Today’s the day that MPs will vote on whether to raise the cap on tuition fees. And, as they have been doing since Browne was published, Labour are currently digging into the Lib Dems for not caving into them breaking the NUS pledge. Including Tom Harris, MP for Glasgow South, who as you may recall, voted for the HEA2004, to which I challenged him on Twitter:
- “So what’s the biggest lesson we’ve learned today? That’s right – don’t sign pre-election pledges just to get votes.“
- “Or lie in your 2001 manifesto to gain votes. That includes you personally, btw. You voted for the HEA2004 after all.”
- “We promised not to introduce top-up fees during the 2001 parliament. We didn’t; they came in at end of 2005.“
- “Yes, but you voted for them in 2004. Pretty sure that counts as “the 2001 Parliament”.“
- “Indeed I did. But manifesto said we wouldn’t *introduce* them in 2001 parliament, and we didn’t.“
Now, this just says it all, doesn’t it? Whereas the Lib Dems are generally regretful and open about the fact that some are breaking the pledge, Labour are denying that they broke their promise. In fact, in Harris’s case, he’s proud that he did (and several other MPs, including Alan Johnson, are of the same opinion).
And, of course, top-up fees only apply in England. Which makes Harris’s actions, as an MP for a Scottish constituency, even worse than, say, Miliband or Harman on the issue (as the vote did affect their constituents).
Remind me, why should students vote for Labour?