exists. A world in which ISIL exists is a more dangerous world, and I think most people intuitively know that given their barbarity, given their violence, given the depraved way in which they slaughter everyone of any other faith. Given their very significant resources, that there isn't an overnight solution to it, and therefore we need to work very closely together with other countries.

NF: We move on, Sean thank you. Other questions.

NC: Rohan in South London. Rohan, yeah.

NF: Rohan, you're on the radio. Hello Rohan.

R: Hello.

NF: Hello young man, how old are you?

R: Nine.

NC: Oh hello.

NF: You're through to the Deputy Prime Minister, go ahead.

R: Erm, I was wondering why you've decided to introduce free school meals, which is a very expensive product. When at my school they're quite unhealthy and everything shows that they don't make children behave or achieve better.

NF: Are you only...this is Nick Ferrari...are you only nine?

R: Why aren't you at school Rohan?

NF: That's a good point.

NC: No seriously, are you ringing from school?

R: Yes.

NC: Oh okay, alright. Okay, well...

NF: This is part of the class, Deputy Prime Minister! Call Clegg is now on the national curriculum!

NC: Well I tell you why Rohan. Because the evidence shows that it is in fact extremely helpful in the schools where this has been introduced in the past. So we've introduced it years ago now, between 2009 and 2011 in schools in London, in Newham, and in other parts of the country, in Durham. Not only of course, not only does it sort of save mums and dads money, about £400 a year to pay for the lunchtime costs, it's not only sort of good for your health, and I'm sure this is not the case for you Rohan, but quite a lot of children go to school with lunchboxes which don't have very healthy food in them. I don't know, a slice of white bread with some chocolate spread and a fizzy drink. Where it's better to have, you know, a proper, cooked, hot healthy meal with vegetables and so on. And crucially, the eating a healthy meal at lunchtime, together by the way, which I think is a good thing and you'll know better than I do Rohan, that having children in one part of the canteen eating their own meals and another group somewhere else, I think it's good isn't it, it's nice when the class eats together. Actually the schools where they've done this, they've shown that the children who eat healthily at lunchtime, 'cause they can concentrate better in classes in the afternoon, do better in English and maths than children who don't. Now I'm not gonna pry Rohan, but don't you think, I mean what kind of lunch do you eat, and don't you think it's important to eat well?

R: Well, yeah I do think it's important to eat well, but I think a lot of schools, I think a lot of the parents could afford to already pay for those meals. So I was wondering whether perhaps you could just target it to the areas where parents couldn't afford to pay for their meals better. And also at my school the meals are very unhealthy, and at a lot of other schools they're quite unhealthy.

NC: Are you a teacher, or a head teacher listening to this Rohan.

NF: Extraordinary, such a bright young man!

NC: I shouldn't pry, but actually can I ask, where is your school?

R: Erm...

NC: Or maybe you don't want to tell me.

R: It's in South London.

NC: Okay. Right Rohan, actually the children who benefit the most are the children who are poor, who are not wealthy, who don't have lots of money.

R: But wouldn't they just be entitled to school meals?

NC: No this is the point, there are about four in ten children who are in our country, who are categorised as being poor, in poverty. By the way you really should enter politics, you're the most articulate nine year old you'll ever come across.

NF: It's okay, he's covering for the breakfast show when I'm next off, don't worry!

NC: So just let me...so there are lots and lots of children, it's like four in ten children who are poor, who are sort of, who the government says are in poverty, don't receive free school meals.

R: But couldn't you just target it to their area, rather than target it to the, rather than doing it for the whole country, where a lot of people could afford it?

NC: Well there are lots of schools...this doesn't work like this, there aren't just certain areas of the country where there are poor children who don't receive school meals, they're everywhere. And as I said, the evidence is that if you really want a class to do well and you want the children who need the most help...by the way I've just heard your class bell go...if you want all children.

NF: He's got to talk to Obama in Wales, if you could hurry up!

NC: If you want all children to do well, having children share a meal together, a healthy meal together at lunchtime, so everybody if you like starts the classes in the afternoon with the same energy and same...that has a dramatic benefit...

R: Yeah, but, just one more thing. At my school it's quite small so that, now we're having to use the gym for school meals, which means...at my old school we had to use the gym for the school meals, which means that my younger sister can't do string group, and a lot of people at my old school would be missing their lessons in the gym.

NC: But they all have to eat lunch anyway don't they, I just...

R: But they wouldn't be using the gym.

NC: But Rohan, without knowing your school, and I quite understand you don't want to tell me which school you're at. But you know, all children have...

R: But I think probably quite a lot of schools are faced with the problem that they can't...

NC: No, no that's not the case. So close to 100 per cent of schools are already this week, first week of term, providing...

R: Yeah but my old school is ready but it's not, but there's still effects to the schools that are not as good as we might want.

NC: Well as I say Rohan, I can't, obviously I don't know exactly how your old school arranges their lunches, but you know, even if you didn't have this in place, all schools obviously, already, need to have a time during the day when children eat lunch. So it's not as if we're suddenly imposing a sort of requirement to have lunch that schools haven't had to manage before, and I'm sure there are, it sounds like your old school might be one of them. There are schools that don't have very much space and they need to make those arrangements anyway. All we're saying is, and what is now happening which I think is a good thing, is the government is saying, it's giving money to schools and saying, having...and by the way, I mean you're nine, I've got a 12 year old and nine year old and five year old. Every mum and dad knows, and I'm sure your mum and dad knows, that you can't expect children of your age Rohan, you may be an exception, you sound quite exceptional in so many respects. But you can't expect children to listen to the teacher, do well, do their homework, if they haven't got healthy food inside them at lunchtime, it's as simple as that.

R: I agree with you, I agree, but surely couldn't you spend some of that money on another project perhaps. Because I have seen the evidence and it wasn't very big, the percentage point increase, it was only 1.9 in one of the trials. And also it was bigger for Key Stage 2 than Key Stage 1, improvement.

NF: Right I'm gonna move on. Can I just ask you...

NC: You've clearly had someone working with you on this, which is excellent, excellent. Have a look at the Good Food Report, which is produced by John Vincent and Henry Dimbleby, the evidence is incredibly strong Rohan. As I say, the children who get a healthy meal at lunchtime, where this has happened before, are about two months in advance of their classmates in maths and English. And actually in many respects, having a healthy lunch does you more good in doing well in the classroom than many of the literacy and numeracy initiatives that have been taken. But anyway, I think...

NF: We move on.

NC: ...you probably need to go back to class.

NF: And last question...this is Nick Ferrari...what did you have for lunch yesterday Rohan, may I ask that please, young man?

R: Erm, for lunch yesterday?

NF: Yes.

R: I had some brown bread sandwiches with some minestrone soup with beans in it and some vegetables, and I had the salad on the side.

NF: Alright.

NC: And Rohan just tell me, you know, you've been very good at citing statistics and reading reports, so when have you done that, who have you done that with?

R: Erm, I did it on my own, at home.

NC: Right okay.

NF: And what are you going to do when you grow up Rohan, have you worked it out yet, what do you want to be?

R: I don't know.

NF: Don't know, alright, what's your favourite subject at school?

R: Erm, maths and science.

NF: You're a very bright young man.

NC: You really are, good luck Rohan, you're a very impressive boy.

NF: I tell you something Ed Milliband does those voices well doesn't he! Let's move to some emails, this is coming in from...

NC: You're not suggesting that that was actually Ed Milliband.

NF: I don't know where that came from! Erm, Joy in Darenth, which is Kent, "Why are you not in Newport, have you not been invited?".

NC: I'm going shortly.

NF: What do you hope to gain from there, Deputy Prime Minister?

NC: Well erm...

NF: I don't mean the towels!

NC: No, there'll be, there'll obviously be lots of discussions, meetings, I'll be having endless meetings and so on. And I'm hosting tonight the dinner, where a number of prime ministers and leaders from other non NATO countries, which are important partner countries for NATO come together. So for instance, I'll be spending some time this evening with President Poroshenko of Ukraine, so I suspect...

NF: We've not talked about Ukraine, can you tell us briefly where you...

NC: Yeah I was gonna say in the response...sorry I didn't catch who the email was from?

NF: Joy in Darenth.

NC: So I suspect this evening at least, most of my discussions will be centred on Ukraine, and understanding quite what this overnight news, that there has been an outlined ceasefire proposal...

NF: The seven point plan or whatever it is.

NC: Yeah, between Vladimir Putin and President Poroshenko, what that really means. And I'll obviously wanting to be speaking to President Poroshenko himself to hear what he thinks about it. And until I've done that I obviously can't tell you. So no, I am going and I'm very much looking forward to it.

NF: Okay, let's move on...and I'll do the emails again in a moment.

NC: Yeah.

NF: Lets do another call.

NC: John in Finchley, hello John.

J: Hi there Mr Clegg.

NC: Hi.

J: Hi. Okay, I want to paint a picture for you. Your son has been kidnapped, he appears on TV and they're gonna cut his head off if you don't pay the money. What do you do?

NC: John...

J: What do you do?

NC: Well sorry, I'm not, I know what you're seeking to do, I'm not going to put myself in, in a position which thankfully I'm not in right now. I think what you're asking is, what you're driving at...

J: I think you should. If you're going to make a decision you have to try and put yourself in that person's position.

NC: Well, John can I try...

J: What would you do?

NC: ...can I try and give you an answer John, to a slightly more complex issue. Which is what do we do as a country, what do we do as a country, when we're faced by these anguished, I mean just torturous decisions, which you've quite rightly said are hell for the families and the parents and the loved ones of those hostages who are taken. Do you accede to the demands of the terrorists and the hostage takers, which is of course, as you quite rightly imply, what any person who wants to keep that individual safe, wants to do. Or do you, as a country, ask yourself, what is the knock on effect of doing so. And the judgement we've taken as a country, and this is not a political issue by the way, governments of different persuasions have believed this for a long time. Is that once you start acceding to those demands, you feed those demands. And that whilst it is, of course, the most human and understandable reaction to say, please just give these people whatever they want to keep that individual safe, that ironically enough you put more individuals in peril later because you increase the incentive for those terrorists to take hostages in the first place. It is, I'm afraid, one of those terrible moral dilemmas, for which there is two sides of that moral argument. Where no decision is uncontroversial or simple, but where I think the decisions we've taken as a country...and I strongly support myself...that we don't accede to those demands, and so unwittingly perhaps, increase the incentive for hostages to be taken in the first place, is the right approach and it's one that I think we should stick to.

NF: Quick response.

J: Can I say something to that?

NF: Just briefly John.

NC: Yeah sure.

NF: Go ahead, go ahead.

J: Yeah very quickly. I completely understand that argument, and I'm completely aware of it as well. But on the other hand, we can see quite clearly that even if you don't pay them they still take citizens of different countries, they still continue to do it because it gives them publicity in any event. So in which case if you can save their life, and we have the ability to save them, then we ought to save that person's life.

NC: I think, I'm not in any way disputing, John, that this is a very difficult argument, and one which raises, as I say, huge ethical dilemmas, both ways. But I think you and I will just have to agree to disagree, for the reasons I explained. I think it's right that as a nation we say, and we state very clearly, we're not gonna play your game to the hostage takers, we're just simply not gonna play your game. And I know how heartrending that is, of course, of course, as your arresting, opening question suggested, for the loved ones, the families. But I think, I think it's the right thing to do.

NF: Thank you John. Let me put you in a different scenario in a related matter, Mr Clegg. If you were the editor of a national newspaper, and there seems to be a divide in the newspapers this morning, I'm sure you've seen that some have chosen to identify the British hostage, some have not. If you were editing a national newspaper what would you have done?

NC: Oh look, as I said earlier, I think it's very unwise of politicians to stop telling the press what to do.

NF: Okay, what do you think should have been done?

NC: Look my own view is that given the advice from security experts was completely unambiguous, I mean not a moment's hesitation, that it is better for the hostage, it is better from a security point of view, not to reveal the name. And I think I've heard some suggestions that somehow the Foreign Office has almost kind of pushed the family into agreeing this.

NF: That's what a family friend is alleging.

NC: Well that is absolutely not what I'm being told at all, and clearly this was done with the support of the family. But given that the advice was so unambiguous I think we should do what is best for the security of the individual concerned. And that's why I don't...

NF: How is his security affected?

NC: Well you, because you, you, you create, you create an identity, and a..

NF: But they know who he is.

NC: Well the hostage takers do.

NF: Yes but how is this...

NC: But remember why these people are taking hostages...they're doing to create fear, to spread terror. And there's nothing like they like more than...

NF: But I don't see how his security...

NC: No let me explain. The more you create publicity around who the individual is, the more you create the incentive of hostage takers to take ever more extreme steps.

NF: Well it's not much more extreme than putting him in that video, is there...

NC: Of course there isn't, of course there isn't. But it actually slightly relates to our earlier conversation. Do you play their game or not, right. Do you play their game.

NF: So are you suggesting news coverage, a blanket coverage...

NC: I'm suggesting that when terrorists take hostages they do so principally for the publicity they create, that is why they do it. There's no military...you know of course they do, that's why they do it, they do it to spread terror in our country, in our communities. And the more you put, if you like, a face and a name to that individual...that is the advice, not from politicians but from security experts...the more you foster the climate of fear and terror, which is exactly what the hostage takers want to do.

NF: So social media running with the name, other newspapers around the world are running with the name, CNN is running with the name, Fox News is running with the name. But British newspapers, British media just absolutely covers it's ears.

NC: No, listen, I'm not a newspaper editor.

NF: No but that's what the government, that's what the Deputy Prime Minister is saying.

NC: No, you're seeing through the prism of what a newspaper editor would do. Newspaper editors should do what they want and they take responsibility for their decisions.

NF: Sure.

NC: You're asking me as Deputy Prime Minister what do I think we should do when security advice is unambiguous, that it is better for the security of the individual not to feed the publicity around the individual concerned when they're still alive and still a hostage. Now it would be deeply irresponsible of me to say, do you know what, we're gonna ignore that security advice. What you asked me as a separate question, which is all about what kind of freedom do newspaper editors exercise...they are free to do what they like, they need to be answerable. I, however, am perfectly entitled to say, as Deputy Prime Minister, I feel really strongly, if people tell us, look it is better for that individual, and therefore better for those who care about his safety, that his identity is not revealed, that is precisely what we should do.

NF: You're on a tight agenda. Can we fit in one last question Deputy Prime Minister.

NC: Yeah, Paul in Hatfield. Hello Paul.

P: Good morning Nick.

NC: Hello.

P: My question to you is in reference to the comments that the Mayor of Calais made yesterday.

NC: Yeah.

P: About the amount of clandestines that are trapped in Calais, trying to get across to England. I can give you a firsthand account, I was there yesterday myself, I'm a truck driver.

NF: Do that, it's gonna have to be fairly brief 'cause the Deputy Prime Minister is on quite a tight schedule. So if you move to a question it would help everyone very much...sorry about that.

P: Okay, well my question is, if they close Calais, the millions of pounds it's gonna cost British business, and they're not putting enough resources in the port of Calais to prevent those clandestines getting there in the first place. And maybe they should enforce the borders around France, from the countries that cross into France. What do you think?

NC: Well I totally agree with you, we don't want Calais closed, it's an incredibly important gateway.

NF: Why are they all coming here though?

NC: By the way Paul, why were you there, for your work, or were you travelling for holiday or what?

P: I'm a truck driver, I was bringing a load through to England.

NC: Well exactly, then you know better than I do, that...I guess you're going, passing through Calais week in, week out...

P: Yeah.

NC: ...it's an incredibly important umbilical cord for our economy.

P: Exactly.

NF: Why are they all coming to Calais, why are they seeking to get to Britain, Deputy Prime Minister?

NC: Erm, I think there's a whole range of reasons. It's often people who have got relatives or friends who they want to join in Britain. But look, we are not unique in Britain...

P: Can I interrupt you. The reason they're coming to Calais is that because that is where all the organised gangs are bringing them to.

NC: Yeah but that's a slightly different question. And we're not, of course we're not alone in Europe as being a country which is dealing with the issue of illegal immigration. Look, the only way this can be solved, and we've done this before, the previous government did it and I remember did a good job with the then French Government, and Teresa May's been in touch with her opposite number, is to take sure that together we deal with this issue. But we can't have people clandestinely sort of shipped across Europe and trying to slip under the radar screen into Britain. And that's why, for instance, as you probably know, Paul, there's been a real push to screen a lot of the trucks and lorries going through Calais. And we will do whatever is needed with the French authorities to make sure that our border is safe, and that Calais is kept open.

NF: You had people trying to storm a ferry yesterday, Mr Clegg.

NC: Yeah quite extraordinary, it shows how desperate they are.

NF: We must end it there for time reasons. Thank you very much.

NC: Thank you.

NF: Nick Clegg here with Call Clegg, on LBC, where the news comes next.