Sunday 20 April 2014

Clegg defends holiday dates clash

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam take the riverboat from their home in Putney to Westminster on his first day back at work after their holiday in Spain

Despite being used to the choppy waters of British politics, Nick Clegg found it plain sailing as he returned to work by boat with his wife following a family holiday.

The Deputy Prime Minister, who is on duty in the UK while David Cameron takes his own summer break in Portugal, took to the Thames for the journey from their home in Putney to Westminster.

The Liberal Democrat leader and Miriam drank coffee and chatted to other commuters during the 30-minute cruise. The couple and their three sons were on holiday in Miriam's homeland of Spain last week.

The family is also expected to spend some time in France during parliament's long summer recess.

Mr Cameron was pictured on his holidays last week, shopping for fish at a market in Aljezur on the Algarve with his wife Samantha. The couple strolled around the stalls before settling on some squid for their supper.

There has been some criticism of the coalition for failing to co-ordinate holidays properly - meaning that for a few days both the Prime Minister and his deputy were out of the country.

Mr Clegg has insisted that while the two senior members of the Government tried to avoid being out of the country at the same time it was not always possible to avoid a clash in their diaries.

But he said that other senior ministers including Home Secretary Theresa May and Foreign Secretary William Hague were able to "hold the fort" while they were away.

On his LBC 97.3 show earlier this month he said: "We're pragmatic about these things to make sure that, as much as possible, we don't go away at the same time but there's not always a perfect match.

"And I think both the Prime Minister and I have a lot of faith in other senior members of the Government: Theresa May, William Hague and others, who for those periods of time - and they're usually relatively brief - where neither he nor I are in the country either because of holidays or because we're both away on official business; that they can also hold the fort."

Press Association

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