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Call Clegg 25 September

September 25, 2014 2:16 PM
Originally published by UK Liberal Democrats

Watch as Nick Clegg takes your questions live for this week's Call Clegg.


This is LBC Call Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg takes your calls with Nick Ferrari at Breakfast. Call 0345 6060973 tweet at lbc973 text 84850. This is Call Clegg on LBC.

NC: It's 9 o'clock on Thursday 25 September and that means it's time for Call Clegg with me, Nick Clegg here on LBC. So get in touch in the next half an hour if you want to get involved. And you can call on 0345 6060973 or email at nickclegg@lbc.co.uk and of course you can always look on the website on lbc.co.uk. Let's go straight to the first caller Andrew in Twickenham. Hello Andrew

A: Yes hello there Mr Clegg.

NC: Hello.

A: Your second in command is our local MP who I know personally. A good man.

NC: Very good.

A: Now I'm afraid I believe that you leaders, our elected representatives have failed our country. You have failed us with Iraq. We have told you a year ago we don't want to get involved with Syria. We need a national referendum before we go to any war again. You people do not represent us anymore I am afraid and we need a new true democracy, a new system in Parliament, a new structure. We would not even be saying boo to a goose if it wasn't for the Americans. And who are behind the American government who created the situation. Syria is an independent country. Russia have said no. We are going to be involved with bombing again, killing innocent people as well as people that are opposed to us. We have got to find a new way. Violence begets violence. We have failed. The policy has failed in the Middle East. We must now start a new situation, a new direction for people who are behind all of this a few, elite few, massive money men...

NC: Andrew can I just interrupt. So what... Can I just ask you to be a bit more concrete? What would you do about ISIL?

A: Right.

NC: How would you combat, which I have assumed we have to, and we are clearly going to disagree on whether we should take action or not. But I am assuming we can agree that they are a vile, medieval, murderous, barbaric bunch of violent terrorists who do untold damage not only to us because they threaten us but also the way they slaughter everybody in their way. They are treating everybody as infidels, killing by the way Muslims as well as non-Muslims. Tell me what, just tell me what you think. So how do you solve that? How do you deal with that level of completely random violence?

A: Okay it's a fair question. Firstly I don't like being spoon fed. I want to hear from our enemy. I want to make my own mind up. I don't like being spoon fed. By...

NC: So just tell me what...

A: ...understanding. I have got no trust now.

NC: ...your decision. You have heard from your enemy because you have seen them behead people...

A: Now we have killed... hang on, hang on, you've asked me a question, allow me to answer it in my way. We have killed hundreds and hundreds of thousands of people in Iraq, okay and in Afghanistan. There are killings, what did degree of morality can we call it? Killing is killing. We have got to end the violence. Now they are our so called enemy. I want to hear from this so called enemy. We got to sit down with our enemies and we've got to talk. We have got to find a new direction.

NC: Andrew look can I just...

NF: Just a minute, as the middle man, Mr Clegg if you can give me. If you don't remember those video tapes from the man known as Jihadi John making his views perfectly clear to both the Prime Minister and President Obama. You have not been listening to them as I have. Deputy Prime Minister?

NC: No Andrew, the idea that the notion that we could sit down and talk with people who have filled our television screens and the internet with pictures of them beheading, beheading innocent people.

A: What about us beheading people from 10,000 feet with bombs, with tanks, with bullets? There has been [unclear 00:03:34] to beheading people.

NF: Let's to Mr Clegg.

NC: Andrew listen, if you are as a matter of principle a pacifist that is one thing. I am not. I don't agree with you. I am afraid regrettably I sometimes think the state needs to deploy force in order to keep us safe. But pacifism is a long standing tradition amongst some people. If that's your principle view that violence should never be deployed under any circumstances you are perfectly entitled to have that view. I disagree with it. Like any human being I wish the world was free of all violence all the time. I wish everybody were angels. I wish everybody could sit around and talk with each other as reasonable humans beings. You cannot talk to these fanatics. You cannot. They don't want to. They have made it quite clear that they regard anybody, and by the way this is really important to stress this, anybody including other people from the Muslim faith. Anyone who doesn't subscribe to their warped, perverted, extremist form of Islam and it's not Islam by the way, it's an insult to every devout Muslim the views that they hold. They slaughter them. I mean it is quite astonishing the medieval extremism with which they operate.

And here is the thing Andrew, you say that somehow this would be a divisive thing to do. Everybody across the whole world, you saw at the United Nations, are united in their view that on this at least, they believe, they all believe. Whether it's the countries in the region, whether its people in Australia, whether it's people in America, whether it's people in Europe everybody agrees we need to work together. And all that we are saying as a government and this is what we would be putting to a vote tomorrow in the House of Commons, is we are saying look, are we the United Kingdom going to play our part or not. We are not going to pretend we are going to everything everywhere. We are not going to even pretend that air strikes on their own are the solution because you also need people like the Iraqi army, like the Peshmerga in the Kurdish north of Iraq to do what they need to do on the ground. But are we at least going to play our part, provide our bit of the jigsaw to the huge international coalition which has been assembled ISIL and I unlike you Andrew think it would be quite extraordinary after we have seen if we basically said: you know what we're going to wash our hands of all of this and allow other people to do our dirty work for us.

NF: The debate... Andrew thank you. The debate that takes place tomorrow, Deputy Prime Minister, this is about authorising involvement in Iraq?

NC: Yes, not Syria.

NF: But the terrorists they are like a gorilla army. You will be aware of what I am going to say now. They will vanish like the mist and they'll pop in Syria. What happens then?

NC: So what we are choosing to do as a government as I just suggested. We are not claiming to Parliament and we are not claiming to the British people that what we are trying to do is cover all the bases in this operation. As you know there are a number of Arab countries that are taking military action in Syria as we speak and the Americans are obviously involved in that too. What we have decided is that what we put before Parliament is how we will react to the specific requests from the Iraqi government to help them in Iraq. And that's where we feel we can play a useful role, that's where we will make our contribution. But you are quite right we are being quite open about the fact there we are not pretending that we are covering every area or cover...

NF: Because they will just melt away to Syrian villages and towns won't they? But there is a danger?

NC: I think my own... No, no sure. Absolutely. My own view is that this is very typical of what modern warfare is going to look like now and in the future. Namely it is going to be conflict against stateless groups who operate across the traditional borders we have on or maps. But also that it is conflict involving a very complex web of different countries. Some of whom are actively involved, others who are involved in humanitarian operations, others who are involved in the diplomatic side of things. It is quite a complex jigsaw and I think is what was being assembled if you like in the United Nations. So every nation needs to come forward and say, what bit are you going to play? And we are choosing to say this is where we think we can play a particularly useful role militarily and that's what will be the subject of the vote tomorrow. If we were decide and I can't stress enough that's not a decision that has remotely been taken or it may never be taken. If we were to decide to play a fuller role beyond Iraq and in Syria then we would go back to Parliament for another debate and a vote. I think that's a sensible way to proceed.

NF: Do you ever see a time there might actually be British military on the ground?

NC: No. No, no, no. There will not be British combat forces on the ground. As I have just discussed with Andrew...

NF: Ever in this conflict?

NC: No absolutely not. I'll tell you why. Can all this be solved by air strikes on their own, no.

NF: No that's supposed to be my next question.

NC: No, no of course it can't. Again we have got to be open with people about what we're doing and not pretending that we are doing more than we are. This is not going to be solved all from 30,000. So of course you need a ground operation against such a violent and apparently quite well organised outfit like ISIL. I mean that's why our work with the Iraqi army, with Peshmergas as you know, we are providing arms to them. The support that's obviously been given to the Syrian opposition forces all of that plays a very important role because they are on the ground. But we are not...

NF: But regiment after regiment piling in a la Afghanistan?

NC: No, no that will not happen.

NF: Okay. We move to other calls Deputy Prime Minister.

NC: Warren in Northwood. Hello Warren.

W: Good morning Deputy Prime Minister, morning Mr Ferrari.

NF: Hello.

W: Thank you for taking my call. The question I have is: The Coalition over the last few years has been working very hard along with the people of the country to sort out the deficit, something the opposition ignored the other day.

NC: Something Ed Miliband appears to have forgotten yeah.

W: Yeah, moving on.

NC: As he did.

W: Yeah.

NC: Sorry, sorry Warren.

W: Sorry. Alright Mr Clegg. The cost to the country is going to be enormous if we enter into conflict again.

NC: Say that again Warren I missed that?

NF: The cost to the country will be enormous.

NC: The cost to the country right, right.

W: The financial costs. The financial costs to the country will be high obviously. Obviously every government has a fund to protect itself, to fight with. What is that fund, how much are you planning that this is going to cost? Is this going to enter us into another situation where we find ourselves in debt because we are fighting a war in another country? What plans do you have Mr Clegg on the cost this is going to bring?

NC: Sure, Warren, firstly I think the point you make about the deficit, and can I just, I know you don't...I know it wasn't... Can I just dwell on that for just two seconds because I have to say to you and I know this is you know... I would say this wouldn't I as a leader of a difficult political party. But I find it quite, in all the time I've been in politics, I find it quite astonishing to see the leader of a party that, by the way when they were in government, crashed the economy in the first place, choosing to forget, to even talk about what it takes to repair the damage that the wrought in the first place. Quite extraordinary.

NF: What did you take from his speech? We will come back to the costs Warren. What did you take from Mr Miliband's speech? He wandered around...

NC: Well let me answer Warren. Let me answer Warren because it is unfair to Warren. Let me first do that. Warren basically we obviously wouldn't be entering in to this and we wouldn't be putting this to Parliament if we didn't think we could cover the costs of it. And you are right there has been pressure on the defence budget but we still have a very well resourced military service including the RAF. And we think we can play our full role with the budgets if we have available to us. If we need to find more money as you know there are reserves for exceptional needs like this. But let me assure you that it won't break the bank otherwise we wouldn't proceed with it.

NF: How much is it going to cost then?

NC: Well I can't of course give a figure on that because I think it would...

NF: How do you know it won't break the bank?

NC: Well because I don't think us playing a part, as I say a part in air strikes alone in Iraq will of its own, even if it goes on for a considerable period of time which it might, that of its own is not going to...

NF: Have we got enough kit, military kit? We have been cutting the defence budget haven't we?

NC: Yeah, no. Of course you need to buy new kit if you are...

NF: But we have been having defence budget reviews.

NC: Yes.

NF: There is less money into the Ministry of Defence than ever before.

NC: Yes but we have reconfigured our armed forces precisely so they can undertake operations like this.

NF: We share an aircraft carrier with the French is that true?

NC: I was actually about to say and remember this is something, this is an operation which we will share with others. And again the days where Britain or indeed America or anybody else, any other military power charges in to another part of the world and sorts it out all on their own, they are over. Even a great American super power and I think to be fair to Obama he's come under a lot of criticism in the States. I actually think he is being very smart at taking this step by step very deliberately. Not being rushed by the hotheads who say: why have you not sorted all by last Tuesday. Not indulging in this illusion that somehow all you need to do is switch, you know push a button in the Pentagon and everything is sorted. I think he has realised rightly as we realise as well that this is part of...that the most important thing in all of this is assembling a coalition of other countries, including Arab countries. And they are undertaking military strikes themselves so it won't fall on our shoulders Warren and we wouldn't be putting this forward tomorrow if we didn't think that we could shoulder the costs of this of this operation.

NF: A quick response Warren.

W: Do you have any figures Mr Clegg. We haven't had any figures from you?

NC: No I can't give you figures because I can't... and all I can say to you is that we think that running air strikes in that part of the world is something that we can do within the...within the support we give to our military services already. But as I say we will do what it takes to make sure that we play our part. I can't give you a particular pounds and pence figure because some people say that this might take a relatively long period of time other people think it might be shorter, other people might think it should be longer. But putting a price tag on it for that reason is not something I can do but I don't think an operation like this, given that it is confined to air strikes in quite a circumscribed area alongside other countries, I think that is something we can do.

NF: Alright Warren thank you. Warren's question of course Deputy Prime Minister comes out of concern regarding the economy and we very briefly touched on that and the deficit. And Ed Miliband speech, who he talked in his speech about how likes to wander around talking to women in a park and a man in Hampstead Heath. In the old days that could get you arrested. But what did you take from that particular speech?

NC: I, what I found unusual about it, I mean the most glaring things are what it didn't say. As I say for a party that crashed the economy, for a man how never apologised for that to now show no humility at all for Labour's role in creating we have had to clear up at all, I find it... I just find it an extraordinary kind of dereliction of duty. And a sort of form of wishful thinking that somehow Labour can wash its hands of the responsibility for the problems the country has faced. But more broadly than that what I found really surprising about it was, there's lots and lots of stuff about how ghastly the Coalition is, how awful everything is and how nasty everybody is and the Coalition is rotten and duh, duh, duh. And then what were the answers? The answers were a Ministerial pay cut that we have implemented already. An extension of a child benefit, a limit on the increase in child benefit which we have introduced already which they have previously said that they would reverse and a very small additional dollop of money for the NHS which no one in the NHS think will seriously solve the problems in the NHS. And refusal to actually also talk about reform of the NHS as much as also about the crucial issue of the funding of the NHS so I just found it not only an incomplete speech but a very thin one. And I am sure he will say equally flattering things about my speech when I give it in a week or two.

NF: Good. We are all looking forward to that. I have to interrupt. You were listening to LBC News at this time, 9:15. Radical preacher Anjem Choudary is one of the nine men arrested today as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism sources are telling the Press Association. So that's Anjem Choudary, believed to be one of the nine men arrested today as part of an investigation into Islamist terrorism...we'll give you more details on that, I'm sure, in our news bulletin. If we can move to this caller...we move to the next caller, Deputy Prime Minister...where are we going?

NC: Alex, in Colindale...hello Alex.

A: Morning Deputy Prime Minister. I feel like I've just got out of the DeLorean, and I'm witnessing the alternative 2014. Because, listening to you this morning is really making my head hurt. I mean, for a start, you're justifying deploying British planes and weaponry in the Iraq region again. I'm sure if I wasn't in a dream, we were there for ten years, and we've only just got out. So you tell me what I've missed that we need to be back somewhere where we've been for the last ten years.

NC: Sure.

A: And then, my question is about Milliband's very good speech that he made this week, about the NHS, and saving the NHS. You're saying, oh we don't know if there's gonna be enough money for the NHS...there's enough money to go and bomb people in Iraq, but there's not enough money for the NHS. There's enough money...

NC: Right...

A: Hold on, let me finish my question.

NC: Yeah.

A: There's enough money to get involved, again, in an area we've been for ten years, that's after Afghanistan...god knows how much that will cost. But there's not enough money for ambulances and people's local A&Es to stay open. So what Miliband is saying is, hold on, we need to get our priorities right here. We need to get our priorities right here...and that's what that speech was about...it was about priorities.

NF: Okay, let's get an answer...I'm not cutting you off, but it's beginning to become almost Miliband-esque.

NC: Can I have a go...'cause my head's gonna start hurting, Alex...can I just say a few things. Firstly, you cannot pay for the NHS unless you have a strong economy. You know, the idea that you can pay for the NHS, out of nowhere, with no plan at all, about how to actually generate the money in the first place, is a nonsense, and everyone knows that. And that's why it's such a staggering emission, and far from...I really feel strongly about this, Alex...nonsense, that was a list of priorities. It was a list of campaign slogans based on nothing whatsoever, 'cause he doesn't have any clue...the Labour Party...about how to repair the damage.

A: Oh come on.

NC: Hang on, you talk about...let me be very specific to you, Alex, 'cause you've been quite forceful in your...

A: Yeah.

NC: Yeah, right...the NHS, he said that this is all gonna be solved with £2.5 billion...do you know what we're introducing next year...this coalition government, the much aligned coalition government...is a £3.8 billion fund, to integrate social and health care, which I think is incredibly important. We have actually, not only protected but increased NHS funding, at a time when over the last several years, the Labour Party never committed to doing so. So I just don't...I'm not gonna take any lectures from the Labour Party about what is needed to protect the NHS that we love and cherish, that I do, like everybody else. What I find just intellectually dishonest, is for Ed Milliband, or the Labour Party, to claim to you that a budget of whatever it is...is it £110 sort of billion, that is spent on the NHS every year will be solved magically by spending £2 billion extra...it won't, and nobody else in the NHS...

A: I don't think it's gonna be solved magically...hang on.

NC: No, hang on...Alex, I am perfectly entitled to say, when you're saying that I somehow don't have a clear sense of priorities...I'm perfectly entitled to say, back to you, if you don't know how to pay for things in the first place, you can't actually support the public services we all love and cherish. And on the point...

A: Hold on...

NC: ...on the point of Iraq, Alex, let me be very clear. The Labour Party, as it happens, supports the motion we're putting to the House of Commons tomorrow.

A: I know.

NC: And I think the reason why you've got cross party consensus on this, which is a welcomed thing, is this is nothing to do with the unjustified, and in my view, illegal invasion of Iraq by George Bush and Tony Blair...which by the way, my party was unique in opposing, unlike the Labour and the Conservative Parties. This is wholly, wholly different. This is about a stateless group, ISIL, who stated as their aim, the creation of a caliphate, in the middle of that region, where anyone who disagrees with them is slaughtered. That is what we're dealing with here. We're not dealing with specious claims about weapons of mass destruction in the possession of Saddam Husain.

NF: Lets get a quick response...Alex in Colindale...go ahead.

A: Couple of things, Nick. First of all on the NHS...you voted for the reform of the NHS after David Cameron said there'd be no top down reform of the NHS. So I'm afraid you're not gonna win the battle on that, people don't trust you when it comes to the NHS. And on the point you made about Iraq...yes, you were brilliant in standing up against the 2003 invasion, and you were in my top estimates in those days. But unfortunately, things have gone downhill since then. And I have to say to you, Nick, who's caused the caliphate, who's created those people. Every time we drop bombs there, we create more potential terrorists. That's the problem we've got. Every time we drop bombs there...

NC: So Alex, can I ask you the same question I asked Andrew...what would you do?

A: What would I do?

NC: Sometimes you have to take decisions in life...what would you do with people who go around slaughtering everybody in their way?

A: I'll answer the question in one sentence. Basically, you've got to leave it to the people in that region to organise. What we're doing...

NC: And they are asking our help, Alex...that's the point. The people in the region...this is the whole point...they're saying, we can't do this without your help.

A: It's all about oil, it's all about oil!

NC: No it's not!

A: The only reason we're interested in Iraq is because of oil.

NC: Alex, answer my...

A: Be honest, Nick!

NC: Alex, answer my question...I'm enjoying this...I'm asking questions. Answer my question...

NF: I'm getting a bit nervous, Mr Deputy Prime Minister, he keeps asking the callers what we're meant to do...but anyway, do go on!

NC: Answer my question, Alex...you and I may disagree, but you sound like a very decent bloke...just answer this question. If the people in the region...and this is the whole point...the Iraqi Government, and the Kurdish authorities in North Iraq said, please help us, we can't do this on our own...what do you do then...because that's actually what is at stake. Does Britain basically say, no sorry, we're not gonna lift a finger to help.

NF: Okay, just briefly, Alex, 'cause I've got so many other people to get involved.

A: I know you've got a lot of people. But I'll answer you straight away. It's simply this...you have a government that you voted in that's not legitimate. The Iraqi Government is asking you to come in, doesn't have the support of the people...that's why so many of them are part of ISIL. You see, you're playing with fire in a region you do not understand.

NF: Alright, quick response, or shall we move on?

NC: Very, very quick response, Alex. Which is, the composition of the Iraqi Government is actually incredibly important, and what I do accept, and I think everyone has said this. Is that the previous Iraqi Government, run by Mr Maliki, did very, very badly in reaching out to the Suni community in Iraq and elsewhere, and did cause a lot of grief...I think that is a perfectly legitimate point to make. The whole point about the new government, after Mr Maliki left, is precisely that it is seeking to represent all of Iraq. And that new government, constituted on a much more sort of plural, generous basis, if you like, than Mr Maliki's outgoing administration, have said, please, outside world, help us, we cannot govern ourselves, we cannot provide the peace and prosperity we want for our own people without your help. And my question is...and we probably have to call it a day, Alex, between you and I right now, is...if someone in the region asks for your help, do we, as the British people say, do you know what, we're not gonna lift a finger to help, or not. I think we should play our part.

NF: Lets get other questions via emails. Jim in Acton says, there's a Latvian suspect in connection with the disappearance of Alice Gross. Nick Clegg, you are a convicted European...how come a murderer is allowed to get into this country?

NC: I mean, I strongly agree with...

NF: We should stress he is a suspect, by the way...just so we make that all clear Deputy Prime Minister.

NC: Yeah, but I mean, where I totally agree with Jim, I think this has really, really shocked people, this...I mean, my heart obviously goes out to the family and friends of Alice, who's now gone missing for such a long period of time. And as you say, nothing's been sort of proved, but you know, the finger of suspicion is pointing very clearly at this Latvian individual. Jim's question is, well why did we not know that he...

NF: Yes, how did he get in...he murdered his wife.

NC: Yes, well I think what we need to just solve this, is that where someone has been convicted of a crime, elsewhere in the European Union...because of course, once people are released from prison, when they've done their time, just like a Brit, once they've been released from prison, they can travel to other countries. It's not a sort of...you're not released from prison and have a travel ban, that doesn't...well, other than in very exceptional circumstances...that doesn't happen. So it's not a new problem.

NF: So what do we do?

NC: So what we need to do is we need to provide much, much more information, and this is a real failing in the European Union, that the countries in the European Union don't sent automatically much more information to each other, about individuals who have a serious criminal record, even if they've done their time. And that can easily be fixed by probation authorities and the police and criminal justice authorities, just pooling a lot more information. You can create databases about, and you can decide, for instance, which crimes you have on that database, or for what period of time, after the sentence has been served.

NF: You wouldn't have more robust checks at the point of entry, as in Australia or the US?

NC: Well look, my own...

NF: There's no way I'd get into the US if I'd murdered my wife.

NC: My own view is that I don't think we're gonna solve the problem by just suddenly saying no one can come into this country and we just restore all the...

NF: I didn't say that, Deputy Prime Minister, I said more robust checks.

NC: Well, we have this principle, that as you know, there are lots of British people who live, and travel, and work abroad, in the European Union...about roughly the same number of Brits enjoy that side of freedom.

NF: We can abide by that, I'm happy to do whatever I do when I go to Spain, if I want to go and live there.

NC: Yeah, but you want it checked...

NF: Sure, I don't have a problem with that.

NC: And what I think you can do, is you can protect the freedom to move across the European Union, whilst also protecting our safety, by knowing who has a crime against their name. So that people can be checked as they move across the European Union...that's what's lacking. And that's why we're doing a lot of work, and the Home Office is doing a lot of work with other European Governments...and thankfully, the Latvians as well, are very keen to do this...to push a decision in the European Union as a whole, so that far more information is pulled in the future.

NF: Toby, in Leicester...how much trouble is the Prime Minister in for making that remark about the Queen, and as you've met her, does she really purr like a cat?

NC: Toby, I think the Prime Minister has spoken for himself, and I think it would be unfair of me to try and provide a running commentary!

NF: One last email...Angela Eagle...this is Graham in Bushey, sorry...Angela Eagle, the Shadow Commons Leader said this week at a Fringe meeting, you, Nick Clegg, held the Labour Party in such contempt you're not capable of forming a coalition with them...is she right?

NC: I didn't know that. Well, I think to be fair, to me, the Labour Party have been pretty vituperative about the Liberal Democrats going into coalition with the Conservatives, as if we've sort of committed some moral sin. The bit where I do feel pretty, yeah, pretty steamed up about the Labour Party, is that they're terribly sanctimonious about all the things that go wrong...you know, the piety that we heard this week, everything, you know. And yet they still won't admit, first their responsibility for creating so much of the mess in the first place, and secondly, if you don't have a clear plan about how to actually create jobs, and create tax revenues, and get the wheels of the economy moving, nothing else is possible.

NF: But you two couldn't be bedfellows...

NC: Listen, as I've always said...I am in coalition now, right now, with a party who I oppose ferociously on a whole range of issues. I so happen to have this unfashionable view that politicians should work across party boundaries. And if that's what the British people...those are the instructions of the British people, they were last time, and if they are next time, the Liberal Democrats will try and play our part. But I'm not gonna sort of brush under the carpet that I'm, you know...in the same way that I fervently disagree with the way that I think the Conservatives can be quite kind of heartless and unfair about things, I also firmly disappear with the way that Labour is so economically incompetent.

NF: Alright, you're not answering either way, but I respect that. Let's move on...we must get some more calls.

NC: Ali, in Acton...hello Ali.

Ali: Hi Nick. My question to you is this. Why do we not learn from the lessons of history? Stanley Frederick Maude landed in Basra in 1917, and made a speech in Baghdad..."We come as liberators, not as occupiers. And the Middle East was carved up [unclear 00:27:20], and you have the mess that you have. Gulf War One, Gulf War Two...the truth is that this is just meddling criminality on the part of politicians like you, who encourage the circumstances which then reciprocate interference or invasion. And secondly, you know, in comparison to ISIL, who are a murderous organisation for the caliphate, would be like me saying North Korea is democratic, the Democratic People's Republic of North Korea. Therefore I will tarnish Britain with the same brush. People like you have gone to expensive schools, no history better than that, don't you?

NC: Well Ali, look, where I...of course, I disagree with the thrust of what you're saying about what we're proposing now. But where I think I do agree with you is that the days that the West, if you like, can intervene into a region as complex as...indeed, any region in the world, but certainly as complex as Iraq and Syria and so on, and sort of sort things out for the people there themselves...that sort of rather imperial view of the world, I agree with you, is completely wrong. It's one of the many reasons why I so strongly opposed the military intervention back many years ago, when George Bush and Tony Blair went to war in Iraq. However, the reason...and I sought to stress this before...the reason why I think this is so different, is this in response to an explicit request by the governments there, on the front line. Ali, you say that I don't know my history...I suspect you don't know what it is like to be the government in Baghdad trying to govern the country of Iraq. They are saying, we cannot keep ourselves safe, or keep this country whole, without outside help. And I agree with you..if that request had not been there, or if other countries in the region, and there are, as you know, a number of countries from the Arab world, who are already military active in this operation. If they had not also, in a sense, been leading the way, I think it would have been inappropriate for us to take action. Because then it would have appeared at least, which of course is exactly what the ISIL propaganda wants to claim, to be some great, you know, West versus the rest conflict. But I stress again, we're doing so in support of countries in the region who have asked for our support. And then the moral question becomes, when someone asks for your help, it's quite a sort of heavy moral burden to then explain why you would not help if you can help.

NF: Alright, lets...we've got time, we're nearly there. So one call, one email, and perhaps one observation from me. Final call for today, Deputy Prime Minister if you would, have you got...

NC: Claire in Reigate. Hello Claire.

C: Hi.

NC: Hello.

C: What do you think of Abu Qatada being released in Jordan?

NC: Well, I can't, Claire, of course, second guess the Jordanian Courts...they didn't find him guilty for the offence he was in Court for. But as Theresa May has said quite clearly, he's not gonna travel back here, he's not gonna come back here.

C: Can you confirm that?

NC: Yes.

NF: Absolutely, there's no way he'll get in the country, Claire. I will pay your mortgage if he comes back to the country...there you are, you couldn't have better than that.

NC: You have the Ferrari guarantee, Claire!

NF: Sharon in Poplar...now you may not be aware of this, Deputy Prime Minister...this has got a lot of conversation. Let me pass you this...an exhibition depicting slavery has been cancelled because it could appear racist, says Sharon in Poplar...surely this is the sort of thing we need to educate our children. Now this story has really blown up, it was taking place, it was curated by the Barbican Museum, it was down at Waterloo Station. Protestors say black actors were wearing hideous face masks, and were re-enacting some of the gravest moments of slavery. Around 200 black campaigners have said it was inappropriate, and it was verging on racism itself. People such as Salman Rushdie, and Lemn Sissay are saying this is censorship, and people need to see it...it's almost like learning about the Holocaust, the same. We've had a lot of conversation about this, Deputy Prime Minister. I realise this is coming to you fresh, you probably haven't had sight of it yet. The top of your head, I would sense you would have concerns about any form of censorship.

NC: Yes, I mean, I need to look at it. So with all those kind of caveats, as a Liberal, I just intuitively think, sometimes, holding up an uncomfortable mirror about the past, and about history, is a very important thing to do to understand...

NF: Isn't this what the Auschwitz Museum is all about, effectively...that schoolchildren can go there and see the horrors.

NC: Yes, I have been with a large number of schoolchildren, to visit Auschwitz myself...it was one of the most moving things I've ever...and of course, one of the most harrowing things I've ever experienced. But to see it from the point of view of the children...I mean, very extreme emotions, real distress in the children was provoked. But you know, we can't shield ourselves from some of the very uncomfortable truths of what's happened, not only in the past, but also in the present. And you know, as a sort of matter of principle, I just kind of think, you need to be really, really cautious not to close down uncomfortable public displays, exhibitions, pronouncements...even if you violently disagree with them...because that's what being part of a free society is all about. It's also, of course, essential to understand who we are, and to understand...So I mean, look, I think my knee jerk response would be, I'd have to look at it. I'm assuming the curators...I read here immediately, for instance, there's a Stella Ulami, a black British actress from East London said that to call it racist is insane, it looks at the tools that we use to degrade and humiliate people. And my instinct would be that she is right.

NF: Okay. Last question from me...will you speak without notes?

NC: No, no, I'll be speaking with the safety, the trapeze safety of an autocue system.

NF: It doesn't make sense to me, that's the way I do it, that's why they were invented, I would suggest.

NC: But I have no autocue this morning.

NF: You have no autocue whatsoever.

NC: I've been hands free this morning.

NF: And I have to say this, whenever I interview him, he has no idea of the questions, he has no sight of the questions, he simply calls a name, and then he takes it, and he bats it down the park. He doesn't do badly. It's Call Clegg, it's here on LBC with Nick Clegg, Deputy Prime Minister. Thank you.

NC: Thank you.

NF: News is next.