Hampstead schoolboy, 12, paints Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg free of charge amid £10,000 MPs portraits scandal
13:00 21 February 2014
A 12-year-old boy has proved to deputy prime minister Nick Clegg that he doesn’t need to sit for a £10,000 portrait – paid for by the taxpayer – by knocking up a painting in just four hours.
Andrew Smith, a pupil at Hampstead’s Hall School, presented the portrait of Mr Clegg to the Lib-Dem leader free of charge on the MP’s weekly Call Clegg slot on LBC radio, a London station.
The Sheffield Hallam MP was so impressed that he even took the portrait home with him after the show and tweeted a photo of it to his 153,000 followers.
“I was happy all my hard work paid off,” said Andrew, who lives off Elsworthy Road in Primrose Hill. “I had to miss some of my homework to do it though. It took about four hours in total.”
It was revealed earlier this month that the deputy prime minister agreed to sit for a £10,000 portrait paid for by the taxpayer, one of more than £250,000 worth of paintings of MPs commissioned by the House of Commons.
Andrew’s painting shows the Lib Dems leader gesticulating and talking into a microphone in front of the Houses of Parliament at dusk. It was chosen by a LBC reporter from about 15 other portraits of the deputy prime minister painted by pupils as young as six from the private school, for boys aged between four and 13, in Crossfield Road.
Mr Clegg told Andrew it was a “brilliant painting” in the half-hour slot, which is also filmed and streamed online. But he did offer some criticism, saying that he “shaves more than that,” as the schoolboy had given him a five o’clock shadow.
Andrew’s mother Marina Smith, 45, said she felt relief after her son had been on the show as he is quite shy. “He actually said that he’d wanted to ask [Mr Clegg] some questions! It was a fun project and it’s interesting that the school has these opportunities to get them exposed to lots of different things,” said the mother-of-three.
The school put all the paintings of Mr Clegg created by its pupils on its walls, except for Andrew’s as it is still with the deputy prime minister.
Christopher Godwin, headmaster of Hall School, said: “It was an astonishing picture.
“Nick Clegg was taken aback to receive it and you could quite clearly see the astonishment on his face.”
You can watch the programme at: www.lbc.co.uk/call-clegg-watch-in-full---7th-february-2014-85933/liveblog/60