Every Lib Dem MP signed NUS pledge – will they all now cave in to Cameron?

Senior Liberal Democrats are facing significant resistance from their political opponents over the less than graceful U-turn over student tuition fees.

Senior Liberal Democrats are facing significant resistance from their political opponents and no doubt their own activists, over the less than graceful U-turn over student tuition fees.

It is expected that Lord Browne will recommend a dramatic increase in student tuition fees, raising the cap to as much as £7,000 or scrapping it all together, in addition to raising the interest on student loan repayments – despite the Lib Dems pledging at the general election to remove fees altogether.

Some embarrassing photographs of Lib Dem cabinet members (never mind every single Lib Dem MP and 500 PPCs) signing the NUS pledge opposing tuition fees are likely to make appearances in the press over the coming days. The Lib Dem MPs pledged:

“…to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative.”

Among those MPs is Bristol West Lib Dem Stephen Williams; upon signing the NUS pledge as shadow minister for universities and skills, he said that the Lib Dem parliamentary party would vote against any increase in tuition fees and “fight any attempt to raise the cap”.

During May’s election campaign, Lib PPCs pledged that the party would abolish tuition completely. They even boasted that their manifesto policy had been fully costed, and that Lib Dems would start scrapping fees immediately, starting with final-year fees, working down until “all university education is free”.

The same election leaflets goaded Labour’s unpopularity over top-up fees and the Conservative’s plans to “double tuition fees”.

If it was fully costed then, why merely months later is it completely unaffordable? After losing the conference vote on free schools, and with some backbenchers already promising to abstain from the vote on the issue – what will the grass-roots of the party think of this latest betrayal?

77 Responses to “Every Lib Dem MP signed NUS pledge – will they all now cave in to Cameron?”

  1. Cllr Muhammed Butt

    The picture to haunt nick clegg for a long time. Lib dems have a history of going back on their word. //bit.ly/bcarL9

  2. Joshuwahwah

    Will Nick Clegg honour his pledge, or will he bow down to his Tory paymasters? //bit.ly/bcarL9

  3. David Skinner

    RT @leftfootfwd: Every Lib Dem MP signed NUS pledge – will they all now cave in to Cameron? //bit.ly/bcarL9

  4. Goldsmiths UCU

    RT @leftfootfwd: Every Lib Dem MP signed NUS pledge – will they all now cave in to Cameron? //bit.ly/aTR5ay

  5. Diane

    Not defending them, but this is how Coalitions tend to go. A left-wing party in Europe went in with the right-wing party and one of their “compromises” was on banning the niqab.

    They’ll probably just use the wording of the pledge against any critics – all they have to say is Vince’s policy is a “fairer alternative”.

  6. Mr. Sensible

    ‘Evidence Based’ et al, there’s compromise, and there’s compromise.

    The Lib Dems said a lot of things during the election, didn’t they.

  7. jeff marks

    the lib dem manifesto can’t be taken at face value. they said a lot of stuff and never thought they’d be in power. they promised the earth and sky but in reality just wanted to maximise their seats. give them a break. they’re in coalition with a real party. they have to be allowed to re-evaluate their policies. anybody know what sarah teather is up to? any back stabbing?

  8. Unbelievably, graduates already pay tax « Better Nation

    […] into the 2010 UK General Election having given the NUS pledges not to raise fees – who have damning pictures ready should they sell out. I can see why NUS felt it necessary to extract this pledge, given their […]

  9. ColinW

    The Torture & Rendition Party had a manifesto commitment to NOT introduce tuition fees. Then they introduced them in government, with a big majority & a buoyant economy.

    And they took us into an illegal war too.

  10. Gary Gibbon on Politics - Lib Dem tuition fees rebellion – or not

    […] he signed the infamous NUS pledge to fight any rise in tuition fees in the election campaign, Nick Clegg actually tried to dump the […]

  11. SNP education secretary rejects Browne’s findings for Scotland | Left Foot Forward

    […] the publication of Lord Browne’s review into higher education funding has proved controversial in England, in Scotland the mood music from the SNP Government has been positively frosty. […]

  12. Uniting the East End: A call to action in Tower Hamlets | Left Foot Forward

    […] with trepidation for the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review, while marvelling at the twists and turns of Lib Dem MPs as they attempt to crawl out from the tatters of their higher education policy, […]

  13. Mr. Sensible

    Geoff I’m not sure they’ll keep those seats.

    The fact is that Lib Dem voters did not vote for this.

  14. Rushanara Ali’s call for action « Trial By Jeory

    […] with trepidation for the results of the Comprehensive Spending Review, while marvelling at the twists and turns of Lib Dem MPs as they attempt to crawl out from the tatters of their higher education policy, […]

  15. Robert

    Then again it was labour that brought in those charges for god sake your blaming a group who were desperate to get into power, labour were in power.

  16. Another Lib Dem u-turn - this time they vote down votes at 16 | Left Foot Forward

    […] latest u-turn follows on from the furore over tuition fees last week, with the Lib Dems reigning on their direct pledge to the NUS that they would fight any […]

  17. StevieG

    Middle-class high-earners already pay more. By earning more they pay much more in tax. Building in even more inequity is not the answer.

  18. Lib Dem tuition fee u-turn « sgmpolitics

    […] the way for huge increases in fees. The Guardian reports a major rebellion in the offing over this major policy u-turn. Leave a […]

  19. Clegg "digging himself into a hole" over university funding | Left Foot Forward

    […] Browne review – this despite him, along with every other Lib Dem general election candidate, pledging “to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government […]

  20. Ideological Browne review will end up costing taxpayer more | Left Foot Forward

    […] and Vince Cable insisting tuition fee increases will be capped – Clegg even suggesting his u-turn over his pledge to scrap fees “had to be done due to the financial situation the country was […]

  21. Look Left – Opposition grows to coalition's unfair housing benefit cuts | Left Foot Forward

    […] they’re running scared, unable and unwilling to look students in the eye and explain their u-turn. Nick Clegg is due to visit Oxford on Wednesday, November 17th – the question is, will he […]

  22. Jay Springett

    @cubedweller Things like this damage British politics, makes me question their trustworthiness and damages the 'Brand' //bit.ly/cVL4ac

  23. Student protest in the age of contempt | Left Foot Forward

    […] this, though, in saying the coalition agreement means more than the NUS pledge, Vince Cable and his party colleagues are effectively telling us that politicians believe the […]

  24. Two-thirds of Lib Dem general election voters against fees u-turn | Left Foot Forward

    […] cent of those who voted Liberal Democrat in May say it is wrong for the party to break its election pledge to “vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government […]

  25. Why it is yes for me on AV (and no to any more referendums!) « The Ealing Rose

    […] main reason for the sense of resentment over the Liberal democrats behaviour in abandoning many promises they claimed to hold dear was because of Clegg’s absurd refusal to talk about who he would deal with or what he would […]

  26. Hush Bone

    //t.co/esMvuq5k #LieoftheYear #Clegg's promise to vote down tuition fees has to be the worst.

  27. Iggle Piggle

    Clegg says Tories have broken the Coalition contract over Lords reform. He knows all about broken contracts: //t.co/e6I5sNbz

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