Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is set for a stormy ride in Sheffield ahead of the next election – but has insisted he would never use his wife to boost his chances.
In their first official joint interview. the Sheffield Hallam MP and Liberal Democrat party leader said that he would not rely on Miriam González Durántez’s popularity and public connection to enhance his own ambitions.
Recent polls have suggested it will be a close result in the constituency, with Labour’s Oliver Coppard hoping to win the key seat, while the coalition Government’s future is also unclear.
Mr Clegg told Red magazine: “We’re husband and wife. I don’t think of Miriam as some sort of PR seesaw. It would never occur to me.”
The couple met as students in Bruges, Belgium, and recently celebrated their 14th wedding anniversary.
Mrs González Durántez – partner of an international law firm and campaigner – said the secret to a happy marriage was ‘laughing a lot and having big arguments’.
The 46-year-old, who was born in Valladolid, Spain, said: “If you can get over that before you go to bed, that’s fine.”
Discussing when they first met, Mr Clegg, 47, said: “It was total thunderbolt stuff, it really was. She was wearing this dark green velvet thing. And had what I thought were these quite funny sort of brogue shoes on. And I was this pimply Brit, trying to impress her.
“I love everything obvious about Miriam – intelligence, humour, beauty, the lot.”
The couple have three young sons and split childcare responsibilities, insisting on being home every evening.
Mrs González Durántez said: “Something has to give. You can do children and work, but you can’t do children, work and socialising.
“My boys have the right to their innocence, to their life. It was a big decision to stay living in Putney, rather than moving to Whitehall. We knew it had some minuses, but it was the best thing for the children.”
Mrs González Durántez has also launched an Inspiring Women campaign to link teenage girls with older female role models.
She said: “I feel terribly indebted to the previous generation of women in my country. They couldn’t have a current account, couldn’t travel without the permission of their husbands. It was my mother’s generation that jumped forwards.
“Things I take for granted in my life didn’t happen by chance; they happened because many people made an effort.”
n The full interview appears in the February issue of Red, on sale now.