Nick Clegg says he is 'dedicated to job'
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has insisted he is "dedicated" to his job and "working very hard"
Mr Clegg, who has faced some criticism for taking a break as the Libyan crisis developed, said he had returned to work when it was "clear" this was needed.
But he told Sky News that David Cameron had remained in charge throughout the last few days, despite being on an official visit to the Middle East.
Mr Clegg added that the government had operated "effectively at all times".
For an interview published in the Metro newspaper last Friday, Mr Clegg was asked whether he was in charge during the prime minister's absence.
He is quoted as saying: "Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that." He later dismissed this as a "throwaway line".
Speaking to Sky, he said: "The prime minister, on an official visit, is still prime minister... If a chief executive goes on holiday it doesn't mean they're no longer the chief executive."
Mr Clegg said he and fellow ministers would "continue to make sure that the government operates effectively at all times".
He said he had taken a skiing break with his family lasting one-and-a-half days last week.
But he told Sky: "I'm both dedicated to my job and, like everyone in government, working very hard for the huge changes that we are trying to introduce to this country.
"I'm also a father so, like all parents with three small children, I would like to spend some time with my children.
"When it was clear that this was not possible, I returned. Our priority is to secure the safety of British citizens."
It was reported recently that the deputy prime minister had instructed Whitehall staff not to send him any ministerial boxes - containing documents to deal with - after 3pm.
But Mr Clegg said he often worked late into the night, adding that he "might have very many flaws but not working hard enough [is not]... one of them".