Nick Clegg: 'I'm not a true atheist'


Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has revealed that he is not an atheist and that he is still searching for religion.

The Lib Dem leader, whose wife is Catholic and whose children are being raised in the Church, was asked in a radio interview in 2007 if he believed in God and he said "no".

But in the latest interview, with Nick Ferrari on Classic FM, he said he never had been a true atheist.

"I'm actually not and never have been a rigid atheist. I was asked once, do I know whether God exists or not, and I'm actually quite agnostic. I don't know.

"I very, very strongly believe we are spiritual beings. I do believe in a spiritual side of human existence. I also believe in the huge importance of it. I just happen not to be a sort of man of faith and, in one sense, I regard that as much as a fact as a shortcoming.

"So I'm not a practising Catholic but I would describe myself more as searching rather than being absolutely fixed in my certainties about what does or doesn't exist. And I like to think that's actually what most open-minded people are."

The couple have given their three sons a Catholic upbringing at the request of his Spanish wife Miriam. Clegg goes to Mass each week with his family.

In the same interview Clegg spoke of a desire to take up the drums again, and how he wanted to do more to promote the teaching of music and arts in schools.

"I think there is a great deal of fantastic music and arts across the school system. Some schools do it better than others, frankly, and some schools have had to make savings on sports and music and so on."

"It's why I'm so anxious that now we're finally getting through this pretty rocky phase of having to balance the books, to be really clear with schools and nurseries and colleges that they can plan with peace of mind for the future."

He is also into kickboxing, and can't help imagining that he's throwing his punches at Ed Balls: "I go to the gym once a week - six o'clock in the morning, usually on a Monday, and there's a wonderful bloke who used to be a very professional kickboxer and he puts me through my paces. But I'm no good at it." He added: "I try not to put a face on the things that I'm striking with my feet and my hands... Well, sometimes Ed Balls might flicker through my imagination."

Nick Ferrari is also interviewing Labour leader Ed Miliband at 7pm on 29 April on Classic FM.