Tuition fees: How Liberal Democrat MPs voted

21 Lib Dem MPs voted against:

  • Annette Brooke (Dorset Mid & Poole North) Annette gives her reasons here.
  • Sir Menzies Campbell (Fife North East)
  • Michael Crockart (Edinburgh West)
  • Tim Farron (Westmorland & Lonsdale)
  • Andrew George (St Ives) See Andrew’s Tuition Fees Statement.
  • Mike Hancock (Portsmouth South)
  • Julian Huppert (Cambridge) See Julian’s website.
  • Charles Kennedy (Ross, Skye & Lochaber)
  • John Leech (Manchester Withington) John’s tuition fees speech in full.
  • Stephen Lloyd (Eastbourne) Stephen spoke exclusively to the Eastbourne Herald.
  • Greg Mulholland (Leeds North West) See Greg’s article in the Daily Mirror.
  • John Pugh (Southport) John spoke to the Liverpool Echo.
  • Alan Reid (Argyll & Bute)
  • Dan Rogerson (Cornwall North)
  • Bob Russell (Colchester)
  • Adrian Sanders (Torbay)
  • Ian Swales (Redcar)
  • Mark Williams (Ceredigion) Mark spoke of his disappointment that the vote was lost.
  • Roger Williams (Brecon and Radnorshire)
  • Jenny Willott (Cardiff Central) Jenny outlined her position on her website ahead of the vote.
  • Simon Wright (Norwich South)
  • 27 Lib Dems voted for:

  • Danny Alexander (Inverness, Nairn, Badenoch and Strathspey)
  • Norman Baker (Lewes)
  • Sir Alan Beith (Berwick-upon-Tweed)
  • Gordon Birtwistle (Burnley)
  • Tom Brake (Carshalton & Wallington) See Tom’s website for his reasons.
  • Jeremy Browne (Taunton Deane)
  • Malcolm Bruce (Gordon)
  • Paul Burstow (Sutton & Cheam)
  • Vincent Cable (Twickenham)
  • Alistair Carmichael (Orkney & Shetland)
  • Nick Clegg (Sheffield Hallam)
  • Edward Davey (Kingston & Surbiton) Ed spoke to the Surrey Comet.
  • Lynne Featherstone (Hornsey & Wood Green) Lynne has blogged her reasons here.
  • Don Foster (Bath) Don told the Bath Chronicle of his “moral dilemma”.
  • Stephen Gilbert (St Austell and Newquay) See Stephen’s Statement on Higher Education funding votes.
  • Duncan Hames (Chippenham) See Duncan’s website for a related statement.
  • Nick Harvey (Devon North) Nick wrote about this last month on his website.
  • David Heath (Somerton & Frome)
  • John Hemming (Birmingham Yardley)
  • Norman Lamb (Norfolk North)
  • David Laws (Yeovil)
  • Michael Moore (Berwickshire, Roxburgh & Selkirk) The BBC quotes Michael’s arguments here.
  • Andrew Stunell (Hazel Grove)
  • Jo Swinson (Dunbartonshire East) Jo explains why here.
  • Sarah Teather (Brent Central)
  • David Ward (Bradford East)
  • Steve Webb (Thornbury and Yate) Steve summarises his reasons on his Webb Log.
  • From Andrew Sparrow on the Guardian’s Politics Live blog:

    “The government whip Mark Hunter (Cheadle) acted as a teller. That means he supported the government, but that his name will not appear as a “yes” in the division list.

    8 Lib Dems did not vote:

  • Lorely Burt (Solihull)
  • Martin Horwood (Cheltenham)
  • Simon Hughes (Bermondsey & Old Southwark) Simon sets out his reasons in this Evening Standard article.
  • Chris Huhne (Eastleigh)
  • Tessa Munt (Wells)
  • Sir Robert Smith (Aberdeenshire West and Kincardine)
  • John Thurso (Caithness, Sutherland & Easter Ross)
  • Stephen Williams (Bristol West) Stephen explains the reasons for his abstention on his website.
  • Huhne and Horwood did not vote because they are at the climate change conference in Cancun. Huhne would have backed the government, and Horwood would have voted against.”

    It’s also notable that Leader Nick Clegg voted for; Deputy Leader Simon Hughes abstained while Party President-elect Tim Farron voted against.

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    This entry was posted in Parliament.


    • david clayton 9th Dec '10 - 7:32pm

      What a mess – and now the Lib Dems are the nasty party


      Don’t worry I will catch with her come next election with a few reminders about how she fooled us all….

    • What is abundantly clear is that Lib Dem MPs did not support the proposal to increase tuition fees. The vast majority of backbench Lib Dem MPs voting against or abstaining. I can only see 10 backbenchers voting for against 28 voting against or abstaining. It is clear that a large number of Lib Dem ministers would have liked to abstain or vote against. It is understandable that they want to remain ministers, not for power or money but to enact other Lib Dem policies and principles. Any politician wants to run things and influence matters. It is clearly an issue and about the only one that we got wrong in the coalition agreement.

      For me, the argument is not about graduate taxes/contributions. It is about £3 billion out of £700 billion – under 0.5% of government spending. Graduates pay roughly half the cost at the moment, it is not unreasonable that the other half comes from general taxation. And barmy for the Lib Dems to sacrifice 0.5% for so much political trouble. While it might be (I don’t know) possible to put this off the Government balance sheets like PFIs – in reality the increase in fees does not help Government finances until 2015 when the first students graduate and then only a bit.

      The Conservative principles are to have charges and fees like the poll tax and council tax. The Tories think a charge is fair. I hope that the Lib Dems will re-assert our principles to think percentages is fair – the phrase “the broadest shoulder to bear the heaviest burden” comes to mind. By my calculations someone on £27,667 pays 2.1% of the income over 30 years. On £41,000 – 1.8%. On £61,000 – 1.19%. And on £100,000 – 0.64%. This excludes calculations on having a sliding real rate of interest but those on high incomes pay off the loan very quickly. And of course the “middle” is squeezed most – with those on around £27,667 paying the most as a percentage. It is difficult to see why someone on free school meals who becomes a banker should be considerably better off than someone slightly

    • i will never vote libdem again.they are closet tories

    • Christine Headley 9th Dec '10 - 8:58pm


      All three of those women are ministers or Vince Cable’s PPS. While I applaud Jenny Willott for resigning in order to vote against, I don’t think it is reasonable to expect all the women involved in government to do so. Maybe Lynne Featherstone thought she could do more good in government rather than outside (and they would need to find another LD MP able to do her job). Yes, I too regret the way the vote went, but I don’t think your reason is a good one to hit them over the head with.

    • Steve Simmons 9th Dec '10 - 9:12pm

      “The Conservative principles are to have charges and fees like the poll tax and council tax. The Tories think a charge is fair. I hope that the Lib Dems will re-assert our principles to think percentages is fair – the phrase “the broadest shoulder to bear the heaviest burden” comes to mind. By my calculations someone on £27,667 pays 2.1% of the income over 30 years. On £41,000 – 1.8%. On £61,000 – 1.19%. And on £100,000 – 0.64%. This excludes calculations on having a sliding real rate of interest but those on high incomes pay off the loan very quickly. And of course the “middle” is squeezed most – with those on around £27,667 paying the most as a percentage. It is difficult to see why someone on free school meals who becomes a banker should be considerably better off than someone slightly”

      I’ve been making that point ad nauseum for the last few weeks. The new system is fiscally regressive and is the complete opposite to the Lib Dem ‘aim’ of funding HE through progressive taxation. It is tory philosophy, pure and simple.

    • David from Ealing 9th Dec '10 - 9:22pm

      Quite apart from the question of the fees is the change in how universities will be funded. The huge change in central funding for teaching will have huge implications for universities. Those who voted for the Browne proposals haven’t thought it through.

    • Michael at 20:16 is right.

      This party is kidding itself. Your leader is using you to support Thatchernomics Part II.

      As a party – it wasn’t the policy. As a parliamentary party – it strongly voted against the plans. As a hierarchy, 2 of the 3 senior posts voted against. As an activist base, anecdotal evidence suggests there was strong distaste for the policy.

      Nick Clegg got his 17 co-conspirators to vote for – and now you’re to the right of the Tories.

      You have destroyed your next 20 years.

    • What a fantastic turn-out by the students today. They’ve marched for their cause and for democracy. They should all feel very proud of themselves.

      The 34 MPs that reneged on their electoral promise will be despised for the rest of their political careers, which hopefully, will end prematurely.

    • I don’t know why you’d be surprised. This government is (to coin a phrase) the last dribble of Thatcherism down the leg of British politics. The Thatcherite era is coming to an end, and the coalition reeks of the fin de siecle desperation of yesterday’s men. The next Labour government will be as revolutionary as the governments of Thatcher, Attlee and Campbell-Bannerman, and like those governments it will turn the impossible into the inevitable and usher in a new political reality that will dominate for a generation.

    • victimoftheliberals 9th Dec '10 - 10:31pm

      thank you liberals for access to education based not on ability, but ability to pay. Back to the 1920s with Nick Clegg…

    • Only eight backbenchers voted in favour (Beith, Brake, Bruce, Foster, Gilbert, Hemming, Laws, Ward) the rest are payrol ie ministers, whips and PPS’s. That is a pretty unsuccessful attempt by the party leadership to sell the policy to the wider parliamentary party.

      If you discount Huhne/Horwood out of the equation then the party has basically failed to persuade the other 27, six of whom stuck by the coalition opt out and the other 21 openly defied it.

    • victimoftheliberals 9th Dec '10 - 10:52pm

      when are those party members who do not support their party leadership – who didn’t vote for this disgrace – going to resign the party whip?

    • Why would they resign the party whip for voting along the lines set out if Official Lib Dem party policy?

    • John Roffey 9th Dec '10 - 11:51pm

      I wonder if this will be considered a worthwhile victory when the L/D MPs who supported the measure realise the contempt with which they are held within the country at large, the violence, injury and damaged caused and the heir to the throne and his wife’s car attacked in what could have been avery nasty incident.

      I have said before that too many of the Party’s leading figures seem to live in a fantasy world and have no idea what the people think and what they are feeling – astonishing.

    • Ministers could have voted against and kept their jobs

      There was a report presented to English Council of the FE meeting on 25th Oct which says:
      “When [Nick was] asked if any MP who voted against the Coalition proposal on Tuition Fees would be penalised in any way, he promised that they would not”

      (I’m making the assumption – reasonable I think – that English Party rep on the FE wasn’t just inventing things!)

    • @ Alec Macph

      NC and VC leading the argument for the new policy after they had made the pledge inflamed the passions, it gave the protestors total belief in the justness of their cause – a view shared by the majority.

      Yes, of course it was the HRH car trashers who were responsible, but if the passions of the students had not needlessly been aroused the protest would unlikely have been so violent and HRH would probably not have been put in harms way.

      It is dangerous to give just cause to protestors so early when so many contentious issues lie ahead.

    • david clayton 10th Dec '10 - 6:52am

      this is probably only the start. There are many more cuts coming along which disproportionately affect the poor and powerless. The Lib Dems either remain positioned as the party of the rich and powerful…..or ditch Clegg. The former will lead to electoral insignificance – the latter may not.

    • simon wilson 10th Dec '10 - 9:03am

      If all those people who claim to have voted for us (but will not do so in future) had actually voted for us, the party would have a majority Government

    • Yes of course Alec you have a point but I aways thought, hoped…assumed that regardless of your wealth or privileged background, as a woman or ethnic minority or disabled etc, you can empathise with been discriminated with so instantly-like me-you have empathy for struggle. Cause we’ve all struggled no?

      No, Rp – my experience shows you have this completely wrong. Often they are the ones who will “kick the cat”! That is good theory, but doesn’t work out in practice.

      And the case of women is rather different – women are “struggling” or whatever verb you like to apply, from all over the social spectrum, and will have huge amounts more in common with men from similar backgrounds / families etc than with women from different social / ethnic / cultural backgrounds, and all will often struggle to understand needs from those different backgrounds.

    • Hywel that might have been said at an English Council meeting. I very much doubt if it would have happened in practice!

    • Interesting post, Reader. And I wonder whether there will be a significant faction of us from the Lib Dems with tat movement? Something many of us have fought for for 25 or 30 years!

    • David Evans 10th Dec '10 - 9:45am

      @ victimoftheliberals

      “when are those party members who do not support their party leadership – who didn’t vote for this disgrace – going to resign the party whip?”

      Never. They are the real Liberals.

    • Why is it that Conservative and Liberal administrations always produce extreme violence on the streets? Answer: because they are deeply illiberal supporters of capital. Just think of Asquith and Lloyd George and the civil disorder which they produced. We thought that as a party you had changed, become a tad more left of centre but you haven’t. We never saw these levels of violent disorder under Tony Blair or Gordon Brown despite the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Already people are longing for the stability Gordon Brown brought to an extremely dangerous economic situation. You are learning the hard way that taking ordinary working people’s rights and money away from them will not make you popular. Saying that you can’t help breaking your pledge because you didn’t win the election is no excuse. You wouldn’t even be in coalition if you hadn’t lied to all those University Constituencies. And you did lie because books being published reveal that weeks before the result of the General Election you were already planning to dump your commitment not to raise tuition fees yet you continued signing your pledge in front of University Students. The tragedy for your party is that the tuition fee policy is, in the main, a Tory policy which you are taking all the obloquy for. It should not only be Cable that has to bear the brunt of all the antagonism: it is Cameron’s and Osborne’s policy. But they are nowhere to be seen and receive no criticism from the media. Has it really been worth breaking your party’s back simply to do Osborne and Cameron’s dirty work? Clever “Call me Dave” and “Boy George”. They have contrived to make the outrageous policy on tuition fees seem all the work of the Liberal Democrats. Get out of your Coalition now before you get the blame for the privatisation of the NHS.

    • toryboysnevergrowup 10th Dec '10 - 9:52am

      Given that the Govt. vote was clearly whipped or otherwise coerced then the conclusion must be that no provision was made for Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain – therefore if the Liberal Democrats have honoured the coalition agreement then the only logical position is that the Liberal Democrats support the tuition fee proposals.

      The choice Liberal Democrat members is to support a party which supports the tuition fee proposals or one which has broken the coalition agreement – there is no other rational explanations much as the ditherers like Simon Hughes may like to think they are.

    • toryboysnevergrowup 10th Dec '10 - 9:59am

      David Evans

      And what sort of Liberal are Simon Hughes and those who abstained – traditional ones who cannot make a decision and want to be all things to all people I presume.

    • toryboysnevergrowup 10th Dec '10 - 10:02am

      Could Nick Clegg please tell us which other of the coalition agreement provisions are no longer valid and will be ignored. Will Huhne be removed before the volte farce on nuclear power?

    • toryboysnevergrowup 10th Dec '10 - 10:12am

      Was Crockhart the only one on the payroll vote who voted against? If so he should be preserved as the last LibDem who made a sacrifice for something he believed in.

    • I would like to take this opportunity to say a very big “thank you” to Stephen Lloyd MP, whom I helped elect last May. My efforts were not in vain.

      Just after the election, the “Grauniad” marked out Stephen Lloyd and Simon Wright as the two new Lib Dem Parliamentarians to watch. Maybe they were on to something. I do hope so.

    • No, Mike Crockart was not the only one – Jenny Willott also voted against, and resigned her post.

    • Interesting all the Welsh Lib Dems votes again which is good but then the increases don’t apply in Wales.

    • I sent an email to Sarah Teather asking her not to vote for the increase.. I got no response.. Bring back Charles Kennedy- a man of principles, I feel detrayed by Cable and Teather- never trusted Clegg..

      I will never vote lib dem again!! I will now join the labour party

    • toryboysnevergrowup 10th Dec '10 - 11:17am


      If those on the payroll vote who voted against had to resign I would have thought that this is a pretty strong indication that there was whipping or something that amounted to the same thing.

      This is either a breach of the coalition agreement or by some process (Clegg diktat) the Liberal Democrats have decided to support the Government’s position and it is now the policy of Liberal Democrats in Parliament.

      Given that both would appear to be against the agreed policies of the Party surely there has to be some challenge to the leadership – although I would count on Simon Hughes making such a challenge since he is incapable of making a decision on the underlying issue.

    • A key point, I suggest, is that this isn’t fundamentally a “social liberal” versus “orange booker” division. It is a division between the Ministerial bubble and the world outside.

      Lib Dems of all shades of opinion from the outside world, who speak to ordinary nonpolitical people on a daily basis, overwhelmingly understood that when you make a pledge to the voters, you had better keep it. The Lib Dems in government, busy with their red boxes and their endless high-power meetings, saw a different form of reality. For the first time in their political lives, it is not just speeches and byelections, it is individual career achievement, and it is making a real difference – though rather a small difference.

      As the Guardian leader today puts it, it is the achievement of Lib Dems in government that “the marketisation of higher education … has been softened round the edges.” As the Guardian also says, this is “a shaky basis on which to rally support.”

      What we need to do is to drag our Ministers outside the Westminster bubble and away from their glittering careers. They need to understand that they got it wrong. And if they go on believing that their role in life is to push through an extreme neo-conservative agenda while softening it around the edges, they will go on getting it wrong.

    • LibDems have at last voted as a government for something progressive. I am resigning from Labour and will now join The LibDems because they are the progressive party who are honest, upfront and willing to take the necessary tough decisions.

    • Will all keepers of the Blairite faith follow Rob and the parties be restructured accordingly?

    • No Matt, he doesn’t vote in the Scottish parliament.

    • Did you see John Hemming on The Daily Politics today? Hahahahaha, how could that man argue that he hadn’t broken his pledge? He was like a child who has been caught red handed, then tries to deny it was him. It was hilarious, Nick Watt was having a good laugh too.

    • The front=page headline in yesterday’s Evening Standard was “CLEGG ACCUSES STUDENTS OF LIVING IN DREAM WORLD”. Maybe he could enlighten us as to which world he was living in when he signed the NUS pledge?

    • As a matter of interest could someone tell me what the mechanism is within the Liberal Democrat party for removing a Leader? For example, does it require a petition by a prespecified number of MPs or can any member initiate the process? Would it demand a special conference or would it simply be a case of men (and/or women) in suits telling Clegg they were going to have to let him go? I am not being disingenuous, I am simply curious.

    • @ Matt

      Many thanks Matt. I shall reflect on that.

    • toryboysnevergrowup 10th Dec '10 - 7:29pm

      On the other hand we could just try using the recall mechanism in Sheffield Hallam, when and if it is introduced. That would achieve the same result.

    • @Rob 10th December 2010 at 12:31 pm

      The LP thanks you lmao.

    • Flabergasted at the lack of integrity from Liberal MPS! Especially disappointed with Norman Baker. I really believed in him and feel bewildered by his yes vote.

      However they try to dress it up, they are guilty of bare-faced lying to their supporters. You promised us that you would not just resist any increase in tuition fees, but would abolish them if you had the choice. How can we believe anything you say again?!?

      As a LibDem voter at the last election, I felt betrayed that my vote (I am pretty left-leaning but had lost faith in Labour) had been used in order to put the Tories into power .. not what I intended by any stretch of the imagination.

      Sorry but there is no way I will be used in this way again, and pledge (this pledge will mean something! :P) never to vote Liberal again. I bet I am not alone.

      Whilst writing, can anyone explain to me how this new system will save the government money? I might be incredibly off-mark but I can’t help thinking that if the government funds the student loans, how is it saving costs? Especially if we are to believe that students, although more heavily in debt than ever before, will be expected to repay less. As an accountant, I can’t make these figures add up? Can anyone enlighten me please?

    • Thanks Matt. You are so very right! I was half hoping that I had done my sums wrong but maybe not. One advantage to this from the government’s point of view is that the costs of student loans are, I believe, off balance sheet whereas university funding is not.

      The rich get richer and the poor get poorer … what a nice, fair society we find ourselves in.

      I for one was heartened to see students out on the streets protesting. I would love to join them, but have to confess to being put-off by the police tactics of kettling. As a mum, I can’t risk not being home at a certain time and this tactic makes it very difficult. Of course, there is also the violence to consider (most of which I have witnessed from the police, sadly).

      At risk of sounding a bit conspiracy-theorist, I also ponder why a police van was left abandoned in a sea of protestors and why the heir to the throne was directed right into a group of protestors … is this part of a propoganda war? Or am I just getting paranoid now lol?

      Kudos to all those people who are joining the protests!

    • The BBC keeps reporting that there were only FIVE LibDem abstentions with THREE absentees. I know that Chris Huhne and Martin Horwood were in Mexico – but does anyone know who the third absentee was and why?

    • Ian Campbell 11th Dec '10 - 5:04pm

      We keep being told that we are all in this together. So surely all graduates should pay back their tuition fees, existing as well as future graduates, starting with the Lib-Dem MPs who broke their pledges.

    • Shame on all of those who voted for this measure, AND those who abstained. This is one former LD voter who has learned an important lesson: never again. You have lost my vote for good.

    • Just adding my name to the list of people who will never vote LibDem again.

    • Mike Falchikov 12th Dec '10 - 10:36pm

      Astonished at people who don’t understand how Scotland works. Westminster MPs do not have a vote in the
      Scottish Parliament – why should they? When the SP was first elected in 1999, there were a small number of sitting
      MPs elected to the SP, who held a dual mandate until the next British election in 2001when they stood down from
      Westminster (e.g. Deputy 1st Minister Jim Wallace, who was MSP for Orkney and MPfor Orkney & Shetland for those
      two years). There are currently 2 Labour MSPs elected to Westminster at the recent election who will stand down
      from the SP before the May 2011 elections. Danny Alexander was not elected to anything until 2005, by which time in any case Scotland was supposed to have solved its problems with tuition fees. Learn a bit about how devolved
      government works before sounding off.


      What £9000, are you having a joke?

    • Jim Hardaker 25th May '14 - 8:51pm

      That people were so outraged about this shows what a high regard Lib Dem supporters held their party in.

      Other parties break their pledges left, right and centre and hardly anyone bats an eyelid.

      People expected more from the Lib Dems, and that’s the key issue. They clearly saw us as a more honest and more principled alternative to Labour and the Conservatives and now that we’ve shown them that isn’t the case it’s going to take years to win back their support.

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