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Last Updated: Wednesday, 19 September 2007, 14:55 GMT 15:55 UK
Clegg 'not proud' of conviction
Nick Clegg
Mr Clegg said everyone had 'blemishes' in their past
Lib Dem home affairs spokesman Nick Clegg has owned up to a criminal past.

As a 16-year-old exchange student in Munich, he was given community service after setting fire to a rare collection of cacti in a "drunken prank".

Mr Clegg - whose leadership ambitions have been the talk of the party's conference in Brighton - made his admission at a fringe meeting.

He later told the BBC he was "not proud" of the incident, which saw him digging gardens as a punishment.

When he returned to England, he was ordered to spend the holidays - and a lot of money - finding the cacti he had destroyed and sending them on to the German professor whose collection he had ruined.

Speaking to BBC2's Daily Politics Conference Special, Mr Clegg said: I did some damage to some plants. I am not proud of it. I think we all have blemishes in our past."


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