DEPUTY Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he did not believe today's public sector strike was justified during a visit to Dorset.

The Liberal Democrat leader said that while he supported workers’ rights to go on strike, he did not feel the disruption to school pupils and parents was justified.

He was speaking to the Echo during a visit to the Cobham factory in Wimborne, where he was promoting apprenticeships.

He said: “We’re still pouring money down the drain to pay off the legacy of these old debts, we have to deal with that. One way you do this is by restraining the increase in public sector pay.

“I wish it were otherwise but we don’t have pots of gold. Given this reality, was it right to disrupt the school day for lots of parents and pupils? I just don’t think so.”

During his visit to Cobham, he toured the site before speaking to young workers who had successfully completed apprenticeships.

He said: “I think what I love about apprenticeships is it’s such an old fashioned idea, it’s about tapping into our history of learning by doing.

“We’ve taken this old idea and we’re now putting it into these 21st century sites like Cobham. It’s a wonderful merge of old and new.

“We are now providing more apprenticeships than we have in a generation.”

His visit also highlighted the importance of the Mid Dorset and North Poole constituency to the Liberal Democrats, who are desperate to retain it at the next election.

When asked whether they would be successful, he said: “You bet. The Tories can try as much as they like. Everybody locally knows that if you have a Liberal Democrat MP, like they have had in Annette, they will get an understanding MP who works tirelessly for their community. You’re not going to get that from a Tory.”