Clegg faces critics in live radio debate

Nick Clegg at BBC Radio 5 live Octoberfest.

Nick Clegg at BBC Radio 5 live Octoberfest.

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FROM justifying the reasons for forming the coalition Government to answering yet more demands over the broken student fees pledge, Nick Clegg faced a tough array of questions from a South Yorkshire audience.

The Deputy Prime Minister and Hallam MP was a special guest on the Sheila Fogarty talk show on Radio 5 Live - answering questions from an audience at The Crucible’s Studio Theatre in Sheffield as part of 5 Live’s Octoberfest.

Mr Clegg was greeted by a full house.

Among the first questions was from a Birley College student putting him on the spot about abandoned promise not to increase student fees.

He replied: “Our statement was wrong, we shouldn’t have done it and I’ve apologised.”

Mr Clegg added he believed the new system would be fairer because people do not have to start repaying their loans until they earn £21,000 instead of the current threshold of £15,000.

Mr Clegg confirmed he would defend his Hallam seat at the 2015 General Election.

When challenged by a constituent about why he formed the coalition with the Tories, he said: “The Conservatives had more votes and seats than anyone else. The choice of Government wasn’t made on personal preferences.”

Despite the Lib Dems’ unpopularity for going into the coalition - one audience member suggested he should be ‘fired’ for causing the decline in his party’s support - Mr Clegg said: “You should not flinch when making difficult decisions.”