POLITICS
07/11/2013 05:18 GMT | Updated 07/11/2013 07:37 GMT

Nick Clegg Accuses Jeremy Paxman Of 'Sneering' At Politics While Taking The Money

PA
Guest Jeremy Paxman during filming of The Graham Norton Show (TX: 22:35 Friday November 1, BBC One), at The London Studios in south London.

Nick Clegg has accused Jeremy Paxman of "sneering" at politics and politicians while at the same time happily accepting a large paycheque from the taxpayer.

Speaking during his weekly LBC radio show on Thursday morning, the deputy prime minister also said it was an "abdication of responsibility" for people not to vote.

Paxman recently criticised comedian Russell Brand for pontificating on politics at the same time as not "being arsed" to vote. However the BBC Newsnight presenter later admitted he had failed to vote in one recent election.

In an recent interview with the Radio Times, Paxman attacked the "tawdry pretences" of politicians and said he had found the choice on polling day so "unappetising" he decided not to vote.

Clegg said this morning: "Here's a guy, what does he get paid? A million pounds or thereabouts? Paid for by the taxpayer. He lives off politics and he spends all his time sneering at politics."

"Of course you should vote. Politics is imperfect, but at the end of the day its how we decide how you pay your taxes how you support our hospitals, your schools, whether we are going to war or how we deal with climate change.

"Of corse it is sometimes unedifying, but this idea you sneer at the whole thing, dismiss everybody as being rogues and charlatans and say you are going to wash your hands of the whole thing is a total abdication of responsibly."

Clegg added: "If you want to improve something, get stuck in and change it, don't somehow pretend you can turn your back on it."

In the interview Paxman, who makes a living out of grilling politicians on TV, did add that he regretted the decision not to vote. "By the time the polls had closed and it was too late to take part, I was feeling really uncomfortable," he said.

"The person who chooses not to vote - cannot even be bothered to write 'none of the above' on a ballot paper - disqualifies himself from passing any comment at all."

Brand also defended his call for people to boycott elections during a recent interview in front of an audience with The Huffington Post UK. "I am not going to turn up and vote like an obedient little prisoner," he said.

WATCH: Russell Brand In Conversation With HuffPost UK's Mehdi Hasan