The picture of Nick Clegg and Julian Huppert holding a placard saying ‘I pledge to vote against any increase in fees’ has become one of the defining images of the 2010 General Election campaign. This week, Nick Clegg has said he is sorry. This morning David Laws told the Today programme that the whole party had to take ownership of the move: “Every Liberal Democrat MP has a collective responsibility, this was a decision not just by Nick Clegg and Vince Cable but by all of us in the Liberal Democrat party.”
So is Julian Huppert sorry for misleading electors in Cambridge?
Cambridge Labour Parliamentary spokesperson Daniel Zeichner, who stood against Mr Huppert in 2010, says that it is clear that both Clegg and Huppert knew exactly what they were doing when they posed for the fateful photograph:
“Arguments had been raging within the Liberal Democrat party for two years ahead of the 2010 election, as realists like David Laws warned that the promise was unachievable. Clegg and Huppert posed for the photo in full knowledge that it would never be delivered – safe in the knowledge that the Liberal Democrats wouldn’t win the election, and so didn’t have to worry. They were caught out – but no wonder people have a low opinion of politicians. Since then the Lib Dems have used the Parliamentary arithmetic to allow Mr Huppert to salve his conscience by voting against the legislation, but the truth is that his party totally misled electors in Cambridge.”