The Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has admitted that he once left his principles behind in a pub.

Having become a Liberal Democrat MEP in 1999, Clegg's principles were only 11 years old at the time of the incident, which took place in May 2010.

"One day, he was a centrist liberal - the next, he had simply left his principles behind," said one party insider. "As far as I know, he didn't go back to collect them."

While Clegg's admission has prompted some derision, others have been lining up to offer their sympathy for what they're calling "a very human error".

"It's a very common thing to do. I don't think we should be too hard on him," said former Labour, and now Tory, supporter Michael Caine.

While admitting that privately, Clegg was "a little bit upset" at the time - mainly because the move "made him unpopular" - his spokesman said: "People forget their principles all the time - especially in politics. The Deputy Prime Minister has entirely recovered from the incident."

Loading Slideshow...
  • A worker (R) repairs a giant statue, damage during the military crackdown on Red Shirt protesters on May 2010, displayed at a shopping mall in Bangkok on June 12, 2012. More than 90 people, mostly civilians, were killed and nearly 1,900 were wounded during the April and May 2010 rallies, which drew about 100,000 'Red Shirt' demonstrators at their peak. (Photo credit: PORNCHAI KITTIWONGSAKUL/AFP/GettyImages)

  • A US soldier takes part in a landing operation during the multinational exercise "BALTOPS 2012" on June 11, 2012 in Nemirseta (Palangos Distr.). BALTOPS 2012 involved seven NATO countries - Lithuania, Estonia, the United States, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany. During BALTOPS 2012, military forces will conduct joint maritime, air and land operations in the Baltic Sea region. (Photo credit: PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Afghan women and children enter FOB (Forward Operating Base) Jackson also known as Sabit Khadam during seeds distribution organized by US Marines Female Engagement Team (FET) from the 1st battalion 7th Marines Regiment in Sangin on June 12, 2012. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 US and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. (Photo credit: ADEK BERRY/AFP/GettyImages)

  • An Afghan woman waits at FOB (Forward Operating Base) Jackson also known as Sabit Khadam during seeds distribution organized by US Marines Female Engagement Team (FET) from the 1st battalion 7th Marines Regiment in Sangin on June 12, 2012. The US-led war in Afghanistan has cost the lives of around 3,000 US and allied troops, seen thousands of Afghans killed and cost hundreds of billions of dollars. (Photo credit: ADEK BERRY/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Japanese (L) and Australian fans wait for kick-off before the Australia versus Japan 2014 World Cup qualifying match played in Brisbane, on June 12, 2012. (Photo credit: WILLIAM WEST/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Protesters attempt march towards the US embassy to mark the 114th anniversary of the Philippines' declaration of independence from Spain, in Manila on June 12, 2012. The protesters called for genuine independence and accused Philippine President Benigno Aquino of subservience to the US and also called for redistribution of land to farmers. (Photo credit: JAY DIRECTO/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Lithuania's army troops conduct a landing operation during the multinational exercise 'BALTOPS 2012' on June 11, 2012 in Nemirseta (Palangos Distr.). BALTOPS 2012 involved seven NATO countries - Lithuania, Estonia, the United States, Latvia, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany. During BALTOPS 2012, military forces will conduct joint maritime, air and land operations in the Baltic Sea region. (Photo credit: PETRAS MALUKAS/AFP/GettyImages)

  • Fans of the Los Angeles Kings celebrate their hockey teams' winning of the Stanley Cup over the New Jersey Devils in game six of the NHL championship series outside Staples Center in Los Angeles, Monday, June 11, 2012. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Grant Hindsley)

  • Myanmar who live in Malaysia cries during a protests in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, Tuesday, June 12, 2012. About 600 Rohingya peoples from Myanmar protests near US and British embassy to seek help to save the Rohingya peoples in Arakan state in Myanmar and to end humanitarian crisis. (Photo credit: AP Photo/ Vincent Thian)

  • Law enforcement officials search a home in Montgomery, Ala., Monday, June 11, 2012. Authorities searching for the man charged with fatally shooting three people near Auburn University swarmed the house Monday where they believe he's hiding, firing tear gas and sending a tactical team on cautious forays inside. (Photo credit: AP Photo/Dave Martin)