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Nick Clegg, MP for Sheffield Hallam, was elected leader of the Liberal Democrats on 18 December 2007.
He was born in 1967 and studied at three universities: Cambridge, Minnesota and College D’Europe.
Clegg worked as a trainee journalist at the US magazine The Nation and won a national prize for first time writers at the Financial Times. He then worked as a development aid and trade expert in the European Union, including managing aid projects in the poorest parts of the former Soviet Union and overseeing the EU’s side in negotiations for China and Russia to join the World Trade Organisation.
He was elected as a member of the European Parliament in 1999, where as Trade and Industry spokesman for the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe he led the move to open up the domestic telecoms market, allowing consumers to pick their telephone provider for the first time and advocated trade measures against illegally logged timber. He was a co-founder of the Campaign for Parliamentary Reform, which argued for more transparency and accountability in the European Parliament.
Throughout his time as an MEP, Clegg wrote essays on public policy issues including greening the WTO, secondary education policy, and reform of the EU’s decision making procedures. For several years he was a columnist for The Guardian Unlimited.
Clegg stood down from the European Parliament in 2004 and lectured part time at Sheffield and Cambridge Universities. He was elected as MP for Sheffield Hallam in 2005 with a majority of 8,682. Charles Kennedy appointed him as Europe spokesman, acting as deputy to Sir Menzies Campbell. When Campbell won the 2006 leadership election, he appointed Clegg as Shadow Home Secretary.
Clegg has spearheaded the Liberal Democrats’ defence of civil liberties, proposing a Freedom Bill to repeal unnecessary and illiberal legislation, campaigning against Identity Cards and the retention of innocent people’s DNA, and arguing against excessive counter-terrorism legislation. He has campaigned for prison reform, a liberal approach to immigration, and defended the Human Rights Act against ongoing attacks from across the political spectrum.
In January 2007 he launched the Liberal Democrat’s We Can Cut Crime campaign, widely welcomed by local campaigners as a new and successful way for the party to campaign effectively on crime.
Nick is married to Miriam Gonzalez Durantez and has three sons.
Following the 2010 General Election, Nick Clegg led the Liberal Democrats into a coalition with the Conservative Party, and he became Deputy Prime Minister.