The Deputy Prime Minister fielded questions from schoolchildren and business leaders during a visit to Watford this week.

Nick Clegg held an hour-long question and answer session at Skillnet on the Croxley Green Business Park on Wednesday afternoon.

The Deputy Prime Minister addressed the country’s deficit, NHS spending, the minimum wage for apprentices, the housing crisis and whether he would become ‘the court jester’ at the expense of UKIP. 

He told the Observer: "It was all very impressive.

"I do these questions and answer sessions quite regularly and this event was particularly interesting as people have been clearly grappling with this great [economy] dilemma we face as a country.

"Labour is sticking its head in the sand and thinks it will disappear by its own accord, it won’t. So how do you balance the books and finish the job fairly?

"The Conservatives are equally sticking their heads in the sand claiming implausibly that everything can be done by penalising the working age poor in Britain.

"It’s important we have this debate to stick the right balance. I put the Liberal Democrat point forward that we would cut less than the Tories but borrow less than Labour."

About 70 people from different groups, organisations and backgrounds were invited to the conference by the Watford Observer after a special request from the cabinet office.