BURNLEY MP Gordon Birtwistle was besieged by more than 70 students this afternoon during a protest over tuition fees.

The demonstration was held outside Burnley Central Library while he was meeting his constituents during his weekly surgery.

Protestors from the University of Central Lancashire and Burnley College braved the cold weather as they waved banners and chanted 'No eduction cuts' and 'Keep your pledge' while police kept a close watch.

Led by the university’s Student Union president Michael Palmer, the group wanted a commitment from the Lib Dem MP to vote against an increase in tuition fees to £9,000 a year.

Students Emily Peacock, 17, Chloe Widdop, 16, Chloe McLaughlin, 16, and Robert Mitchell, 22, who is studying at UCLan, were allowed inside the library to quiz the MP.

Mr Birtwistle pledged to set up a £150million fund for students in Burnley and other in deprived areas to offer grants to offset the hike in fees.

But Burnley College Sixth Form student Emily Peacock, from Keighley, said: “I have a conscience, I don’t want to get the nation into more debt for the younger generation.

”People aren’t going to pay off their debt so it will be putting in the country back into debt.

"It’s a vicious cycle.“ Thomas Whitham Sixth Form student Chloe Widdop, 16, of Ighten Hill Park Lane, Burnley, said: “We are passionate about our education.

"We want the best. We would be paying more for something’s that’s staying the same.”

Mr Birtwistle said: “I haven’t made my mind up about the vote.

“If we don’t put fees up half of the universities would close.

"Ideologically if the country could afford it I would do it.

"The Conservatives wanted to let universities such as Cambridge to charge £35,000 a year.

“I still believe people will go to university and the rise won’t put them off.

"If the Conservative Government was in control you would be paying £29,000.”

Michael Palmer, president of UClan Students Union, said: “The protest went well.

"It has been peaceful and morale is high. But we were disappointed that Gordon did not come out to speak to us.”

There were no arrests and the protest passed off peacefully.