DEPUTY PRIME Minister Nick Clegg visited Solihull this week to get accquainted with some of the borough’s pricklier inhabitants.
Out on the campaign trail ahead of the upcoming elections, Mr Clegg visited Warwickshire Wildlife Trust’s Parkridge Centre in Brueton Park to learn more about Solihull’s role as the UK’s first Hedgehog Improvement Area.
Joined by Lib Dem stalwart, Paddy Ashdown, Solihull MP Lorely Burt and a group of local schoolchildren, Mr Clegg got stuck in helping to build hedgehog homes from logs, bark and leaves and learnt what the Wildlife Trust is doing to help declining hedgehog populations.
The Deputy Prime Minister also had the rare opportunity to get to know a spiky constituent – Humpty.
Having been recently rehabilitated back into the wild after falling off a wall, Humpty was brought alone to meet the VIPs by Sally Marjoram, from Happyhogs Hedgehog Rescue.
Hedgehog Officer for Warwickshire Wildlife Trust, Simon Thompson, said the Deputy Prime Minister’s visit showcased the national significance of the Solihull’s Hedgehog Improvement Area.
He added: “The children at the Parkridge Centre did a brilliant job of demonstrating to Mr Clegg and Ms Burt the perfect way to build a hedgehog home, and we hope that they have been inspired to take action for hedgehogs in their own gardens.”
Sharing anecdotes with Mr Clegg and Mr Ashdown about how long it had been since they had seen hedgehogs in their own gardens, Mrs Burt emphasised the importance of environmental projects such as the Hedgehog Improvement Area.
She said: “We Lib Dems are tough campaigners and as you can see we’re not afraid to handle prickly subjects.
“We’re the only party with a commitment to Five Green Laws, including a Nature Act, as well as fully funding the NHS with an extra £8 billion a year.
“Over the next few weeks I’ll be making that case to the voters, as well as talking about my local record – protecting and improving the ambulance service, securing more mental health hospital beds, and of course, protecting local animal sanctuaries.”