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Seven days left before parliament vote on tuition fees

December 2, 2010

It was announced yesterday that the parliamentary vote on tuition fees will take place next Thursday, 9 December. By staging the vote on a Thursday evening, it has been claimed, MPs from smaller parties like the Democratic Unionists, Scottish and Welsh Nationalists will be missing, making a victory for the government more likely. Aaron Porter, president of the NUS, tweeted late last night from @AaronPorter: “disgraceful tactics from the Govt, if true they have scheduled the tuition fee vote next Thur to stop some MPs voting.”

We’ll blog a number of things that you might do in the run up to the parliamentary vote. Today we recommend that everyone writes to their MP on the issue.

Writing to your MP takes a matter of minutes online using – which finds your MP for you and sends the email you prepare or paste in. Because response statistics to this facility are public, many MPs are keen to acknowledge and reply to letters sent to this using this website. The Campaign for the Public University offer a model letter to cut, paste and adapt use here.

LibDem MPs are able to abstain under the Coalition agreement, but an abstention from them will simply wave the proposal through. Abstention is effectively support for the proposed changes. If your MP is a LibDem MP, it would be important to point this out when you write, and remind them of their pledge to campaign against any rise in tuition fees. All elected LibDem MPs signed the pledge:

I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative

Other signatories include:

  • Phil Woolas (Lab), Oldham East and Saddlworth, Immigration Minister
  • Tony McNulty (Lab) Harrow East, ex-Home Office Minister
  • Roberta Blackman-Woods (Lab), City of Durham, PPS to Higher Education Minister David Lammy
  • Jon Cruddas (Lab) Dagenham and Rainham, ex-Labour deputy leadership candidate
  • Gisela Stuart (Lab) Birmingham Edgbaston, ex-Europe Minister
  • Cathy Jamieson (Lab), Kilmarnock and Loudoun, former Deputy and Acting Leader, Scottish Labour
  • Frank Dobson (Lab), Holborn and St Pancras, ex-Health Secretary
  • Sir Gerald Kaufman (Lab), Manchester Gorton, ex-industry minister
  • Karen Buck (Lab), Westminster North and Regents Park, ex-Transport Minister
  • Kate Hoey (Lab), Vauxhall, ex-Sport Minister
  • Nick Ainger (Lab), Camarthen West and Pembrokeshire South, ex-Wales Minister
  • Michael Meacher (Lab), Oldham West and Royton, ex-Environment Minister
  • Steve McCabe (Lab), Birmingham Selly Oak, Government Whip and former PPS to Charles Clarke during top-up fees bill – 2003-04
  • Janet Anderson (Lab), Rossendale and Darwen, ex-Culture Minister
  • Andrew Smith (Lab), Oxford East, ex-Treasury Minister
  • Alan Whitehead (Lab), Southampton Test, ex-Environment Minister
  • Caroline Lucas (Green), Brighton Pavilion, Green Party leader
  • Salma Yaqoob, (Respect), Birmingham Hall Green, Respect Party leader

Labour MPs are expected to vote against the proposals.

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