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Miss England joins student protest

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Miss England Jessica Linley will be joining students as they protest against increases in university tuition fees

Miss England will be joining students as they return to the streets to protest against increases in university tuition fees with a series of occupations, rallies and marches.

Organisers said feelings were still running high following the demonstration by 50,000 students and lecturers two weeks ago which ended in violence. But Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg urged students to call off the demonstrations – telling them the Government’s policy would benefit less well-off youngsters.

Beauty queen Jessica Linley, who is studying law at Nottingham University, described the proposed increase as “unacceptable”.

The 21-year-old, who has taken a gap year to carry out her Miss England duties, said: “Everyone should be entitled to an education, but too few people will be able to afford one at £9,000 a year. I certainly wouldn’t be able to study at university with the increased fees and I am concerned that once I return to my studies, I may also have to pay these ridiculous rates.

Ms Linley called on those taking part in the protests to ensure they remain peaceful: “Protests are a good way of putting pressure on the Government. It’s important to have a voice but once you introduce violence, people stop listening to you.”

On the previous day of protests, a group of activists smashed windows, threw missiles and lit fires at 30 Millbank, the building housing Conservative Party headquarters, leading to more than 60 arrests and dozens injured and taken to hospital.

Police, supported by the National Public Order Intelligence Unit have been monitoring all sources of information in a bid to anticipate the latest protests. Senior officers do not want to be caught out again by the unexpected splintering of the march on November 10, organised by the National Union of Students and the University and College Union, that preceded the Millbank riot.

A rally will be held in London’s Trafalgar Square followed by a march to Parliament and a protest outside the headquarters of the Liberal Democrat headquarters and later in Downing Street.

The Sheffield offices of Lib Dem leader Mr Clegg, are also expected to be targeted for action while a delegation of students will present a letter to Mr Clegg at the Lib Dem HQ.

The Lib Dems have come under intense fire over Government plans to charge students as much as £9,000 per year in fees from 2012 after pledging before the general election to oppose any hike. But Mr Clegg suggested the students should instead be protesting about the “scandalously” high proportion of pupils from the schools he and David Cameron attended getting places at Oxbridge.

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