UK & World News
Lib Dem Leader Sorry For Tuition Fees Rise
Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg has apologised for breaking an election promise not to increase university tuition fees.
Speaking ahead of the party conference in Brighton, the Deputy Prime Minister said sorry for supporting a rise in fees when the party had pledged not to support an increase before the last General Election.
It now costs students up to £9,000 a year.
In a new party political broadcast to be aired nationally on Monday evening, Mr Clegg said: "There's no easy way to say this: we made a pledge, we didn't stick to it - and for that I am sorry."
It comes as a new poll suggests 51% of Liberal Democrats think Mr Clegg is doing a bad job in office.
Sky News' Glen Oglaza said: "I don't think it's the final nail in the coffin (for Mr Clegg) yet. There's no serious challenge to him and no hunger to oust him."
It is the first time Mr Clegg has apologised to his party for reneging on the election pledge.
But aides close to the Deputy Prime Minister insisted he was not apologising for supporting the policy through Parliament but only for promising to vote against any prospective rise in tuition fees, as he fought the 2010 General Election.
Party aides insist the two-and-a-half minute clip, in which Mr Clegg appears at his home in southwest London, is aimed at the country, not just the thousands of voters who have deserted the party since the last General Election.
In the video clip, Mr Clegg admitted many voters had "strong and pretty mixed feelings" about the Lib Dems record in Government, adding his party had put aside political differences to "provide our country with stable leadership".
He said: "I also meet people who are disappointed and angry that we couldn't keep all our promises - above all our promise not to raise tuition fees.
"To those people, I say this: we made a promise before the election that we would vote against any rise in fees under any circumstances.
"But that was a mistake. 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."
The party leader said he should not have made such an expensive commitment when there was a lack of money. He added that the party would learn from their mistakes and never again make a policy pledge they could not keep.
He said: "I accept that won't be enough for everyone. But I owe it to you to be up front about it. And I don't believe it should cast a shadow over everything else the Liberal Democrats are achieving in Government.
"When we're wrong, we hold our hands up. But when we're right, we hold our heads up too. We were right to leave the comfort of opposition to face the realities of Government."
It is understood Mr Clegg and aides had been considering an apology for the election pledge over the summer as part of an attempt to regain the trust of voters.
what do you think?
£9000 a year, is that all, true students won't mind paying that cos their on their way to highly paid jobs, it the time wasters who can't be bothered to live in the real world that'll moan and once they've stopped moaning they'll probably wreck London again and all us tax payers wil have to foot the bill with raised council tax and higher insurance costs.
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Ha ha ha plenty of students on here tonight.
I remember when Liverpool beat crystal palace 9-0.
Shouldn't you be guarding your bridge. Don't want those billy goats getting across do we?
Spot on Mr Marshall. Minority of students are worthwhile, engineers, doctors and such, the rest just want a free booze up for 3 years.
So you really think people will saddle themselves with 9,000 quid a year of debt and a tonne of coursework etc, just so they can go out and get drunk? I can think of easier ways. Well thought out as usual lorgar (!)
Like anyone is going to listen
The LibDems are in office under false pretences, so many students helped get them in by their votes ... all because of Clegg's promise. Well now wait and see how they use the same vote to get him out for his lies!
Just shows how intelligent these students are then.
His bunch of no-hopers are continually bragging about taking the lowest paid out of taxation altogether, when exactly? will it be in my lifetime? or is just a case of "jam tomorrow" from a bunch of gobsmiths. Unfulfilled promises don't win votes, quite the opposite.
Good to see Nick Clegg has an honest opinion After THE ELECTION.Check out the history of the Liberal`s they promised the earth and gave nothing.It was trade Unions that fought for the working people ,every thing you take for granted today was hard fought for with Trade Unionists dying in the process.
They gave you the Old Age Pension and made reformed payments to doctors and hospitals. Well before the NHS came into existence. It was also a Liberal peer who outlined National Insurance
A broken promise from a politician, well that's a surprise isn't it? None of them can lie straight in their beds. Cameron promised a referendum on the Common Market, another broken promise & I can think of at least a dozen more. Self serving, incompetent, lieing, cheating jbsworths the lot of them.
I do not trust a word this betraying, self serving coward says. What is his motive behind this? I can assure you of one thing, it is not to aplogise. The Lib Dems are weak "spineless", wishy washy cowards. I do not know how anyone in this country today could have the guts to say "I'm a Liberal Democrat" It would be like me saying "I'm a Catholic priest" This grotesque party needs to be ousted out for good. My big fear, as my friends Chris and Dave know too well, is that they will do a deal with Labour. If this happens, I'll keep to my vow and never never never never never vote for Labour again.
Hi Mr Shakes, I've long been a fan of yours. You are very right indeed. I cannot stand the man. To me, he is worse than his master Cameron., What I hate about him is his cowardice. He is weak and epitomises his weak party. Aaaaarrrgggghhhhh!!!!
Good. Students have to pay for their beer. Diddums! This isn't even news.
Displaying your ignorance yet again, Lorgar?
£9,000 a year seems like a lot, to me, considering everything they are learning is, or should be, on the internet for free. That was the original idea of the internet. The entire sum total of all human knowledge stored on every computer system on Earth connected to the internet? Excluding the unconnected ones. How might they feel knowing that anyone can probably read online for free or virtually free, everything they are paying £9,000 a year to learn? If they spend five years paying £50,000 for a degree or series of degrees, after the five years, how much of what they've learned is out of date? How much is out of date after one year? Say they start studying for a computer science degree in 2012 and finish it in 2017?
So if you are British you pay the money. If you are an immigrant you pay nothing and when your visa expires you hide in England. Clegg has done exactly what Cameron said in his manifesto. Both of them have lied and done nothing. Cameron said a load of things but all have not happened. So goodbye to you and now we need a new General Election, and everyone to vote UKIP
Foreign students pay a lot of money to come here and study, that's why they are a lucrative source of f u n d i n g to our universities so don't perpetuate that lie.
Nick Clegg is, politically, a dead man walking (that's why they have taken his tie off him!). True, the old Liberal Party was a reforming party back in the early 20th century when their government introduced reforms. But they only did that because the then newly-formed Labour Party was coming up on the left. As the Labour Party gained strength, many Liberals who wanted a political career jumped ship and joined Labour and began to infest it with middle class policies until, from Kinnock onwards we now have a 'Labour Party' that is nothing more than a pale pink Tory Party.
So, what we need now, clearly, if ordinary working people are to have political representation, is a new party that will implement policies that will benefit the majority, ordinary working class people in this country. This party should be formed by our six million strong trade union movement who should stop giving money to Labour and form its own socialist party to represent the millions not the millionaires.
I suppose Clegg's 'apology' helps keep real news out of the headlines such as the South African miners - some of whose colleagues were murdered by the police on the picket line - have scored a great victory with their strike and gained a 22% pay rise while other miners in other companies are now striking too. Funny how this has been buried behind the likes of Clegg and Royalty having themselves photographed while sunbathing. Could it be that our capitalist news media don't like to give workers' victories any publicity in case others follow their example? Perish the thought.
Talk aabout panic this fib dem is running scared as he has with others brought down a party which once had credability. He knows they have not got a chance and will be lucky to field enough candidates and if so would proberbly loose their deposits. Trust this lot again never in a million years.
The Labour party should apologise for spending money we didn;t have, leaving a ridiculously high debt and for failing to reign in the irresponsible bankers and greedy individuals. If people think that Labour will reverse all the spending cuts if they get into power they are living in cloud cuckoo land
He is now singing sorry .What a pathetic little man and party,even Vince Cable is not a viable leader.Do any thing to keep ministers perks.
d and d Phillips