Britain's Deputy PM apology video becomes hit spoof song

LONDON - British Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg gave permission Thursday for a parody remix of a public apology that he made over university fees to go on sale on iTunes, with proceeds going to charity.

The autotuned remix of the deputy prime minister's video apology, created by satirical website The Poke, became a social media hit on Thursday morning, at one point trending on Twitter.

The Poke said it wanted to release it as a charity single and Clegg responded: "Permission granted, but all proceeds to @SheffChildrens please," referring to Sheffield Children's Hospital in northern England.

Clegg made the rare public apology for breaking the Liberal Democrat party's promise to block increases in university fees on Wednesday as he sought to claw back dwindling support ahead of the party conference starting this weekend.

In the video, the deputy prime minister said the party was sorry it didn't stick to its pledge to oppose the tuition fees rise - a key plank of its pre-election manifesto.

Support for the centrist party fell sharply after its U-turn on the issue in 2010, which sparked huge student protests and his personal ratings have plummeted in recent months.

By Thursday morning The Poke had remixed the apology using autotune technology, turning it into a song that became so popular it briefly crashed the organisation's website.

A Twitter campaign to get the song on to iTunes was swiftly launched and within hours, Clegg had responded.

Many Twitter users praised his decision, with some speculating that it would have a more positive effect on his image than the apology itself.

In the original broadcast on Wednesday, Clegg apologised for making a promise he couldn't keep, but notably stopped short of an apology for backing the hike in student fees to up to £9,000 (S$17,861) a year.

"We made a promise before the election that we would vote against any rise in fees under any circumstances," he said in the short video clip produced at his London home.

"But that was a mistake. It was a pledge made with the best of intentions - but we shouldn't have made a promise we weren't absolutely sure we could deliver."

The apology comes as a new ratings poll by Ipsos Mori shows voter satisfaction with Clegg has fallen to its lowest level ever, dropping from 31 per cent to 23 per cent.

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