12/06/2012 09:12 BST

Nick Clegg Admits He Left His Principles Behind In A Pub In 2010

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."