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Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Vince Cable may abstain in tuition fees vote

The Guardian reports that Vince Cable, who is the cabinet minister in charge of tuition fees, has said that he is prepared to abstain in a key vote on the government's policy if that is what fellow Liberal Democrat MPs decide to do as a group.

That is of course allowed under the coalition agreement but whether it is enough to head off a revolt by Liberal Democrat MPs, who are threatening to vote against the proposals is yet to be seen.

The paper says that the party's 57 MPs are in talks this morning in a bid to find a solution to the "difficult" situation created by the proposals, amid growing grassroots pressure from within their own ranks to abide by their pre-election pledge.

My view remains unchanged that the pledge given by individual Liberal Democrat MPs not to support an increase in fees means that they should oppose these measures. I accept that there may be different considerations for Ministers. I was pleased this morning when the Welsh Liberal Democrat Leader, Kirsty Williams, made it clear that if she were an MP then she would vote against.
Good for Kirsty!.
In Vince's interview he will vote in a group due to collective responsibility- by group does he mean Government (i.e Ministerial Responsibility) or group as in the LibDem Westminster pact?. If it's the former, how does it work in your party? does the leadership/whip state how to vote, or is there a meeting in the House of Commons, with a vote by LibDem MP's? not too sure how the mechanics work!!

And a good day for Wales- great to see a coalition not further increasing fees for the Welsh despite tremendous pressures from Whitehall decisions.
Do you welcome this Peter? also any news on how bursary's and grants for the poorer will be affected due to this?
Jake- I've been following your comments and i'm glad you noticed today's announcement.

I hope you can see the government containing Plaid Cymru has treated students more fairly than the government containg the Lib Dems.

However, one thing you can say about Peter Black is that he always replies to comments- and I for one am genuinely interested in his stance on the Welsh Government's announcement today.
Am I missing something here?

The proposed 'increase' in tuition fees is not an increase per se, but allows universities (looks like just English universities) to charge more up to a specified ceiling, but they many not do so - is this correct?

The reality of course is students are for the most part paying something towards their university education in Wales, just not as much as can be charged to English students if the proposed legislation to increase the ceiling goes through. Yes/No?
jake, as I have just said on Radio Wales, I do welcome the proposals for Wales, which form a good short term solution to this problem and the UK Government should follow suit. There is a whip on the Parliamentary Party but I am not sure how effective it will be in this case. xWCHL, you are correct.
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