The deputy Prime Minister received a grilling from residents today at a question and answer session. 

Nick Clegg spoke about the Hatfield Incinerator, youth unemployment, social care and the voting age during an hour long event this afternoon.

School children and teenagers sat alongside pensioners to hear what the Liberal Democrat politician had to say.

One of the first questions put to Mr Clegg was about the Hatfield Incinerator.

He said: “I don’t think I can brandish a magic wand and say there will be no more incineration.

“Obviously there is local disagreement. My party have voted against it.”

He encouraged residents to ensure their voices on the issue continue to be heard.

He added:  “At the end of the day you need to make your case locally.

“This is what local democracy is about.”

He also spoke about the decision the Church of England made earlier this week against allowing women to become bishops.

Although he said he personally did not agree with the decision, he said: “I don’t think it would be a healthy development at all if the state was to start jumping in on the way the church is run.”

About 100 residents attended today’s session, which was held at Quality Hotel in London Road.

One resident could not resist asking about Nadine Dorries, a Conservative MP who recently left her constituency to take part in ITV’s reality show I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. 

Mr Clegg responded by saying: “She was elected to do a job for her constituents.

“We’ve all got an expectation that MPs work hard day in day out.”

The deputy Prime Minister also spoke briefly about his family and his home life, which he normally keeps separate from his public life.

He said: “I am a very hands on dad. I treasure my family more than anything else in life.”

He finished the session by speaking more generally about the current state of the country under the coalition government.

He said: “As a country we need to understand that what happened in 2008 wasn’t just any recession.

“It was like a cardiac arrest – it just blew up.

“We have a long way still to go before we are out of the woods.

“The worst thing to do would be to back out just at the time that we are starting to make things better.”