The coalition government will go ahead with plans to raise tuition fees, after the policy was approved by 21 votes this evening.

The vote was announced after a five-hour debate in the House of Commons. The coalition motion, backed by 323 votes to 302, would raise fees to a maximum of £9,000 a year.

Some 21 Lib Dems rebelled, while 27 – including the party’s ministers – backed the change. Eight, including Lib Dem deputy leader Simon Hughes, abstained.

Lib Dem MPs Mike Crockart and Jenny Willott resigned as junior ministerial aides to enable themselves to vote against the fees rise, followed by Conservative Lee Scott.

Jenny Willott MP

Jenny Willott is due to resign

As well as Labour, all 12 MPs from Northern Ireland are thought to have rejected the proposals, along with SNP and Plaid Cymru members, and the Green Party’s Caroline Lucas.

These events took place against a backdrop of mass protests, as hundreds of students took to the streets of Westminster. This is the third protest against increasing tuition fees.

"Nick Clegg, Shame on you, Shame on you for turning blue"

Tuition fee protests earlier this month

Scotland Yard says 10 police officers have been hurt in clashes between police and students. Three are in hospital, and one has suffered a serious neck injury.

So far 15 arrests have been made.

At the time of writing, protesters are attacking the Supreme Court building in Parliament Square. They are not thought to have got in.

The BBC has reported an attack on the car containing the Prince of Wales and Duchess of Cornwall, as they travelled through central London on the way to the Royal Variety Show. Their car was kicked as they drove along Regent Street, and paint was thrown. Their window is rumoured to have been smashed. The BBC are discussing a “serious lapse in security”.

P1020594
Tuition fee protests earlier this month

Student protesters remain in Parliament Square. One BBC reported said “there are a group here who clearly are not ready to go home”.

Advertisements