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Page last updated at 13:10 GMT, Wednesday, 21 April 2010 14:10 UK

Tory Ken Clarke reveals link with Nick Clegg's father

Ken Clarke
Mr Clarke is fighting his 11th general election

Ken Clarke has revealed that he used to work with the father of Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg.

The veteran Tory politician said he encountered Nick Clegg senior when they were both working for a Japanese bank and said the two had got on well.

However, he suggested that the elder Mr Clegg was a Conservative and that his son should have followed suit.

Instead, he said Nick Clegg had got involved in what were the "strange wastelands of Lib Dem politics".

'Nice guy'

Mr Clarke was asked about his link with Nick Clegg's father at a press conference in London and whether he could also envisage working with his son in future.

Opinion polls suggesting no party will win an outright victory at the election on 6 May has triggered speculation that parties are already discussing possible arrangements to form a government - claims denied by the parties themselves.

The shadow business secretary confirmed that he had come across Mr Clegg senior when he was running the European arm of Japanese bank Daiwa and Mr Clarke was an adviser to the firm.

"He is a very nice, wise guy. He was a very successful City man but not a flashy City man," Mr Clarke said. "I liked him. As a person, I like Nick Clegg."

But he added: "It would have been better if Nick Clegg had stuck with the political principles and wisdom of his father. Nick must regret sometimes having gone off into the strange wastelands of Liberal Democrat politics.

"When he faces a Liberal assembly, I fear that the young Nick Clegg must occasionally think 'if only I had gone in for serious politics' as I think his father would have preferred."

The Lib Dems have come under fire from both Labour and the Conservatives after they enjoyed a bounce in the polls after last week's prime ministerial TV debate.

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