UK Politics

Nick Clegg denies reports he stops work at 3pm each day

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Media captionNick Clegg: "I'm constantly kept up to date with things as they happen"

Nick Clegg has laughed off "silly" reports he is finishing work early after reports that he did not want to get any government papers after 3pm.

The deputy prime minister said he might have many flaws "but not working hard enough is not one of them".

He told BBC Breakfast his team had set the mid-afternoon submission deadline for Whitehall departments so they could add advice on documents before he left.

Normally a minister's box "closes" for the day when they leave the office.

Some newspapers have portrayed the note from his office to other Whitehall departments as suggesting Mr Clegg, a married father-of-three, was struggling to cope with the combined pressures of work and family life.

'Standard practice'

But Mr Clegg told Breakfast: "Of all the silly stories I've heard, this is the silliest. This is all about, apparently, what my office asked other Whitehall departments for - a deadline to provide papers for my team so they can check out these things and provide advice for me.

"I usually read these papers at night, usually fairly late at night. This is standard practice across Whitehall.

"I may have very many flaws but not working hard enough, even my strongest critics wouldn't say that's one of them."

He added: "What this is about is routine submissions. This is the age of e-mail and telephone calls. I'm constantly kept up to date with things as they happen."

Asked if he was able to finish work at 3pm, Mr Clegg replied: "I wish. I wish."