Page last updated at 11:55 GMT, Saturday, 24 April 2010 12:55 UK

Nick Clegg reunited with sons stranded by volcano ash

Nick Clegg: "There is going to be a new phase in the campaign now"

Nick Clegg is taking a day off from campaigning after being reunited with his sons who had been stuck in Spain as a result of the volcanic ash cloud.

The Lib Dem leader's three boys, aged one to eight, had been unable to return from their Easter break as planned on Saturday because flights were grounded.

They had been staying with the family of Mr Clegg's wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, in Olmedo.

Mr Clegg said Friday was the first time he had seen them for three weeks.

While campaigning in Norwich, he said: "I'm going to take a small break off from the campaign... three weeks is too long."

Antonio, eight, Alberto, five, and one-year-old Miguel, travelled back to London by Eurostar train. Their planned flight had been among thousands across Europe grounded because of the ash pumped out by Iceland's Eyjafjallajokull volcano.

'A new phase'

Mr Clegg had frequently spoken of how much he was missing them during his campaign visits.

On Thursday, he told members of a Bristol parent and toddler group: "It pulls at my heart strings to be here because I'm still waiting to be reunited with my own children."

As he returned from a trip to the shops with his wife on Saturday Mr Clegg told waiting reporters that it was "absolutely wonderful" to have his sons back at home.

Mr Clegg added that he would return to full time campaigning on Sunday, predicting there was going to be "a new phase" in the election campaign.

"People are going to start focusing on what the different political parties say and ask very practical questions: who's going to help me, who's going to help my family?

"I'm absolutely confident that our policies on fairer taxes, on getting the banks lending again, on more affordable housing, on fairness in class - smaller class sizes -- in our schools, that provides the practical hope that I think so many people are looking for."

Meanwhile, on a sunny mid-campaign Saturday in southern England, Tory leader David Cameron was also set to focus on his family in the afternoon when he attends his sister's wedding.

Ahead of the ceremony he unveiled electoral reform policies at a morning campaign event in Essex.



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