• Tuition Fees

    Contrary to what you may read in the papers, the Liberal Democrats do not support increasing university tuition fees. It remains party policy to abolish up-front tuition fees.

    tuitionfeesWe do now, however, find ourselves in a situation where some Liberal Democrat MPs may vote to increase fees because this is to be the policy of the coalition government. This is wrong. I could go into all of the technical details of what is wrong with the current proposals, it is after all a subject that I have campaigned on for over 10 years now, but I won’t.

    Simply, it is wrong for Lib Dem MPs to support these proposals because they made a promise to the people that voted for them to vote against any increase in tuition fees. This is not an issue of ideologies or of party politics, this is extremely straight forward, it is a question of integrity.

    I, and many other Lib Dems across the country, have been proud to go out campaigning, on doorsteps, and tell people that the Liberal Democrats are different. We are different because we stick to our pledges, because we deliver on our promises, because we won’t just ‘say anything to get elected’. Nick Clegg himself made great capital before May’s election from promising a fresh start and a new politics of honesty and integrity. How then can any MP expect anyone to vote for them ever again if they betray that trust and break a personal signed pledge less than 7 months later?

    I am proud that our local Lib Dem MP here in Portsmouth, Mike Hancock, is going to vote against any increase in tuition fees. He, like I, believes that this is a question of integrity. His exact words to me were “a pledge is a pledge”.

    Now I urge every other Lib Dem MP to honour their pledge and vote against any increase in tuition fees.