Federal Policy Committee confirms party’s tuition fee pledge

From the Liberal Democrats website:

Tonight, Wednesday October 13, the Federal Policy Committee of the Liberal Democrats held their regular meeting.

During the meeting they held a special session to discuss the latest announcements following the Browne Review.

In a statement following the meeting, the committee spokesperson said: “FPC confirms the Liberal Democrat party policy remains to phase out tuition fees.

“We are now in a coalition government and we will continue during the period of discussion and consultation to work with our coalition partners towards achieving a policy that meets our key concerns and is progressive.”

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17 Comments

  • I think the reason the federal committee are doing this is because if they change their pledge, they may need to call a conference and a vote by the membership. This is a very cynical move, they say they support it for the long term so they don’t have to face a defeat by the party over the Browne report before they push it through.

  • The party membership can call an emergency conference if we want to. We have the numbers. We just don’t need to yet.

  • I’m looking at it more like FPC trying to express its displeasure at Party Policy apparently being ignored by the Party’s Leadership but maybe I am misreading things its difficult to know unless you were there

  • Elaine Bagshaw 14th Oct '10 - 8:53am

    A sensible statement from FPC and really all that they can do within their remit.

    I’d like to know what our Federal Executive will be doing about this, and whether they have had any discussions with Vince, Nick and co on this matter. If they vote in favour of Browne they will be voting with the Government but they’ll also be voting against party policy and it could be argued against the Coalition document, which allows for abstentions on this.

  • Richard Hill 14th Oct '10 - 9:06am

    The people against tuition fees and excepting reality certainly seem to have a stranglehold on the party. I am sure I am not the only one that thinks it is a good and fair way forward for now . If the economy is sorted out and starts to improve we can look at things again.

  • Anthony Aloysius St 14th Oct '10 - 9:13am

    “I’d like to know what our Federal Executive will be doing about this, and whether they have had any discussions with Vince, Nick and co on this matter. If they vote in favour of Browne they will be voting with the Government but they’ll also be voting against party policy and it could be argued against the Coalition document, which allows for abstentions on this.”

    The trouble is that it’s a fine old mess, because in voting for the coalition agreement the Federal Executive voted to make it impossible for the MPs to fulfil their pledges to the electorate. But of course the MPs voted for the agreement too, so they are mostly to blame for the pickle.

  • I’m at the end of the line with Nick and the leadership.

  • I always thought the Party’s policy on tuition fees was wrong but it’s a moot point whether Browne’s is really any better or is just another wayof kicking the can down the road. Whatever its technical merits this is first and foremost a political question. MPs who have signed the pledge must in honour vote against (not abstain) or it will be held against us for decades to come. Thank heavens that some like Ming Campbell are men and women of honour even if others are not.

    And don’t for a moment this will be the the last such moment. The cuts have yet to be delivered let alone begun to bite and while other cases may not have quite the knife-in-the-ribs quality of the pledge they will collectively be far worse.

    One of the key attributes necessary to lead a party is political smarts which Blair, for all his dreadful policies, had in abundance. Clegg doesn’t have what it takes and like Irfan I’m at the end of the line with him.

  • Rob Sheffield 14th Oct '10 - 5:57pm

    Hughsie on snoozenight last night kept mentioning the final decision on Browne won’t be taken for “six to eight weeks”.

    Yet the departmental spending totals are next week!

    These include the HEFCE teaching grant totals earmarked for a recuction from 3.2bn to 700 million and that make fees of 7k- 12k inevitable.

    Does he know something about the Osborne totals for BIS that Browne did not ??!!

    Or was he just desperately trying to avoid answering Faxperson questions: with that huge foto of him and his signed ‘no to tuition fees’ pledge card as the unfortunate backdrop.

  • Are there party sanctions against MPs who vote against party policy?

  • for years I lived in areas where my vote for Lib/Dem was considered a wasted vote, none the less I voted for them, to me their policies were fair, and I thought it was a party of integrity. This will all finish for me if the Lib Dem
    MPs abstain rather than vote against higher tution fees.

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