Toni Pearce re-elected NUS president

Toni Pearce has been re-elected as the president of the National Union of Students in a landslide victory

April 9, 2014

Ms Pearce won 454 of the 728 votes cast in the NUS presidential election ballot, which took place at the organisation’s annual conference in Liverpool on 8 April.

NUS black students officer Aaron Kiely received 150 votes, University of London representative and self-declared “militant trade unionist” Daniel Cooper picked up 90 and Ukip’s youth secretary Jack Duffin just 18 votes.

Ms Pearce is the eighth woman president of the NUS and the first to come from a further education college in the post-1992 era.

In her keynote address to conference on 7 April, Ms Pearce said she wanted to create a “new deal for the next generation” and put pressure on all political parties to improve opportunities for students.

However, she appeared to back away from her organisation’s policy of targeting Liberal Democrat MPs who voted in 2010 in favour of increasing tuition fees.

More than 1,000 parliamentary candidates, including 400 from the Lib Dems and 200 from Labour, pledged not to increase tuition fees in 2010 and Ms Pearce said “we have not forgotten who broke their promises”.

But she did not want the NUS to simply focus on the 40 or so Lib Dem MPs who signed a pledge to oppose tuition fees hikes in 2010, but later voted in favour of them in 2012, saying she “did not want to have a Tarantino-style revenge campaign” against Lib Dems.

However, the conference later backed a motion which called for the NUS to “campaign against Nick Clegg and any MP who broke their pledge to students by publicly highlighting their broken promise”.

That motion would appear to step back from the more explicit vow to target senior Lib Dem MPs, including Nick Clegg, and mobilise student support against them when these politicians contest their seats at the 2015 general election.

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Reader's comments (1)

there is almost certainly a grey area about charities campaigning so directly on electoral issues. rather than be in breach of the governments ever changing goalposts on the subject of lobbying is surely a better plan to be cautious, not backing away.

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