Evan Harris: “If you want to get rid of fees vote more Lib Dems into power”

Former Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris has made the extraordinary claim that to get rid of fees "the answer is to vote more liberal democrats into power".

Former Liberal Democrat MP Dr Evan Harris made the extraordinary claim on Radio Five last night that:

“If you want to get rid of tuition fees, the answer is to vote more liberal democrats into power, not less, because the only way… If you want to get rid of tuition fees realistically the only way to do it…

“If students want to get rid of tuition fees it’s more Liberal Democrats they need, not Tory and Labour.”

This, despite the fact that it was only because of Liberal Democrat MPs that last night’s votes on tuition fees – trebling the cap to £9,000 and raising the lower limit to £6,000 – passed, by a majority of 21. Harris was debating Left Foot Forward’s Will Straw and leading Conservative blogger Shane Greer on the Tony Livesey show.

Listen to it:

Here is the roll of shame of the 34 Lib Dem MPs who broke their pledge by failing to vote against the government:

Danny Alexander
Norman Baker
Sir Alan Beith
Gordon Birtwistle
Tom Brake
Jeremy Browne
Malcolm Bruce
Paul Burstow
Lorely Burt*
Vincent Cable
Alistair Carmichael
Nick Clegg
Edward Davey
Lynne Featherstone
Don Foster
Stephen Gilbert
Duncan Hames
Nick Harvey
David Heath
John Hemming
Simon Hughes*
Mark Hunter
Norman Lamb
David Laws
Michael Moore
Tessa Munt*
Sir Robert Smith*
Andrew Stunell
Jo Swinson
Sarah Teather
John Thurso*
David Ward
Steve Webb
Stephen Williams*

* abstained – still a broken pledge. Chris Huhne and Martin Horwood were both absent in Cancun; only 21 of the party’s 57 MPs voted against the fees rise.

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73 Responses to “Evan Harris: “If you want to get rid of fees vote more Lib Dems into power””

  1. Richard McKenzie

    RT @KerryMP: RT @kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking

  2. Liam McKee

    "If you want to get rid of fees – vote more libdems into power" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb < I don't think so!

  3. Alaster Phillips

    RT @KerryMP: RT @kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking

  4. Martin Farmer

    RT @KerryMP @kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking -> it must be April the 1st.

  5. Heather

    RT @KerryMP: RT @kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking

  6. Gary Hughes

    Utterly bizarre: “@kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking”

  7. gemma tumelty

    RT @gary_hughes: Utterly bizarre: “@kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking”

  8. Mr. Sensible

    Evan, on the issue of the public finances, I read in the Guardian last week that a study in to the government’s proposals:
    “… claims that the changes – which will also see state funding for university teaching cut by 80% by 2014-15 – will leave taxpayers worse off because the government will have to borrow more to fund higher loans and pick up a bigger bill for debts that are written off after 30 years. Write-off costs are likely to rise from 27.5p in the pound to at least 36p, it estimates.”
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2010/nov/30/tuition-fees-study-government-progressive?CMP=EMCGT_301110&amp

  9. Tom Harris

    Priceless! @DrEvanHarris: "If you want to get rid of fees vote more LibDems into power!" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb (via @iain_31)

  10. Chris Phillips

    THE GREEN PARTY is the ONLY NATIONAL party, as far as I know, that wants to abolish fees!

  11. Barry Kirby

    RT @TomHarrisMP: Priceless! @DrEvanHarris: "If you want to get rid of fees vote more LibDems into power!" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb (via @iai …

  12. Martin Deane

    RT @LiamMcKee: "If you want to get rid of fees – vote more libdems into power" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb < I don't think so!

  13. Viv Williams

    RT @BevaniteEllie: Laughable… RT @kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking

  14. Luke Akehurst

    RT @TomHarrisMP: Priceless! @DrEvanHarris: "If you want to get rid of fees vote more LibDems into power!" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb (via @iai …

  15. Iain Whiteley

    @ChrisBryantMP according to @DrEvanHarris: "If you want to get rid of fees vote more LibDems into power!" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb

  16. RupertRead

    RT @TomHarrisMP: Priceless! @DrEvanHarris: "If you want to get rid of fees vote more LibDems into power!" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb (via @iai …

  17. Steve Rooney

    Chris Phillips,

    Spot on. I wish the social democratic voices in Labour all the very best in their battle against the neoliberal New Labour old guard. As things stand, though, Labour offer very little in the way of an alternative. Hope it doesn’t stay that way.

  18. Ryan Duffer

    RT @TomHarrisMP: Priceless! @DrEvanHarris: "If you want to get rid of fees vote more LibDems into power!" http://bit.ly/hAlZmb (via @iai …

  19. Jean Rolt

    RT @gary_hughes: Utterly bizarre: “@kiramadeira: My head nearly exploded reading this http://bit.ly/hAlZmb Breathtaking”

  20. Evan Harris

    @ 18 Mr. Sensible

    I was concerned by the article you cite – and the opinion poll of debt aversion is a main reason to oppose the policy – but

    1) The IFS latest study – 8th December refutes some aspects of the million+ study since the Govt changed the policy post Browne to make it more progressive. See http://www.ifs.org.uk/bns/bn113.pdf

    2) the cost to the tax-payer of subsidising loans is in Govt accounts as “Resource Accounting Budget” – see my article here http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/political-science/2010/dec/09/tuition-fees-liberal-democrat which covers this after I raised this with Treasury to check whether the RAB amount – at 28% is reasonable (and Office of Budget Resp have I think approved it), and also that RAB impacts Govt debt not fiscal deficit.

    Evan

  21. Rebecca

    Analysis and comments from a Lib Dem:

    In 2004 17% (72/411) Labour MPs voted against the introduction of top up tuition fees.

    Last week, 36% (21/57) Lib Dem MPs voted against raising tuition fees, a bigger rebellion (proportionately more than double) than Labour in 2004.

    This week was also the first time that the Labour party voted en masse against tuition fees, as previously a clear majority of Labour MPs had always voted in favour. Why did the Labour party not back the NUS pledge during the election campaign if this was their intention?

    A simple question: Why did the the Labour party not back the NUS pledge?

  22. Nick

    @Rebecca: the Labour party *did* back the NUS pledge, regardless of whether they said beforehand that they would. The Lib Dems, by contrast, said that they would back it, then failed to do so.

  23. Is Simon Hughes Britain's most confused politician? | Left Foot Forward

    […] Evan Harris’s bizarre claim last week that the only way to get rid of fees was to “vote more Liberal Democrats into […]

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