COLCHESTER MP Bob Russell has laughed off claims he had a confrontation with Deputy PM Nick Clegg that got so vicious, it left a door hanging off its hinges.

Mr Russell said the story, which has appeared in national papers over the weekend, is “complete rubbish”.

It has been alleged the Lib Dem was involved in an angry row with his party’s leader over the housing benefits cuts.

He is said to have stormed out of the meeting and slammed the committee room door behind him in such a rage, it broke the door.

Mr Russell said: “I only wish I could take a door off its hinges at my age. It really is laughable.

“It is a Westminster joke, it simply is not true.

“It’s no secret the Deputy Prime Minister and I have differences of opinions about benefits and I am concerned the cuts to housing benefit will lead to child poverty, but the story is pure fabrication.”

Mr Russell admits rushing out of the meeting after a misunderstanding with the chairman, who had misheard him describe the benefits cuts as “ethnic cleansing” rather than “economic cleansing”.

He denies breaking the door and denies further claims fellow Lib Dem MP Mike Hancock felt compelled to spare him the embarrassment by sneaking back early the next morning to repair the door.

Mr Russell has criticised the coalition government’s plans to cap housing benefit payments at £400 a week, questioning Prime Minister David Cameron on the issue after the Government’s Comprehensive Spending Review was announced.

He suggested councils could end up spending more if people were made homeless and were put in emergency accommodation, such as bed and breakfasts.