UNITED KINGDOM – A surprise deadline day transfer has seen Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg leave the coalition government and sign for West Ham United on a season long loan.
The deal, said to be worth nothing, will see the Liberal Democrat leader join the Hammers after a disappointing two years at Downing Street.
His exit brings an end to a hectic day of deadline day transfers made by Prime Minister David Cameron in a bid to reshuffle his struggling cabinet.
Wheeling and Dealing
In addition to the transfer of Jeremy Hunt to health Secretary and Baroness Warsi to Foreign Office Minister, Mr Cameron has also brought in Michael Owen on a pay as you play contract. A deal similar to the one the PM has with many conservative donors.
Owen, a free agent since being released by Manchester United, said he looked forward to joining Parliament where he would be able to sit on a back bench for long periods of time.
But it’s the departure of Nick Clegg from west to east London that has caught the majority of the headlines.
Clegg signed for the coalition in 2012 on what has since been described as a “crazy day” in the General Election that saw him join the government in a five year deal.
However, he could not cement his place in Westminster after failing to live up to his pre-election promise and has since fallen down the pecking order behind George Osborne, Samantha Cameron, Rupert Murdoch and Daughter Nancy Cameron when it comes to making effective government policy decisions.
“Nick understood that chances here would be few and far between if he stayed,” explained David Cameron. “I would have made sure of it.”
Privately it’s understood Clegg’s preference was to stay with the coalition and fight for his place, but George Osborne made clear “we can no longer afford to keep him on the bench,” blaming the recession and slow Eurozone growth.
This morning, Clegg said: I’m the same as any politician who got massively lucky and found himself in an unexplained position of power. I want to be setting policy week in week out.”
“Unfortunately the gaffer said my chances would be limited here, especially with the arrival of Nancy. That happens and I have to accept it. That’s government.”
West Ham manager Sam Allardyce was thrilled with his new arrival who he believes will improve his team’s chances of a top ten finish.
“Cleggy’s just the kind of person we need. He has European experience and his ability to hold the line with no support is second to none.”