Ed Miliband tells TCS “I don’t want to become the next Nick Clegg”

Jack Ranson and Colm Murphy 1 May 2014

On a visit to Cambridge today, Labour leader Ed Miliband spoke exclusively to The Cambridge Student about his plans to reverse the “extraordinary [financial] situation” which students are increasingly finding themselves in, while avoiding the temptation to make any false promises.

The issue of tuition fees is a deeply contentious one amongst the student body, so when TCS asked Mr Miliband about the Labour party’s plans to bring down fees by at least three thousand pounds he unsurprisingly responded: "It is frankly a nonsense that the government has raised tuition fees and it’s costing more than the previous system".

Political promises over tuition fees have rung hollow in recent years but Miliband was quick to reassure students, "we want to go as far as we can with tuition fees, but I’m not going to issue any false promises. I don’t want to become the next Nick Clegg".

Photo: Jack Ranson, Colm Murphy, Miliband conducted interviews throughout his visit and indulged in some local chips                                                                                       

With increasing levels of apathy and a non-existent interest amongst students in the local elections TCS asked the leader of the opposition what he would do to make students care more about politics? "Our plan for young people is based on guaranteeing them a job, equipping them with the skills they need and making sure enough housing is available to get them on the housing ladder.”

This comes on the day that Mr Miliband launched his policy to introduce a cap on private rent prices, something which Conservative Party Chairman Grant Shapps has labelled ‘a short term gimmick’.

Cambridge private rent prices are the highest in the country outside of London and this has a major impact on students looking to continue living here after graduating. TCS spoke to a recent university graduate, unemployed and living in Cambridge, he explained "that’s the future Prime Minister. The Conservatives are cutting services; I’m definitely leaning towards Labour".

Dan Ratcliffe, Labour candidate in Market ward for the upcoming local elections, told TCS that Miliband’s announcement on rent controls today had ramifications for students since “finding an affordable place to live is often the first step for many young graduates”.

However, Danny Lee, a first year MML student from Magdalene, remained unconvinced voicing concerns that government “interference” could cause “market distortions”. Danny believes “the real solution… is to build new homes and to develop schemes”.

Alongside his interview with TCS, highlights of Ed Miliband’s tour of Cambridge included buying chips from the local Fish and Chip shop and sampling Dim Sum, thrust upon him by an enthusiastic Chinese restaurant owner. Not to mention the high number of ‘selfies’ taken by passers-by whilst he explored Cambridge.

"I love selfies" he explained, “as you can see from my visit today, they show that students are re-engaging with politics".