Clegg comes clean on conscience and cigarettes

By politics.co.uk staff

Nick Clegg has spoken honestly about his thought process in the run-up to the spending review – and his smoking habit.

Appearing on radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the deputy prime minister said he had struggled with his conscience over cuts to public spending.

“I have spent every day of this process, pretty well every minute of this process, asking myself whether there are pain-free alternatives, whether we are doing the right thing, and I genuinely believe there is no easy alternative,” he said.

“I have certainly searched long and hard into my own conscience about whether what we are doing is for the right reasons.

“I am not going to hide the fact that a lot of this is difficult. I find it morally difficult. It is difficult for the country.”

The Liberal Democrat leader also came clean about his smoking habit, which he admitted to politics.co.uk during the election campaign.

Asked what his luxury item would be, he replied: “I have a confession to make which is I do like the occasional cigarette.

“I can just imagine as the sun’s going down and you know I’ve got the beard flowing down to my knees and I’m thinking what on earth am I going to, you know, while away the time… puffing away on a cigarette would be quite nice.

“I know I’m not supposed to say this because it’s a terrible thing. And I hope my children don’t hear this programme because they don’t even know that I smoke.”

Among Mr Clegg’s reassuringly eclectic picks were David Bowie’s Life on Mars, Johnny Cash’s Sunday Morning Coming Down and Radiohead’s Street Spirit.