PARENTS

Nick Clegg: 'I Have Never Smacked My Kids - But I Won't Condemn Mary Berry For Hitting Hers'

14/08/2014 16:56 | Updated 22 May 2015

Nick Clegg and his wife Miriam Gonzales Durantez

Nick Clegg has revealed he has never smacked his own children, but refused to criticise Great British Bake-Off star Mary Berry after she admitted hitting her kids with a wooden butter pat.

Miss Berry revealed last week that she would smack her children when they were young, and insisted it did not do them any harm.

The 78-year-old said she reached for the kitchen utensil if her children Thomas, Annabel and William were naughty.

She said: "We had corporal punishment in our house. I don't think it hurts them too much, a quick slap on the legs. They would run very fast."

But speaking on his weekly LBC 97.3 radio phone-in show, the Deputy Prime Minister repeatedly refused to be drawn on whether Miss Berry was wrong to hit her children, saying he had never met her and did not know what the circumstances were.

However, he said he and wife Miriam have never smacked their sons, Antonio, 11, nine year-old Alberto and Miguel, four.

Listener Rachel from Barrow asked if Mr Clegg smacked his own children.

He replied: "No, like all parents I sometimes have to restrain myself if they don't go to bed on time or do their homework. But no, we do not... No, I don't smack my children."

He also said he had never been smacked as a child.

He said: "No, I don't ever remember my parents doing that. My parents were quite strict but their authority was such that they didn't need to.

"There were four of us, and my brothers, my sister and I were fairly strong boisterous characters but they kept us in line."

But challenged about Miss Berry's comments, Mr Clegg said he was 'incredibly reluctant' to pass comment.

He said: "All I'm saying is I really don't think politicians should start providing parenting lessons to parents of this country.

"Parenting is an incredibly difficult thing to do. It can be very frustrating, children can absolutely... you want to pull your hair out sometimes they can be so difficult.

"But the way that I and Miriam and I choose is not by smacking. I do not use a wooden spoon."

Asked if Miss Berry had been wrong, Mr Clegg replied: "She's the mother of her children, I'm not going to start second guessing.

"I have no idea what a tap with a wooden spoon means.

"It's really, really important that you don't start judging parents until you know exactly what happened, why they did it.

"I am not going to start becoming terribly judgemental about what other parents have done with their children. "

You should not in my view inflict violence on children, you certainly do anything which is against the law."

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