BBC Home
Explore the BBC
Last Updated: Wednesday, 2 April 2008, 11:22 GMT 12:22 UK
How private should politicians keep their lives?
By Rajini Vaidyanathan
Newsbeat politics reporter

He has admitted he has slept with "no more than" 30 women, and that he is not "particularly brilliant or particularly bad". Sound like one of your mates chatting down the pub? Surely not the sort of conversation you would expect from a politician?

Nick Clegg

Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg was the one giving the answers, as part of an interview he did with Piers Morgan for GQ magazine.

As well as commenting on his, erm, prowess he talks frankly about his love for his wife Miriam.

In the interview, Clegg says he had been in love twice before meeting her.

When pushed on the subject of his previous relationships he said he had had "no more than 30" partners, adding, when asked, that he had "of course" had complaints about his performance in the past.

How revealing are you?

This latest political confession raises the question of whether we want to be hearing that sort of detail from our politicians.

It might not seem out of place for you to get personal with your mates, but when it comes to an elected official, there are some things we would rather not know?

I don't think I am particularly brilliant or particularly bad [in bed], since the only judge of that is my wife
Nick Clegg talking to GQ magazine
At the Prime Minister's press conference I put this very question to Gordon Brown.

Did he think that Nick Clegg's answers were appropriate, or is it good that politicians can show they are as real as the rest of us?

Gordon Brown did not give me much of an answer.

He said: "He taught me another lesson. Not to talk about these things at all."

That said, Gordon Brown has made some interesting admissions in his past, even if not so intimate.

An interview with New Woman magazine when he was Chancellor is probably one he would rather forget.

Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown has admitted he likes Sheffield band the Arctic Monkeys
The woman's glossy asked him a few personal questions including whether he knew what a rabbit was (not the furry variety), and it is where he talked about liking the Arctic Monkeys saying their music "really wakes you up in the morning".

Mentioning the Sheffield band stuck with him for sometime.

Was this a desperate attempt to look cool?

When Gordon Brown spoke to Newsbeat that year he told us he did indeed own the album but hit back at critics who claimed he was jumping on the bands bandwagon.

Embarrassing pasts

Admitting you like a band is of course a bit different from confessing you had, say a bit of a colourful past.

In an interview in 2000, William Hague, who used to be leader of the Conservatives, confessed that as a teenager in Yorkshire he drank 14 pints a day.

David Cameron
Tory leader David Cameron refuses to admit if he took Class A drugs
But the party's leader, David Cameron has refused to be drawn on questions about whether he took Class A drugs his past.

All he has said on the matter is that he has done things he "shouldn't have" and that politicians are entitled to a "private past".

He said: "I did lots of things before I came into politics which I shouldn't have done. We all did."

Other politicians have been more candid about their previous drug use.

Home Secretary Jacqui Smith is one of a number who's admitted to taking cannabis as a student.

Double standards or just real people

Is talking about drink, sex and maybe even drugs a bad thing for politicians to do?

Many argue that it just shows that politicians are real like the rest of us.

They fall in love, go out, have fun and make mistakes just like the rest of us.

But others argue that because they hold such an important position of responsibility they have standards to uphold.

MPs are called right honourable members of parliament, but what is defined as "right" or "honourable" in this day and age could be up for debate.

How politicians are using the internet
Friday, 29 February 2008, 09:27 GMT |  The P Word
Is immigration good for the UK?
Tuesday, 1 April 2008, 14:36 GMT |  The P Word
Q&A: European Union reform treaty
Tuesday, 4 March 2008, 17:35 GMT |  The P Word
2008: The political year ahead
Monday, 14 January 2008, 11:01 GMT |  The P Word

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.