Boris Johnson used to have one. So did Sadiq Khan. Harriet Harman had a turn too. Nigel Farage does his four times a week. In fact, you can hardly pick up a phone these days without a politician answering. Like knocking on doors or holding a constituency surgery, hosting a radio phone-in has become just another way to speak directly to the voters. Yet it was uncharted territory when my show, Call Clegg, launched on LBC back in January 2013. Not surprisingly, the idea won a string of negative reviews before I had even arrived for my first half hour in the studio.
Conservative MP Peter Bone described the concept of a politician taking calls from the public on air as “bizarre”, while Labour MP John Mann said that the show proved how “irrelevant” I had become. Even my own party colleagues weren’t convinced, with one helpful Liberal Democrat source telling the Evening Standard that the idea of Call Clegg sounded “a bit desperate.” The gleeful predictions of disaster were both a rare outbreak of cross-party agreement and another example of Westminster’s innate conservatism.
You can listen to ‘Anger Management with Nick Clegg’ here