Nick Clegg has previously admitted behaving “appallingly, irresponsibly, criminally” in torching two greenhouses of rare plant specimens in the early 1980s — but seems loathe to discuss the issue in the aftermath of riots which saw multiple incidents of arson.
A local radio host put the deputy prime minister on the spot over the incident, which occurred when Clegg was an exchange student in Germany, stating “you’ve got a record of this sort of thing”. Clegg paused before blustering his response:
“I just … sorry … The idea that this has any relationship with in Nottingham or other cities … The full force of the law must be brought to bear right on top of [people involved in recent disturbances]”
But while Clegg counsels that young arsonists should be prosecuted to the fullest extent possible, this didn’t apply to the Liberal Democrat leader. While the BBC has reported that Clegg was “convicted of arson”, the Daily Mail claims that the owner of the greenhouses “was somehow persuaded not to press charges”.
It isn’t just the Bullingdon boys that got away with it.