Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees

Nick Clegg went into Coalition talks with Labour demanding "a commitment not to raise the cap on tuition fees". It means he changed his mind on the issue three times in as many weeks.

The Lib Dem leadership went into Coalition talks with Labour demanding “a commitment not to raise the cap on tuition fees”. The exclusive revelation in this week’s New Statesman means that the Deputy Prime Minister changed his mind on the issue three times in as many weeks.

The New Statesman today reveals:

“Nick Clegg and the other Lib Dem negotiators called for “a commitment not to raise the cap on tuition fees” (a watered-down version of their manifesto pledge to phase out tuition fees over six years), a cut in the number of government ministers, a four year fixed-term parliament and “a commitment to no public subsidy for nuclear power stations”. All of these pledges have since been broken by the government.”

It was revealed in Saturday’s Guardian that the Liberal Democrats were drawing up plans to “abandon Nick Clegg’s flagship policy to scrap university tuition fees” two months before the general election. But on April 13th, Nick Clegg recorded a YouTube video for the annual NUS conference in which said “I really think tuition fees are wrong”. Just a day later, the Lib Dem manifesto pledged to:

“Scrap unfair university tuition fees for all students taking their first degree, including those studying part-time, saving them over £10,000 each.”

It now appears that Nick Clegg changed his mind on the issue three times in as many weeks. The revelation will place further pressure on Nick Clegg after his decision to support a near trebling in the level of tuition fees from £3,290 per year to £9,000. The New Statesman also confirm that “the Lib Dems never had any intention of sticking to their election pledge to delay spending cuts until next year.”

30 Responses to “Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees”

  1. Will Straw

    Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  2. Ben Furber

    If the line doesn't work, change your position. RT @wdjstraw: Clegg changed his mind 3x in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  3. Bri McIntosh

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  4. Henry

    It’s a mystery what Flip Flop Clegg actually believes in, apart from himself.

  5. gethyn williams

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  6. Shamik Das

    Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees as he changed his mind 3 times in 3 months //bit.ly/c87z3s @leftfootfwd

  7. Roland Horne

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  8. Michael Ellis

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  9. Duncan Stott

    You’re ignoring the difference between “scrap” and “raise the cap” to get to this conclusion.

    The manifesto pledge was to scrap fees. As the Guardian revealed on Saturday, plans the LDs planned to drop this pledge for coalition negotiations. The policy was just an aspiration for if we managed to form a majority government.

    The NUS pledge was to oppose a rise in the cap on fees. That was consistently campaigned for during the election, during the coalition negotiations, and right up until the publication of the Browne review.

  10. House Of Twits

    RT @wdjstraw Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  11. Charlville

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  12. Kevin leonard

    No matter which way you try to word it he is a liar just like the rest of the fraudulent posers still in power they all need a reality check as in a riot or two to show them just how much the people actually trust them.
    The students may have been the first but they will not be the last, before next springs ineffectual vote on voting reform I PREDICT a riot

  13. Dario Nahi

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  14. Alan W

    Day by day it becomes ever clearer why Cameron’s favourite political joke was, and is, Nick Clegg.

    @Duncan Stott

    So what you’re saying is that he stuck by his pledge right up until the moment he saw the executive summary of Lord Browne’s report and changed his mind. Well that’s alright then.

    Clegg does seem to have a real soft spot for silver-haired scions of the establishment like Lord Browne and Mervyn King. A brief phone call from the governor and a dose of fiscal sadism is suddenly just what the country needs. A quick skim read of Browne’s report and suddenly nine grand a year for a degree seems entirely fair.

    Sigmund Freud would have had a field day.

  15. Duncan Stott

    I’m not saying it’s alright. The party has really messed this up, and owes our electorate an apology.

    I’m saying that Will’s charge that “Clegg changed his mind on the issue three times in as many weeks” is wrong.

  16. UNISON East Midlands

    Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees //is.gd/hixEU

  17. Dan Watson

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  18. Labour42010

    RT @wdjstraw: Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  19. Miles Weaver

    RT @HouseofTwits: RT @wdjstraw Nick Clegg changed his mind 3 times in 3 weeks on tuition fees. //bit.ly/c87z3s

  20. Future Left

    RT @leftfootfwd: Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees //bit.ly/aGNcsl

  21. Wendy Maddox

    This guy is losing all credibility: RT @leftfootfwd: Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees //bit.ly/aGNcsl

  22. Will Straw

    Duncan,

    Glad you think the Lib Dems have messed this up. In my view that’s true in two ways. First, they’re messing up our Higher Education system by effectively privatising arts and humanities based courses removing much that is good about the culture of universities (as David Lammy writes). But second, because of the emphasis placed by Clegg and colleagues before the election on the tuition fees policy, it risks alienating a generation of voters who think that politicians can’t be trusted.

    The 3 u-turns in 3 weeks were:

    U-turn 1: The hard line in the YouTube video and manifesto publication on April 13/14 which was at odds with the secret document decided a month earlier.

    U-turn 2: The initial negotiation with the Tories where they reverted to the plan in the secret document (since adopted).

    U-turn 3: The negotiations with senior Labour representatives where they wanted a “commitment not to raise the cap on fees”

    They then, of course, reverted to the position in U-turn 2 (technically a 4th U-turn) in the Coalition document paving the way for £9k fees.

    Given that the Lib Dems only prospect of power was in a Coalition, it is extraordinarily cynical that they made their position on tuition fees such as a critical part of their election campaign.

    Will

  23. Will Straw

    @DuncanStott Thanks. I've replied to your comment //bit.ly/cCAMUU

  24. Mr. Sensible

    What a mess.

    We don’t know what Clegg’s view was on fees going in to the coalition nigociations, the Lib Dems seem to be saying different things on deficit reduction…

    And we now know that the Prime Minister and business department are saying 2 different things on LEPS…

    What a total and utter mess.

  25. jee_24

    I don’t know why anyone would want government to support arts and humanities?

    Culture isn’t culture when supplied by the government, just as the government can’t give charitably. It is a contradiction.

  26. Duncan Stott

    Will,

    If manifestos are to only list commitments based on the party’s realistic prospect of power, the Green Party, UKIP, or any other minor party may as well not bother publishing one at all.

    But that isn’t what a manifesto is. It is an idealistic document stating a full vision of future policies for the country. Manifesto commitments are broken by all parties because their ideal can turn out to be unrealistic.

    So on tuition fees, the Lib Dems’ ideal is to scrap tuition fees. But that’s only possible with an ideal result for us.

    I don’t understand your U-Turn 2. Which secret document are you referring to?

  27. Alex Ross

    Clegg wanted Lib-Lab Coalition to commit to cap on tuition fees //bit.ly/bQe9tL

  28. Daniel Henry

    Will, I agree with Duncan.
    It’s a total mess that we ended up breaking our pledge but to accuse Nick of intentionally deceiving was wrong, and I think your reasoning is mixed up.

    “U-turn 1: The hard line in the YouTube video and manifesto publication on April 13/14 which was at odds with the secret document decided a month earlier.”
    The manifesto and “secret document” do not contradict.
    The manifesto was what we’d do with a majority government, while the “secret document” was how we should approach a coalition if we had to make a compromise.
    (And even this “secret document” wanted to keep the cap and therefore the pledge to vote against raises)

    “U-turn 2: The initial negotiation with the Tories where they reverted to the plan in the secret document (since adopted).

    U-turn 3: The negotiations with senior Labour representatives where they wanted a “commitment not to raise the cap on fees””
    Both negotiations followed the “secret document”.
    Our negotiation recognised that abolishment of fees was too much too ask, so we decided to aim for loans for part time students and a commitment not to raise the cap. This was the same for BOTH negotiations. No u-turn so far.

    “They then, of course, reverted to the position in U-turn 2 (technically a 4th U-turn) in the Coalition document paving the way for £9k fees.”
    Up until the Browne report we were still fighting for what we aimed to negotiate in the “secret document”, that fees would not be raised. Unfortunately we failed. This resulted in the one and only U-turn, where our leadership bit the bullet and accepted the rise in tuition fees, breaking the promise we made to vote against such rises.

    So while it’s humiliating that we’ve been forced to break our promise, over-exadurating the crimes of our party doesn’t help things. The “secret document” did NOT contradict our pledge to vote against rises in tuition fees. We intended to keep that one right until then. (And a sizeable number of our MPs still will.)

  29. Chris

    @jee_24

    “I don’t know why anyone would want government to support arts and humanities?
    Culture isn’t culture when supplied by the government, just as the government can’t give charitably. It is a contradiction.”

    One your moron because this is talking about government supporting *university courses* not art in general. And two your philistine.

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