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Nick Clegg: Access to qualified teacher 'a basic right'

Children have "a basic right" to a qualified teacher and core curriculum, even if they are attending a free school or academy, according to the Deputy Prime Minister.

Nick Clegg said the Liberal Democrats wanted more qualified teachers in free schools and academies.

Liberal Democrats want more teachers and schools to enjoy freedom from Whitehall diktats.

But that does not mean parents and children should not have some basic safeguards.

There is no reason why a child attending an academy or free school should not enjoy the same basic right to be taught by a qualified teacher or to follow a core curriculum as any other child.

These changes will guarantee parents that, whichever school their child attends; they will enjoy a world-class education that will help them fulfil their potential.

– Nick Clegg

Jamie Oliver issues obesity challenge to Clegg

Jamie Oliver has challenged Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to make a personal commitment to reducing childhood obesity by 5% within five years.

The celebrity chef issued the challenge in a recorded message on the Lib Dem leader's Call Clegg radio show on LBC.

Clegg said that his pledge of free school meals for young pupils should help improve children's diets, but declined to commit himself to a particular target.

In his message, Oliver claimed anything less than 5% would be "morally wrong."

Asked if he would back the target, Clegg said, "Whether it's 5%, whether it's 7%, I can't pluck a percentage out of thin air. Maybe we should go for more than 5%."

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Nick Clegg: Queen's Speech about securing the recovery

Nick Clegg has said the Queen's Speech was about securing the economic recovery and giving everyone in the UK the opportunity to "get on in life".

In a video message, the Deputy Prime Minister pointed to policies such as subsidised childcare, pension reforms and building more energy-efficient homes as examples of how the Government is helping ordinary families.

Read; Pension reforms announced in Queen's Speech 2014

Clegg & Cable share a pint a week after Oakeshott poll

Nick Clegg shared a drink today with Business secretary Vince Cable, a week after an internal party poll was leaked to the Guardian, suggesting the Liberal Democrat leader would lose his seat in 2015.

Lord Oakeshott, who has now resigned from the Liberal Democrats, privately commissioned surveys in several constituencies that showed a collapse in support for the party since 2010.

Both visited a local pub today, to highlight new government legislation to help pub landlords tackle unfair treatment from pub companies.

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable enjoy a pint together to promote new legislation for publicans. Credit: ITV News

Asked if the pub meeting was a show of Liberal Democrat unity within the party, Clegg said:

"No, Vince and I have worked together for years as party colleagues, as old friends and will continue to do so.

"We have had a really difficult time of it but we are determined to work together to learn any lessons. I think the team is very united."

More: Clegg insists Cable 'was not aware' of Oakeshott poll

Ashdown warns Lib Dems 'stop it now' after plot

Former Lib Dem leader Lord Ashdown warned the party to "stop it now" after a "plot of deep malice" to remove Nick Clegg was revealed.

Lord Ashdown told the BBC's Andrew Marr Show, "Anything you do now which is not getting out on the street, campaigning in the context of the next General Election ... is distraction and a dangerous distraction."

Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on The Andrew Marr Show.
Former Lib Dem leader Paddy Ashdown on The Andrew Marr Show. Credit: BBC/The Andrew Marr Show

He said the Lib Dems have to "get out and start campaigning for the next election" following disappointing results at the local and European elections.

Read: Clegg insists Cable was 'not aware' of Oakeshott poll

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Clegg calls death sentence a 'breach of human rights'

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has called the sentence of a pregnant Sudanese woman to death for abandoning Islam "abhorrent", saying it was a "flagrant breach of international human rights".

"This case is a grave violation of the basic right and freedom to practice one's religion," he told The Times (£).

More: Cameron urges Sudan to lift 'barbaric' death sentence

Clegg 'knew about Lord Rennard's apology weeks ago'

Nick Clegg saw Lord Rennard's apology to four women weeks ago, but it was not released as the former Lib Dem chief executive did not want to damage the party in the run-up to last week's elections, a friend of the peer has claimed.

Lord Carlile told BBC Radio 4's The World At One: "Lord Rennard was absolutely very concerned personally not to do any possible damage to the party in the run-up to last week's local and European elections.

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg. Credit: Dave Thompson/PA Wire

"So although this apology was seen for example by the party leader [Mr Clegg] weeks ago now it was held back until the elections were over."

Asked if Mr Clegg told Lord Rennard to hold the apology back, Lord Carlile replied, "No, no, no, absolutely not. Chris Rennard went absolutely out of his way to ensure and try and make it absolutely clear that nothing further should happen in this case until after the elections."

Nick Clegg defiant as he appears on stormy front page

Nick Clegg has sent out a defiant message that he will "fight back" as he is pictured in a "political storm" on the front page of Sheffield's The Star newspaper.

The Star tweeted a preview of the dramatic front page a day before it hits the news stands:

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Read the exclusive interview with Nick Clegg on his 'tough week' and his election reaction only in tomorrow's Star http://t.co/1QbK0ZTAEz

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Mr Clegg has faced a failed attempt to oust him as Liberal Democrat leader in the aftermath of the party's dreadful showings in the recent local and European elections, amid doubts he can retain his own Sheffield Hallam seat at next year's election.

Read: Clegg is safe but the Lib Dems might not be

Clegg is safe but the Lib Dems may not be

by - Deputy Political Editor
File photo dated 24/09/2012 of Vince Cable (left) and Nick Clegg. Credit: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire

By Chris Ship, ITV News Deputy Political Editor

Within the Liberal Democrats, Nick Clegg personally is pretty safe. His chief potential rivals - Vince Cable, Tim Farron and perhaps Danny Alexander - have all had to row in behind Mr Clegg and say how much they support him.

Where does it leave the Liberal Democrats in the country after the terrible showing in the local and European elections last week?

I don't think they are in a very good place at all.

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