Nick Clegg

On this date in 1967, Nicholas William Peter Clegg was born in Chalfont St. Giles in Buckinghamshire, England. Clegg’s mother was Dutch. He speaks five languages: English, Dutch, French, German and Spanish. Clegg studied anthropology at Cambridge University and received a Master’s degree in political philosophy at the University of Minnesota. He interned at The Nation in New York under Christopher Hitchens before returning to Europe, where he interned at the European Commission and earned an M.A. in European affairs at the College of Europe in Bruges. Clegg worked as a journalist and at the European Commission before being elected Member of the European Parliament for the East Midlands in 1999. Clegg served as an MEP until 2004, and in 2005 was the liberal parliamentary candidate for Sheffield Hallam. Clegg was elected with over 50% of the vote, and became the party’s spokesperson on Europe. In 2007, Clegg was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats and rose to national prominence in the 2010 general election. The third-party Liberal Democrats received 23% of the vote and Clegg became the “power broker,” as neither of the two major parties, Labour or Conservative, had won a majority of seats in Parliament. Clegg chose to ally with the first-place Conservative Party, and became Deputy Prime Minister.

After being elected leader in 2007, Clegg was asked on the BBC Radio program 5 Live if he believed in God. He replied that he did not, though he later elaborated that he had “great respect” for people of faith. Clegg has stuck to his guns, continuing to describe himself as agnostic during the 2010 election campaign. Clegg’s wife, Spanish-born Miriam González Durántez, is Catholic, however, and their three sons are being raised in the Catholic Church. González and Clegg met at the College of Europe and dated in Brussels before marrying in 2000.

“I was asked, ‘Do you believe in God?’ As it happens I do not know whether God exists. I'm much more of an agnostic.”

—Nick Clegg, interviewed online by om/press-releases/2010/nick-clegg-transcript.aspx

Compiled by Eleanor Wroblewski

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