Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg is facing criticism after appearing on a TV cookery programme during a weekend of major international crisis in Ukraine and Gaza.

Liberal Democrat activist Charlotte Henry wrote a blog entitled: "As the world burned, Nick Clegg cooked", lambasting the party leader's appearance on Channel 4's Sunday Brunch as "ridiculous".

A number of news outlets have commented that during the time Clegg spent on the cookery show, a Government Cobra emergency committee met to discuss the crash of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17.

Conservative and Labour MPs have expressed surprise that Clegg, who is a member of the National Security Council, was able to devote so much time to the show, which lasted three hours.

Labour MP Graham Morris said: "Nick Clegg displays an alarmingly cavalier indifference given the seriousness of the situation. He is supposed to be Deputy Prime Minister, not a contestant on Master Chef."

Clegg has defended his appearance on the show stating: "It's a show which is watched by lots and lots of people, lots of young people.

"We talked about Ukraine, we talked about politics, we talked about Government policies.

"I think it's important for politicians to get through to people who care about what is going on in the world as much as anyone else."