Clegg apology rebuffed by NUS

Student representatives and opposition MPs have rounded on Nick Clegg after the Liberal Democrat leader used a party political broadcast to apologise for breaking a pre-election pledge to oppose tuition fee rises.

September 20, 2012

In the broadcast, which will be aired next week during the Liberal Democrat conference, Mr Clegg admitted it was "a mistake" for his party to claim that it would vote against any rise in tuition fees.

"It was a pledge made with the best of intentions - but we shouldn’t have made a promise we weren’t absolutely sure we could deliver. I shouldn’t have committed to a policy that was so expensive when there was no money around," he said.

But National Union of Students president Liam Burns said that Mr Clegg should have apologised for breaking his pledge, not for making it in the first place.

"The Liberal Democrats' commitment at the 2010 election was to abolish fees, a policy they've had for a decade. It's what they said on the doorstep and in their leaflets, and every one of their MPs signed a pledge to back it up. It's why many students and young people voted for the party," he said.

"It's up to Nick Clegg now to reach out and apologise to those he betrayed by breaking his fees pledge and to make amends by changing his policies."

Deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman accused the deputy prime minister of "crying crocodile tears". She added: "This was not just the small print of his manifesto, this was Nick Clegg's key election promise when he asked people to vote for his party. It is not good enough for him to just brush that promise aside."

Meanwhile, a parody of the broadcast, which sets the deputy prime minister's apology to music, has become a viral hit on the internet. The spoof, produced by satirical website The Poke, is set to be released as a single on iTunes after Mr Clegg granted permission - on the condition that any profits go to Sheffield Children's Hospital.

Nick Clegg apologises for tuition fee pledge

You've reached your article limit.

Register to continue

Registration is free and only takes a moment. Once registered you can read a total of 3 articles each month, plus:

  • Sign up for the editor's highlights
  • Receive World University Rankings news first
  • Get job alerts, shortlist jobs and save job searches
  • Participate in reader discussions and post comments

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Most Commented

men in office with feet on desk. Vintage

Three-quarters of respondents are dissatisfied with the people running their institutions

A face made of numbers looks over a university campus

From personalising tuition to performance management, the use of data is increasingly driving how institutions operate

students use laptops

Researchers say students who use computers score half a grade lower than those who write notes

Canal houses, Amsterdam, Netherlands

All three of England’s for-profit universities owned in Netherlands

As the country succeeds in attracting even more students from overseas, a mixture of demographics, ‘soft power’ concerns and local politics help explain its policy