UK Politics

Nick Clegg's hung parliament dilemma made into musical

Nick Clegg, David Cameron and Gordon Brown
Image caption Nick Clegg had to choose which party to side with in a hung parliament

A hip hop musical based on Nick Clegg's role in forming the coalition is to be staged in Suffolk in the spring.

"Nicked" will dramatise the Lib Dem leader's "struggle to decide which way to go" when the general election resulted in a hung parliament.

Steven Atkinson, artistic director of the HighTide Festival in Suffolk, said "They are all in there, Cameron, Clegg, Brown and the Milibands."

He added that as Mr Clegg acted as a student, he might see the funny side.

The play is due to be staged from 30 April - just before the 5 May referendum on changing the voting system, a key concern of Mr Clegg's. Mr Atkinson said it would continue to be written until the last minute.

He said: "The genesis of it comes from a writer called Richard Marsh. He is a left-wing performance poet and has teamed up with DJ Natalia Sheppard who has given it an urban score.

"The narrative is that in the first half we have the formation of the coalition and Clegg's struggle to decide which way to go. They are all in there - Cameron, Clegg, Brown and the Milibands."

"There is a brilliant scene when Cameron has to go to the Conservative Party to convince them the coalition is the way to go and they have a 'rap off'."

Mr Clegg enjoyed a huge boost in poll ratings during the general election campaign, thanks to his performance in the televised leaders' debates.

But when the election resulted in a hung parliament, as leader of the third largest party he had to decide whether to back the Conservatives, who won the most seats, or Labour. Former party leader Lord Ashdown described it as a "torture mechanism" for the Lib Dems.

The party entered coalition with the Conservatives, but have taken much criticism for abandoning a pre-election pledge not to vote for a rise in university tuition fees.

Mr Atkinson said it would chart the "rise and fall of Nick Clegg" and the first half of the play would focus on the coalition talks, but it was still being written and would be as up to date as possible.

Among politicians to have found their stories dramatised on television in recent years are David Blunkett, John Prescott, David Cameron, Boris Johnson and the Miliband brothers.

Appearances on stage are fewer, although Labour MP Tom Levitt starred in his own, one-man play about the MPs' expenses scandal last year.

The cast for "Nicked" has not yet been decided but Mr Atkinson has hopes it could go to the West End.

Mr Clegg became deputy prime minister in the coalition government - but asked if he was in charge while David Cameron is in the Middle East, he was quoted by the free Metro newspaper as saying: "Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that."

Asked about the remarks in a TV interview, Mr Cameron dismissed them as a "throwaway line". The prime minister said: "I'm not absent, that is the way government works. In the age of the BlackBerry, the telephone, the internet, just because I leave the country doesn't mean I am not in charge."

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