Leader in a pickle

December 12, 1997

Student union members worried about their national president, Douglas Trainer's, lack of commitment to the NUS's official policy of an outright rejection of government plans for student tuition fees, got little reassurance at a recent anti-fees debate in London.

Mr Trainer opened his rousing anti-fees address by claiming victory in winning the concession that tuition fees would be means-tested, hardly total rejection.

One unhappy student leader asked Liberal Democrat education spokesman Don Foster, who grilled Mr Trainer about NUS policy in a select committee evidence session earlier this year, whether the Lib Dems' stark commitment to oppose the tuition fee could be closely married to Mr Trainer's softly-softly approach.

"Anyone working with the government on tuition fees would not get my support," said a diplomatic Mr Foster. "But I couldn't possibly comment as to whether your president is doing that."

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