Nick Clegg’s tuition fees apology

In short:

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.

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’d end up in Government was in coalition with Labour or the Conservatives, who were both committed to put fees up…

I am sorry.

This apology is a major change of tack from the approach taken previously. The early release of a clip from Monday’s TV party political broadcast, five days ahead of it airing rather than the usual day before preview, highlights how the intention is to get the apology aired and debated ahead of conference – so as to leave space at conference to talk about the more positive things the party is doing in government.

UPDATE: A few of the other reactions so far – 

  • Stephen Tall – “I think Nick gets the tone right … This is the clearest sign yet that Nick Clegg is going to do his utmost to stay as Lib Dem leader in order to fight the next general election.”
  • BBC’s Nick Robinson – ” The Liberal Democrat leader speaks directly to camera and with real intensity about a decision which he believes has become a weight around his and his party’s ankles.”

And from me:

Then there was this re-mix:

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