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Clegg firm on tuition fees as he fights for political life

The deputy prime minister Nick Clegg is unrepentant about his party’s decision to allow the trebling of university tuition fees, despite polls suggesting that he is now in danger of losing his Sheffield Hallam seat.

Clegg’s 15,000 majority from 2010 is looking vulnerable following organised campaigns from the Labour Party and Sheffield students. The most recent poll gives Labour a lead of two percentage points. However, in an interview with Research Fortnight’s sister publication HE, Clegg did not acknowledge that the decision on fees had been a mistake.

He says he recognises that there are people who “can’t forgive and forget”, but the move was a cost of entering into a coalition government and taking on the task of shoring up the nation’s finances. “I’m finding that often the people who shout the least are prepared to accept that we did the best we could in the circumstances,” he says. The Liberal Democrats “did the next best thing and got the fairest deal we could” on tuition fees.

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