The Liberal Democrats could become the king-makers again in the coming weeks, when the vote over the proposals set out by Lord Browne enters Parliament in a few months time.
Part of the coalition deal was that the Liberal Democrat MP’s would be allowed to abstain from any vote on tuition fees, however, in the run up to the General Election in May, all 57 Liberal Democrat MP’s signed the NUS pledge to stand against any rise in fees, with Nick Clegg calling any rise “a disaster”.
NUS President Aaron Porter commented that “it would be a complete betrayal of the electorate to abandon this flagship promise.” However Vince Cable said in his Parliamentary speech earlier today that their opposition to graduate contributions was ”simply no longer feasible” in the current economic climate.
The coalition currently has a working majority of 83, so 42 Liberal Democrat MP’s could prevent the proposal passing through Parliament by voting no. This would be the first big blow to the coalition, and could have ramifications on the outcome of the Alternative Vote proposal that passes through Parliament soon after the Higher Education proposal.
Backbench Lib Dem MP Greg Mulholland gave warning that he and others from his party would vote against any rise in tuition fees; “there are many of us, certainly in the Liberal Democrats and I suspect probably across the House to some extent, who are very concerned about that and will oppose any attempt to raise fees in the way that has been leaked from the Browne report.”
Southampton students who want to join the proposed NUS demo on the 10th of November can register for free coach travel to and from London by clicking here.
A petition has been started, trying to convince the Liberal Democrat MPs to vote no in the Parliamentary vote. If you want to sign it, click here.