LONDON Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg told an interviewer on Thursday he had "forgotten" he was in charge of the country while David Cameron is on a Middle East tour.
The Liberal Democrat leader was asked by the Metro free newspaper whether he was in charge in Cameron's absence.
"Yeah, I suppose I am. I forgot about that," he replied.
"I'm holding the fort but I'm hoping to take the end of the week off with my kids," he added.
"Someone else will have to do it then. It sounds more haphazard than it probably is. People forget there are emails and there is BlackBerry."
Clegg's relaxed attitude was also in the news last month when it emerged that officials had been asked not to put papers into his ministerial box after 3 p.m.
Clegg's spokeswoman dismissed his remark about who was in charge as a joke and Cameron himself said it was a "throwaway remark."
"Just because I leave the country doesn't mean I am not in charge," Cameron told Sky News in Oman.