Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has made a video apologising for his tuition fee U-turn
The leader of the Liberal Democrats Nick Clegg has made a video apologising for his U-turn on tuition fees, calling it ‘a promise we were not absolutely sure we could deliver’.
In the admission of error, released yesterday, Clegg apologised for signing a pledge that he would vote against and oppose any lifting of the £3,000 cap on fees. Liberal Democrat policy used to be to remove tuition fees altogether.
It was clear in the video it was not an apology for raising fees, but an apology for signing the pledge.
Although insiders say he was warned not to make the apology, Clegg apparently wanted to do it as the issue was still a point of contention among voters who felt cheated by the U-turn on fees.
In the broadcast, which has been heavily criticised, he says: ‘It was a pledge made with the best of intentions – but we should not have made a promise we were not absolutely sure we could deliver.
I shouldn’t have committed to a policy that was so expensive when there was no money around. Not least when the most likely way we would end up in government was in coalition with Labour or the Conservatives who were both committed to put fees up.’
He then vowed: ‘I will never again make a pledge unless as a party we are absolutely clear about how we can keep it.’
Liam Burns, president of the National Union of Students, said: ‘Nick Clegg should be apologising to voters for breaking his pledge, not for making it in the first place.’
The fees rises sparked a series of student protests in 2010, some of which turned violent as anger rose. The majority of the new crop of undergraduate students in England now pay £9,000 a year. University admissions have fallen by 10 per cent as a result – the highest fall in 30 years.
Do you accept Nick Clegg’s apology or do you think it’s too little too late? Have you been affected by the higher fees? Tweet us @MarieClaireUK #nickclegguturn