Nick Clegg attacks Scottish baby guru

SCOTLAND'S best-known child-rearing guru has come under attack by the leader of the Liberal Democrats who has claimed her methods are "absolute nonsense".

Nick Clegg was talking about trying to follow Gina Ford's guidelines in her bestseller, The Contended Little Baby Book, which has brought her a worldwide following and involves encouraging them to stick to strict routines. He said: "It was like following a sort of Ikea assembly instruction manual. It made us feel strangely passive as parents."

Ford, a former maternity nurse from the Borders, hit back this weekend, accusing Clegg of insulting the millions of parents who use her methods.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

"We live in a democracy, and parents are entitled to choose whatever style of parenting they wish," she said.

"What is sad about this statement is that it comes from a supposedly intelligent man, who would have us believe that he is capable of running Great Britain. Clegg has insulted the parenting choice of more than two million British voters."

The programme in Ford's book is designed to encourage infants to sleep through the night from an early age. The techniques require parents to stick to a highly prescriptive and rigid timetable of feeding, waking, bathing and sleeping.

Asked in an interview whether he would consider using Ford's methods to help his young son sleep more soundly, Clegg replied: "Don't get me on to Gina Ford.

"With our first one (Antonio], like all new parents, we religiously followed Gina Ford. Instructions like, stick him in a broom cupboard at 7:46am. At 7:48am, take him out, do not look at him … Absolute nonsense."

He said he had finally lost patience when his wife Miriam suggested consulting the book when their son Antonio woke up in the middle of the night.

"I remember saying to her: 'Okay, we have got to stop this. I have subcontracted my parental instincts to this book'."