The University of Sheffield has insisted that it was ‘happy’ host a question and answer with former MP and Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and claimed it was his decision to cancel the event.
Former deputy prime minister Mr Clegg was due to hold the session on Thursday, October 18, hosted by the Sheffield Young Liberals society.
But the society’s chairman Tom McGrath announced it was cancelled due to ‘security concerns’ amid rumours that student activitists planned to stage a demonstration.
In a statement the university said: “The University and its Students’ Union were happy to host the Q&A with Nick Clegg, and it was not our decision to cancel the event.
“External speakers play a central role in university life and allow students to be exposed to a range of different beliefs, challenge other people’s views and develop their own opinions.”
Sir Nick was heavily criticised after U-turning on a pledge to scrap tuition fees following a coaltion deal with the Conservatives in 2010.
He had originally claimed the Liberal Democrats would abolish fees during the party’s General Election manifesto, which had previously been a key issue that won the party support from students.
In a statement on the Young Liberals society Facebook page, its chairman Tom McGrath said: “Unfortunately, due to security concerns, the event with Nick Clegg has had to be cancelled.
“We're sorry to all those who wanted to come along – we're sure that the event would have been a fantastic one regardless of your political views – but after lengthy discussions with both the Students’ Union and University we had no option but to cancel the event.”
He added: “Rest assured, we have a lot more plans for the year.”
Sir Nick lost his Sheffield Hallam seat in the 2017 snap general election to Labour’s Jared O’Mara.
He received a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours and has been campaigning for a referendum on the final Brexit deal.
In a statement, Sheffield Liberal Democrats said: “Unfortunately, due to security concerns, the event with Nick Clegg at the University of Sheffield has had to be cancelled.
“We're sorry to all those who wanted to come along – we're sure that the event would have been fantastic regardless of differing political views – but after lengthy discussions with both the Students’ Union and the university, we cancelled the event.”