by Steve Beasant on 19 August, 2011
The forthcoming biography of Nick Clegg by Liberal Democrat councillor Chris Bowers was serialised in last weekend’s Mail on Sunday.
Here’s just a brief extract :
For a few terrible weeks, Nick Clegg came face to face with his ultimate nightmare. One after the other, his wife and his little boy had fallen gravely ill — and doctors warned that they might not pull through.
It began when his son, Antonio, then aged two, became feverish and listless. When he was admitted to hospital, Clegg insisted on spending every night at his side.
According to the doctors, Antonio was suffering from pneumonia. But, Clegg told me: ‘They kept pumping him full of antibiotics and he just got iller and iller.’
In an increasingly desperate race against time, Antonio was transferred to another two hospitals — but even there, no one could explain why he wasn’t responding to treatment. His life was visibly ebbing away.
‘There was a moment when we thought we were going to lose him, which was just horrific,’ Clegg continues. ‘And then, finally, we got him to a specialist hospital, and they drained his left lung which was full of pus. He had pleurisy that got out of hand.’
Although the Cleggs were living in Brussels at the time, his family rallied round, flying over to offer support. ‘It was just a shocking time,’ says Paul, Clegg’s elder brother. ‘If you see a baby of that age really struggling, this is as personal as it gets. It was a shocking reminder about how tenuous life can be.’
Then, hard on the heels of Antonio’s near-fatal misdiagnosis, Clegg’s wife Miriam went into hospital to give birth to their second son, Alberto. The delivery, however, went horribly wrong and she was left fighting for her life.
Though Miriam and Antonio eventually pulled through, it’s little wonder that the Deputy Prime Minister remembers 2004 as ‘a horrible year’.
You can read the whole extract from the book here.