An angry Nick Clegg today branded Piers Morgan ‘pompous’ after the pair clashed over tuition fees in an awkward interview.
The former Lib Dem leader lost his cool and was left rolling his eyes and muttering as he could not contain his contempt for the presenter after he was taken to task for his record in government.
Mr Clegg famously broke his campaign promise to scrap tuition fees when he became deputy prime minister in David Cameron’s coalition.
Piers Morgan tore into Nick Clegg’s ‘saint Nick’ image during the tense interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain today
Fees trebled from £3,000 to £9,000 while he was in office – sparking concerns that some families were being priced out of higher education.
Mr Morgan tore into Mr Clegg’s ‘saint Nick’ image during the tense interview on ITV’s Good Morning Britain.
Mr Morgan said: ‘A lot of students in the country will look at you and think that was a pretty cynical move – to promise an end to tuition fees and then treble them.
‘But I will take you at your word that you are the shining bastion of non-cynicism in otherwise a cesspit of cynicism in Westminster, and thank God you’re here.’
An exasperated Mr Clegg rolled his eyes and slunk back in his chair as he muttered ‘what an extraordinary man’.
He then hit back: ‘You are so pompous Piers you really are.’
But, as co-presenter Susanna Reid laughed, Mr Morgan shot back: ‘What’s pompous about that? It wasn’t me that trebled tuition fees.’
Mr Clegg branded the journalist ‘pompous’ and an ‘extraordinary man’ during the clash today
The move shattered the reputation of Mr Clegg and his party and contributed to their near electoral wipeout in 2015, when the party had their number of MPs slashed from 57 to just eight.
In September 2012 Mr Clegg apologised for breaking his pledge to oppose any increase in tuition fees.
Mr Clegg had planned to talk about the his party’s views on Brexit during the TV appearance when he was skewered by Mr Morgan.
He has been arguing that the Brexit vote has already cost families £500 a year, as economic growth has been lost.
Mr Clegg, the Liberal Democrats’ EU spokesman, also voiced alarm about signs of growing tensions between Theresa May and Brussels.
Briefings from a dinner with Jean-Claude Juncker in Downing Street last week showed they clashed on a range of issues, with the EU commission president now regarding the chances of a deal as only 50-50.
Mr Clegg told BBC Radio 4’s Today programme: ‘What is worrying about the reports, if they are true, is that No 10 appears to be treating the rest of the EU as if they were running the Home Office – just barking instructions at the EU and expecting them to fall into line.’
Nick Clegg, pictured delivering a speech in London this afternoon, wants to try to thwart Brexit by having a second referendum on the deal Theresa May gets from Brussels
He added: ‘(These are) complex Rubik’s cube negotiations, which requires agility and charm to be successful. None of that appears to be in evidence at that dinner last week.’
The arch-remainer used an election speech this afternoon to again pledge to try to thwart Brexit by holding a second referendum.
And he hit out at Labour, who he said have ‘forgotten how to do the most basic job of holding the government to account does not deserve to be the official opposition’.
Speaking at the National Liberal Club in London, he said: ‘For our part, we will include two commitments in our manifesto.
‘First, to hold the Conservatives’ feet to the fire and fight to the very end to secure terms which retain as many of the benefits of EU membership as possible.
‘Second, to secure a referendum on the final agreement, so that the people can judge for themselves whether it is right future for the country.
‘That referendum will offer two choices; accept the deal, or remain in the EU.
‘Liberal Democrats will campaign for a remain vote.’
He said leaving the EU will create a ‘Brexit squeeze’ which will leave Britons poorer and is likely to spell tax hikes.
And he said that ‘cumulatively, this means that Brexit will have dented the public finances by £59bn over a 5-year period’.