Published on 21 Sep 2010

Night and day with Mr and Mrs Clegg

Late night in Liverpool – ran into Mr and Mrs Clegg at a midnight party on the fringes of the Lib Dem conference here. Clegg himself revived after his speech.

Seems a nice enough guy close up. But hard to stay rooted to the spot as his wife Miriam González Durántez passes though my field of vision in an unmissable red number. Haven’t met her before and we talk for a bit.

Hard to gauge across the Hispanic cultural divide whether she has a droll sense of humour, or a combative countenance. It could be either on show when I suggest that, for a career international lawyer, she must at least have felt safe in the assumption that in marrying a UK Liberal Democrat he would never become Deputy Prime Minister. I dig deeper, suggesting that – now that he had – it must be a bit of a shock to the system.

“Rubbish”, she says. “I always expected him to go to the top. I’m not remotely surprised that he has become Deputy Prime Minister.”

“In fact,” she adds, “I always expected him to become PRIME Minister – and I still do!”

“You are a patronising man,” she quips. I respond: “And you are a true romantic!” We agree to settle for a score draw. A formidable and attractive force she is.

This morning, 7.45: back in the conference centre to interview Mr Clegg ahead of his run to Heathrow and take-off for the UN General Assembly.

He’s wondering when he will ever come back. He has the millennium goals meeting and then is supposed to speak on Friday at the UN. But he follows Ahmadinejad and Chavez – either of whom may speak for several hours – so he fears his speech may take until Saturday to deliver.

I ask him about the free schools and academies vote that he lost at the conference yesterday. He suggests his party doesn’t understand the issues – and says he’ll work on changing his party on the issue rather than the government.

Lots of other good stuff…banking, poverty and the rest. Oh, and making IKEA cabinets with Cameron on the floor of Number Ten.

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29 reader comments

  1. sooooozee says:

    Does she go by the name Mrs Clegg now? Oh no she doesn’t, does she. You might want to avoid that.

    1. Rebecca says:

      I agree!

      In Spain, women don’t change their name when they get married and in the UK 50% of women don’t change their name when they get married.

      Not sure why the UK media cannot get their head around this one!

  2. adrian clarke says:

    I can never warm to Mr Clegg.Although he is an MP for the adjoining county and but 10 miles from me in Derbyshire, he doesn’t come across as a blunt speaking Yorkshireman.I always see him as a namby pamby Liberal who has stolen the limelight ,because his little band of fellow Liberals hold the balance of Power, and he his punching way above his weight.I do not rate his cohorts,Cable and Alexander who do not appear up to the job of running the country,and will run in a crisis.
    It will be interesting to see how he follows Cavez and armadinnerjacket at the UN.

  3. Britt_W says:

    IKEA cabinets? They should have asked this Swede around. Have Allen key, know the lingo, can travel…

  4. sooooozee says:

    I have warmed to him… in a way. I warmed to him initially as I believed that finally the Lib Dems had found a decent leader. For me though everything hinges on whether the right thing is done for child immigration detainees… and at the moment I see every child who’s detained under this government as the government’s victim. If child detention’s not ended soon (and there is no reason to delay), I’m going to be very disappointed in the party.

  5. Paul Begley says:

    He already has some of that hunted, defensive look that develops when the dream has been skillfully sold to us, and we react as the bill starts to become visible. It’s rather like defense procurement – no-one can get a new ship (or anything else), unless they pretend it will be much cheaper than it could possibly be. This guarantees a furious row when the true price is finally revealed.
    I do wonder if it’s a good idea to value presentation skills, charisma and “vision” quite so much, in the choices we make? Maybe honesty and competence should carry a bit more weight?

  6. Kate says:

    The line between Tory and LibDem, despite assertions that they are and shall always remain distinct entities, grows ever more blurred.
    Where were the outcries from LibDems over capitulation? They are morphing into Tories.
    Jon, I do hope your socialising with the Cleggs etc. does not get in the way of your normally rigorous interview style. Vince Cable had an easy ride from you the other night, I thought.
    You can tell when you have put him on the spot, the rate at which he blinks increases proportionally. Let’s have some furious blinking – from all of them! :)

  7. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Mrs Clegg is stunning. Confident and smiling she greeted her husband as he gave a token hug prior to moving on the camera’s.I feel a bit for his first wife’s not fair. I bet she has done much of the ground work like any 1st wife/partner.

    Do you mean to say that at weekend I was building my IKEA furniture with my son and a botle of red between three of us and DC was contemplating thus. That puts me amongst class.

    I am not sure about the free schools programme. If I was running an independent school I would want la creme de la creme ( have I got the correct gender?) and a few token stragglers to improve on dramatically; for face.

    That is not fair though, all schools should accept every child.

    1. margaret brandreth- jones says:

      The name is more difficult to remember for quick replies.

      Even though I have made the same mistake, I am furious when I am called Mrs. I was born with the name I have and was not married to my father .
      The unfortunate name I acquired for many years was Mrs Sloane .. my childrens name also..I hung on to it as long as I could tolerate, thinking it was for the kids sake.

      I mean to say who wants to take the name of a man who rejected you… Women keep your names it is your birthright.

  8. vera dangerous says:

    Nick Clegg’s first wife ? – was there a first wife?
    I am grateful for the contribution C4 makes to news content but did Jon Snow have to comment on what Gonzalez Durantez was wearing? Can’t imagine she’ll be impressed and nor am I

    1. margaret brandreth- jones says:

      I hope that I am not just listening to gossip .. perhaps there wasn’t a first wife ????!!!!

      Apologies to both Mr and Mrs Clegg if not.

    2. BeNG_four says:

      No first wife; not according to Wikipedia, anyway:

      Mrs. Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and Mrs. Clegg are one and the same, and she prefers to be known by the former rather than the latter, something she has made clear often before. It is surely natural, therefore, that The Daily Mail brazenly ignores this preference throughout their needlessly needling piece below…

      I know it’s nothing new for The Mail to be wilfully offensive, but really now…!

  9. Leslie Phillips says:

    Snowy, you’re displaying a touch of the Leslie Phillips: “what a formidable and attractive force”.

    Me and the wife of the Liberal Opposition. At connference. Whats a man s’posed to do.

  10. adz says:

    Politics is just show business and I would like anybody to tell me i’m wrong. I will respect your views as you should respect mine.
    Obama made many positive promises before being elected president and has since gone back on his word a number of times, too many times.
    The U.S. and Britain amongst others want to set up a NEW WORLD ORDER once and for all, which is not about politicians but about BILLIONAIRE BANKERS!
    Mr.Clegg and Mr Cameron are just puppets as are all the other western world leaders and they are all controlled by Bildeberg and Trilateral.
    adzmundo TVP

  11. phil dicks says:

    Did anyone notice how Brown (“emotional intelligence – zero”) was the first to lambast the nations for not reaching their Millenium targets – what an astonishing level of consistent, er, concern. Have we heard an instinctive peep from Thatch/Major/Blair since their careers ended? Only if there’s cash-in-it.
    Seems like Brown did care, did feel.

    To Tony and the World-at-large – an emotion is the expression of a (usually pretend) feeling. A feeling is something entirely different.

    1. Meg Howarth says:

      I wish to propose the setting up a Snowbloggers/C4 fund for donation, perhaps through Medecins sans frontieres, for the inhabitants of the destroyed ‘forgotten’ village in Jonathan Rugman’s searing report on last night’s news, who are now suffering from malnutrition and disease and are without any shelter. Congratulations to C4 for putting the piece at the top of the programme. If Jonathan is still in Pakistan, perhaps he could advise if/how this could be done.

      Am sure I wasn’t alone amongst Snowbloggers in feeling raw emotion, Phil, on seeing the faces, particularly of the children. I cried when looking in to the huge eyes of baby Fazal, was numbed by the teenage mother’s autistic silent despair, and angered by my helplessness faced with the dignified little boy with the damaged eye, apparently confused by the camera. The dignity of the adults, too, trying to care for their children in the midst of hunger and lack of shelter was humbling.

      There will be other ‘forgotten’ villages, but remaining passive in the wake of such images is surely not an option. Following on from an expensive papal visit, it’s surely time to ‘suffer the little children’.

    2. Paul Begley says:

      Every survey undertaken shows that those people who enjoyed the “expensive Papal Visit” are more likely than average to contribute to charities, either secular or their own church organisations. The most easily identifiable of these is CAFOD, which collects £50 million per year to fund Third World development and disaster relief. And quite often the only way that our government aid can be delivered is through organisations they fund, as there is nothing else on the ground in the relevant part of the world. I wouldn’t grudge them one visit every thirty years.

    3. Meg Howarth says:

      Admin: please forward suggestion re Snowblog fund to Jonathan and appropriate C4 personnel.

    4. adrian clarke says:

      Meg i can not fault your generosity and humanity, but there is already a disaster fund for Pakistan.If youare now suggesting a seperate fund for each decimated village, where are we to stop.
      Shall we move on to Haitian villages ,Ruandan ones and every where in the world where there are disasters

    5. Meg Howarth says:

      Adrian: am most certainly aware of the DEC fund for Pakistan. My suggestion – which still stands and which I thought obvious but which clearly needs to be spelt out – is for Snowbloggers to adopt the ‘forgotton’ village portrayed in Jonathan’s report last night.

      I hope C4/Jonathan R will advise how this can be done.

  12. Meg Howarth says:

    Trust that while attending the General Assembly of the UN – another quango of political appointees worthy of C4’s investigative prowess – Mr Clegg will join with the authors of today’s Guardian letter ( in their call for an end to the ‘medieval and barbaric’ practice of stoning (to death) – ‘a crime against humanity’ – and a ban on Iran’s president Ahmadinejad addressing the GA in light of his government’s practice of same.

    Attended a meeting once addressed by Nick Clegg. He uttered not a word of substance.

  13. Swediana says:

    Seriously, stop writing about how you feel about Durantez’ looks, including presenter. It is condescending and – as Sweden is featuring in this commentary – would never be mentioned by news anchor in Sweden’s blog.

    1. margaret brandreth- jones says:

      Jon has got the most fabulous long legs. It enables him to stand inches above everyone. He looks , even if he is not , in control. He wears some of the most bizarre ties, which he is well known for all over the Country and his ties are even talked about in his serious altercations on pressing matters.

      Krishnan, though is in competition with Jon and is beginning to upstage him in his choice of the old school tie.

      Lady Gaga is wearing meat dresses which she says symbolises the struggle women and gays have against the system. She claims she is being treated like meat.

      The Pope and his entourage wear gold- threaded encrusted gowns to symbolise the weight and richness of their religion.

      Mrs Clegg wore stunning red and looked smart to emphasise her own Spanish hot blooded passions and links with UK.

      Others wore grey tops and tatty jeans and more tatty jeans and more tatty jeans.

    2. Paul Begley says:

      Better that we talk about appearance openly, as it’s blatantly obvious we attach huge importance to it, whether we discuss it or not:
      – Menzies Campbell couldn’t lead the LibDems because he looked so “old and tired”.
      – Pope Benedict is described as “sinister” because still photographs so often catch an odd expression on his face.(Compare with and without spectacles for this one.)
      – Gordon Brown is described as hostile and cold, largely on the basis of facial expressions, influenced by being blind in one eye.
      It is profoundly stupid to judge people by their appearance on TV (unless all we want is eye candy), but that’s unlikely to change unless we admit that we are doing it!

    3. adrian clarke says:

      Paul i totally agree.If people saw me they might think i was an aging hippy,and that would do my image on here no good at all.

  14. margaret brandreth- jones says:

    Meg that is a way forward .. good idea.

  15. Alex says:

    So you go up a woman you’ve never met before, belittle her husband to her face, and are then surprised when she gets a bit tetchy with you? Bizarre behaviour.

  16. Margaret brandreth-jones says:

    Have been singing ‘Nght and Day for 3 days now. It has become one of those songs which my brain will not let go of. Can you please tacitly suggest another for my psyche to work on. I am trying to force myself to think of Vera lynne’s songs now.

    As a child I must have heard a jazz song of a very smooth womens voice, I don’t even know who it was or even which song it was , but if I hear a similar sound again I have half heard , half rememered recollections which actually trigger an emotional response which should but doesn’t mean anything to me.. Night and Day is along those lines.

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