NICK Clegg has cut short a skiing holiday in Switzerland after he was quoted saying he “forgot” he was running the country while Prime Minister David Cameron was away.
The Deputy Prime Minister was left red-faced after a free newspaper quoted a “throwaway line” made at the end of an interview.
Asked if he was in charge of the country, Mr Clegg was quoted as saying: “I suppose I am. I forgot about that.”
He added: “I’m holding the fort but I’m hoping to take the end of the week off with my kids. Someone else will have to do it then. It sounds more haphazard than it probably is.”
Mr Clegg travelled to Switzerland on Tuesday to join his family on holiday.
He was due to return on Sunday but cut short his break yesterday to travel back to London in time to attend a meeting of the National Security Council about the Libyan crisis this morning.
Michael Dugher, the Labour MP for Barnsley East, said Mr Clegg was “clueless”.
But a spokeswoman for the Hallam MP said suggestions he was not taking the job seriously were “completely ridiculous” and “silly”.
Mr Cameron has also returned to Downing Street after a controversial tour of the Middle East.
The PM was yesterday quizzed about Mr Clegg’s comments and insisted he remains fully “in charge” when he is out of the country.
He said: “I’m not absent, that is the way Government works. In the age of the BlackBerry, the telephone, the internet, just because I leave the country doesn’t mean I am not in charge.”