Nine-year-old boy gives Clegg a gruelling time over free school meals

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NICK CLEGG was left squirming yesterday as he was grilled on the coalition’s free school meals policy by a radio caller claiming to be a nine-year-old boy.

“Rohan” had the Deputy Prime Minister on the ropes with detailed statistics and objections to the flagship Lib Dem measure.

At one point during the encounter on his regular LBC radio phone-in Mr Clegg suggested, with a hint of desperation: “You probably need to go back to class.”

However, there is widespread speculation that the caller may have in fact been an adult.

The youngster, who said he was calling from his school in south London, started off by complaining that his own school meals were “unhealthy”.

“I was wondering why you had decided to introduce free school meals, which is a very expensive product, when at my school they are quite unhealthy and the evidence shows they don’t make children achieve or behave better,” he said.

A seemingly disconcerted Mr Clegg, inadvertently referring to the schoolboy as “Ryan”, then attempted to move the discussion on by asking: “What kind of lunch do you eat?”

But Rohan insisted: “I do think it’s important to eat well, but a lot of schools, I think, a lot of the parents could already afford to pay for those meals. So I was wondering whether perhaps you could just target it to the areas where parents can’t afford to pay for the meals better.”

Following speculation that Rohan may have been an adult posing as a child, an LBC spokesman said: “Since the show, we’ve spoken to Rohan’s headteacher who confirmed he made the call from school in the presence of a teacher, and we’re completely satisfied he has a genuine interest in the issue.”