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Ken Clarke: Nick Clegg should have been a Tory

By Lewis Hannam

Updated on 21 April 2010

Shadow business secretary Ken Clarke today praised Nick Clegg's father - a former colleague - and says the Liberal Democrat leader should have followed his father's "political wisdom".

Nick Clegg (Credit: Getty)

Ken Clarke said that Nick Clegg's dad was a Conservative, who would have wanted his son to be a Tory.

The Liberal Democrat leader would have been "better off sticking with the political principles, and political wisdom, of his father", Clarke told Channel 4 News political correspondent, Cathy Newman, today.

Yesterday Nick Clegg heralded the "old-fashioned" banking of his father, also called Nick. Cathy Newman's FactCheck blog took that as an invitation to look into Nick Clegg's background.

Clegg Snr, now chairman of the United Trust bank, worked with Ken Clarke at the Daiwa Europe Bank for a year.

Clarke said today: "I was an advisor with Daiwa – he [Clegg Snr] ran their operations in London, their European operations very successfully. I have lost touch with him a bit, but he’s a very nice, very wise man.

"He was a very successful City man but he wasn’t a flashy City man in any way. He was a Tory I think, quite definitely – I enjoyed working with him… 

"It only lasted a year because Daiwa got into trouble with Tokyo and they battened down the whole operation in London. I liked him and as a person, I like Nick Clegg as well.

"It would have been better if he [Clegg Jnr] had stuck with the political principles, as well as the political wisdom, of his father. 

"At a time when politics needs seriousness, Nick must regret going off into the strange wastelands of Lib Dem politics.

"When he faces a Liberal assembly I fear that the young Nick Clegg must think 'if only I had gone into serious politics' as his father would have preferred."

The Liberal Democrats declined to comment on Clarke's remarks.

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