Clegg gets the Nobel Peace Prize! Deputy PM to help collect award when it is awarded to the EU
22:09 GMT, 4 December 2012
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg will fly to Oslo on Monday to represent Britain at the Nobel ceremony
Nick Clegg will pay homage to the European Union next week as he helps collect the Nobel Peace Prize controversially awarded to the institution.
The Deputy Prime Minister will fly to Oslo on Monday to represent Britain at the Nobel ceremony, after David Cameron made it clear he was not willing to attend.
Announcing the award in October, the Nobel committee praised the EU for its six decades of contributions ‘to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe’.
The decision provoked derision in Britain, with critics pointing out that the Eurozone crisis has prompted rioting across southern Europe and seen the EU force out democratically elected leaders in Greece and Italy.
But a source close to Mr Clegg, who served for years as an MEP, said the EU deserved the award.
The source said: ‘For centuries, the idea of Europe and peace was a contradiction in terms.
‘The fact that we have not been to war with our European neighbours for nearly 70 years now is a testament to the sacrifices of the generations that have gone before us and the hard work since.
‘Nick’s sees this prize as a tribute to the people, not the institution.’
Monday’s ceremony will be attended by most European leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Francois Hollande and Italian Prime Minister Mario Monti. But, to the irritation of other EU leaders, Mr Cameron made it clear he would not be attending.
Eurosceptic Tory Peter Bone said Nato, rather than the EU was responsible for keeping the peace in Europe.
He added: ‘The idea that the Nobel Peace Prize should be awarded to the EU is ridiculous. Equally ridiculous is the idea that Nick Clegg in any way represents the British people on Europe. The whole thing is a complete farce.
‘I am glad the Prime Minister is not attending the event — it is just a pity we are not saving the airfare and boycotting it altogether.'
Announcing the award in October, the Nobel committee praised the EU for its six decades of contributions 'to the advancement of peace and reconciliation, democracy and human rights in Europe'