Saturday, 18 May 2024

Nick Clegg and Student Fees – Latest

Nick Clegg yesterday had to beg Lib Dem MPs to back the university tuition fees hike.

The desperate Deputy PM rang colleagues in a late attempt to get them to back the unpopular Coalition in this Thursday’s crunch vote.

The Lib Dems have been in turmoil over the Coalition plans to raise tuition fees from £3,000 a year to up to £9,000.

Before the election, all their candidates – including Mr Clegg – signed a National Union of Students pledge to scrap the fees.

But he and Business Secretary Vince Cable have said they will now vote in favour of the move. Clegg and Cable have abandoned their election pledges.

Lib Dem MPs are likely to split four ways:

Senior Lib Dem ministers will vote in favour of the increase.

A group of ministers and some backbenchers will exercise their right under the coalition agreement to abstain.

A significant group of backbenchers will vote against the rise.

Some MPs are prepared to vote in favour of abandoning the vote if there is enough support to table an amendment to the government motion on Thursday. A Commons early day motion, which accuses the government of failing to convince people that its proposals are fair and sustainable, could be turned into an amendment.

The National Liberal Party urges voting against the proposal. You can sign the National Liberal Party petition against Student Tuition fees here.

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