Clegg: Saatchi assault 'could be a fleeting thing'

The Deputy Prime Minister has risked criticism after using the word "fleeting" to describe an incident of alleged domestic violence between Nigella Lawson and her husband Charles Saatchi.

Asked on his LBC radio phone-in what his reaction would have been if he had been present during the alleged altercation, Nick Clegg urged caution because the details of the incident, for which Saatchi accepted a police caution for assault, were not clear.

"When you see a couple having an argument, most people just assume that the couple will resolve it themselves," Mr Clegg said.

"If, of course, something descends into outright violence then that's something different.

"I just don't know - there was this one photograph - whether that was a fleeting thing."

He admitted he had not realised there were more photographs and said that generally his instinct would be to protect the weaker person if physically threatened.

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Saatchi and Nigella divorce

Nigella Lawson and Charles Saatchi have declared that neither of them will make a financial claim against the other in their divorce proceedings.