Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won’t stop tuition fees rising

Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are considering abstaining in the crucial tuition fees vote before Christmas. But a Lib Dem abstention is equivalent to a vote for the reforms.

The Times reports today that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are considering abstaining in the crucial tuition fees vote before Christmas. But given the Parliamentary arithmetic, a Lib Dem abstention is equivalent to a vote for the reforms.

The Times (£) reports that:

“Nick Clegg and Vince Cable are preparing to abstain from the pivotal Commons vote on increasing tuition fees, putting the policy on a knife-edge.

“Liberal Democrat ministers are discussing plans to abstain together, alongside most of their backbenchers, as the best way to hold the party together.

Given that there are five Sinn Fein MPs who do not sit in Parliament, a majority of 323 is required to pass legislation if every MP votes. With 307 MPs, the Tories fall short and require the support of at least 16 Lib Dem MPs. But if every one of the 57 Lib Dem abstains, the required majority falls to 294 and the Conservatives can pass the legislation on their own.

Lib Dem MPs have, of course, pledged “to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative” while Nick Clegg told the National Union of Students’ annual conference earlier this year:

“We will resist, vote against, campaign against, a rise in tuition fees.”

Indeed, 30 sitting Lib Dem MPs plus 103 sitting Conservative MPs, a total of 133, voted against legislation in 2004 to raise tuition fees from £1,000 to £3,000. The list included the Ministers at the heart of the decision-making on Higher Education funding including David Cameron, George Osborne, Vince Cable, and David Willetts.

As the Higher Education Bill passed in January 2004, then shadow education spokesman, Tim Collins, told the Daily Telegraph that students should “learn not pay” – the same right that most MPs had enjoyed. All 133 MPs need to explain what is different about a rise from £3,000 to £9,000.

48 Responses to “Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won’t stop tuition fees rising”

  1. Wes Streeting

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  2. RupertRead

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  3. Michael Collins

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  4. Dr Math E Matics

    Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising – Left Foot Forward http://bit.ly/i2WoAc

  5. Shamik Das

    Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu by @wdjstraw on @leftfootfwd

  6. Nick Smith

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  7. Angela Pateman

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: LibDem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/fhCZMJ < must vote AGAINST or it will pass

  8. Oxford Kevin

    The Oxford LibDem yellow Chicken needs to visit Parliament. http://bit.ly/hPipcd @leftfootforward http://bit.ly/hJFnmu @jimcranshaw

  9. jennifer roberts

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  10. Oxford Kevin

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  11. infotectravel1

    #ITTN : Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising – Left Foot Forward http://is.gd/hOCIK

  12. Cicero21

    Thank God! Some sanity returns.

  13. Angela Pateman

    Clegg says MPs can abstain, if LibDems abstain on voting against raised fees, Tories can pass the legisilation: http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #voteno

  14. Wendy Maddox

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/hJFnmu

  15. Super Strings Theory

    The LibDems are considering abstaining… that's not good enough! – http://bit.ly/fUWBmz @UCLOccupation

  16. Mr. Sensible

    Will be interested to see how the Lib Dems get out of this one…

  17. Fiona Edwards

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/fhCZMJ

  18. Joshi Sachdeo

    RT @Fio_edwards: RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/fhCZMJ

  19. John Green

    It is time for Labour Party spokespersons to stop the constant criticism of Liberal Democrat MPs for “breaking manifesto promises”.

    Ed Milliband, author of the Labour Party manifesto for the last general election, has admitted that he has torn up the document. Every pledge and every commitment has gone out of the window and been replaced by a blank piece of paper. He also admitted that there was at this moment only one new commitment being added to the blank piece of paper: “we will steal the Big Society Idea from the coalition”.

    Smacks of the pot calling the kettle black, don’t you think?

  20. Brummie Protestor

    #solidarity with students tomorrow. remember LDs abstaining will not stop tuition fees: http://tinyurl.com/2uanuy3 #dayx2 #demo2010 #nofees

  21. It is the winter of lib dem discontent | Left Foot Forward

    […] month, when a parliamentary vote on the measure is expected – with the Lib Dems permitted to abstain under the terms of the coalition agreement. Share | Permalink | Leave a comment […]

  22. dylans1

    RT @BrumProtestor: #solidarity with students tomorrow. remember LDs abstaining will not stop tuition fees: http://tinyurl.com/2uanuy3 #d …

  23. Will Straw

    RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  24. Deborah Segalini

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  25. Kaylie Oliver

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  26. Elin Haf Thomas

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  27. Mehdi Hasan

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  28. pam lorenz

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  29. Abbas Premji

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  30. isla dowds

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  31. Derek Scott

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  32. Brett Gerry

    The mass audio-visual media has consistently misrepresented student protests and tutition fee rises – but how do we tackle them? http://bit.ly/fFKWdZ

  33. Lee Hyde

    RT @wdjstraw: RT @Claire_Phipps: VInce Cable says he may abstain on fees vote << Abstention is same as voting Yes http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  34. joejulier

    RT @leftfootfwd: Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won't stop tuition fees rising http://bit.ly/fhCZMJ

  35. patlockley

    People who voted against fees in 2004 – wonder how many are bipartisan and won't change sides – http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #UNIty

  36. Danny Alexander squirms when pressed on tuition fees vote | Left Foot Forward

    […] Friday, Left Foot Forward pointed out the sheer futility of abstaining: “Given that there are five Sinn Fein MPs who do not sit in Parliament, a […]

  37. Krishna Maroo

    RT @wdjstraw: Cameron voted against top up fees in 2004 along with 103 current Tories MP and 30 current Lib Dem MPs http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  38. Andy Coates

    RT @wdjstraw: Cameron voted against top up fees in 2004 along with 103 current Tories MP and 30 current Lib Dem MPs http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  39. Will Straw

    Cam accuses Labour of "rank opportunism" but he voted against fees increase in 2004 http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #pmqs

  40. Mark Ferguson

    RT @wdjstraw: Cam accuses Labour of "rank opportunism" but he voted against fees increase in 2004 http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #pmqs

  41. Aaron Kumar

    RT @wdjstraw: Cam accuses Labour of "rank opportunism" but he voted against fees increase in 2004 http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #pmqs

  42. Max

    RT @wdjstraw: Cameron voted against top up fees in 2004 along with 103 current Tories MP and 30 current Lib Dem MPs http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  43. Lee Hyde

    RT @wdjstraw: Cam accuses Labour of "rank opportunism" but he voted against fees increase in 2004 http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #pmqs

  44. Nat

    RT @wdjstraw: Cam accuses Labour of "rank opportunism" but he voted against fees increase in 2004 http://bit.ly/dQRkhn #pmqs

  45. Paul Dickin

    RT @wdjstraw: Cameron voted against top up fees in 2004 along with 103 current Tories MP and 30 current Lib Dem MPs http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  46. Tristan Osborne

    RT @wdjstraw: Cameron voted against top up fees in 2004 along with 103 current Tories MP and 30 current Lib Dem MPs http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  47. Rob Earl

    RT @wdjstraw: Cameron voted against top up fees in 2004 along with 103 current Tories MP and 30 current Lib Dem MPs http://bit.ly/dQRkhn

  48. The future or our education — cuts and fees — part 1 « Ad Fontes

    […] Pontius Clegg: Lib Dem abstentions won’t stop tuition fees rising (leftfootforward.org) […]

Leave a Reply