What Price is Clegg Prepared to Pay for Higher Education?
In March 2006, Stephen Williams, MP for Bristol West said:
"I believe passionately that education should be free at all levels and the fact that the Lib Dems have abolished tuition fees in Scotland shows that it can be done."
I wonder if he still holds this belief as passionately as he did back then?
Along with EVERY elected Liberal Democrat MP, Nick Clegg also signed the pledge while on the election trail and told students that the Lib Dems would "oppose any raising of the cap". Very definite and decisive words that would have convinced many in higher education to back the Liberal Democrats.
In fact, this was one of the Lib Dem's flagship policies - and one of their most popular. It lead to a surge in support from students, with one poll ahead of the general election, showing that 50% of those likely to vote, would vote Liberal Democrat.
So, now it is crunch time. How many of those Liberal Democrat MPs will do the decent thing and stick by their promise? According to the coalition agreement, Lib Dem MPs will be allowed to abstain on any votes on Higher Education Funding - but that is just not good enough.
Clegg and his Lib Dem MPs did not quietly say they would sit on their hands; they said they would oppose, they promised to oppose and they signed a pledge to oppose. Now let us see how they repay the people who did as Nick Clegg asked when he told them:
"Use your vote to block those unfair tuition fees and get them scrapped once and for all."