Nick Clegg posts a video apology for Lib Dem’s broken tuition fees pledge
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg has issued a video apology for going against his pledge to not vote for a hike in university tuition fees.
In the bizarre online admission of error, Clegg apologised for promising the National Union of Students and the public that the Liberal Democrats would not vote for a raise in fees. He did not, however, apologise for the coalition’s decision to cap fees at £9,000.
Filmed in his south-west London home, Clegg says: “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 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.”
The video, posted on 19th September 2012, is facing mixed public opinion: whereas some approve of the politician admitting he went back on his word, others fear it will make the party look weak and will still fail to repair public trust in the Liberal Democrats.
Labour’s deputy leader Harriet Harman has clashed with Clegg over tuition prices in the past. Harman issued a criticising statement of the video: “This was Nick Clegg’s key election promise when he asked people to vote for his party. Instead of crying crocodile tears he should vote with Labour to bring these tuition fees down.”
Clegg’s apology comes at a time of his lowest public support. A poll by Ipsos/Mori found satisfaction for Clegg has fallen from 31% to 23% in the last month alone. This has given him his worst ever net satisfaction rating, -43. In contrast, David Cameron has a satisfaction rating at +42, and Ed Miliband at +21.