Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Room 101 - Lib Dems & Tuition Fees

My 101st blog post. The Number 101, or in its proper context, Room 101, is of course synonomous with George Orwell's Masterpiece 1984.

Room 101 is a torture chamber in the Ministry of Love in which the Party attempts to subject a prisoner to his or her own worst nightmare, fear or phobia.

The Lib Dems' Room 101 - Tuition Fees
After the last week, it could well be said that the issue of tuition fees has become an issue of torture for the party.

In a blog post here that I wrote last week, preceding the big Thursday vote, I gave my take on how the result would likely pan out...

"...my betting (if I was a gambling man), now that the Ministerial team have all said they will vote in favour, is on a Governmental majority of between 10-15 votes".

On the Lib Dem rebels, I also said: "I'm proud that local Ceredigion MP Mark Williams will be one of those and I hope that more than 20 of our backbenchers follow suit".

The Result
The Governmental majority of 21 in the end was a shade over my estimate and the number of Lib Dem MPs to vote against the Government was 21 - just past my estimate.

In Favour (28 MPs)
Danny Alexander
Norman Baker
Sir Alan Beith
Gordon Birtwistle
Tom Brake
Jeremy Browne
Malcolm Bruce
Paul Burstow
Vincent Cable
Alistair Carmichael
Nick Clegg
Edward Davey
Lynne Featherstone
Don Foster
Stephen Gilbert
Duncan Hames
Nick Harvey
David Heath
John Hemming
Norman Lamb
David Laws
Michael Moore
Andrew Stunell
Jo Swinson
Sarah Teather
David Ward
Steve Webb
Government whip Mark Hunter acted as a teller.

Against (21 MPs)
Annette Brooke
Sir Menzies Campbell
Michael Crockart
Tim Farron
Andrew George
Mike Hancock
Julian Huppert
Charles Kennedy
John Leech
Stephen Lloyd
Greg Mulholland
John Pugh
Alan Reid
Dan Rogerson
Bob Russell
Adrian Sanders
Ian Swales
Mark Williams
Roger Williams
Jenny Willott
Simon Wright

Abstained or Absent (8 MPs)
Lorely Burt
Simon Hughes
Tessa Munt
Sir Robert Smith
John Thurso
Stephen Williams
Chris Huhne (at climate summit in Mexico)
Martin Horwood (at climate summit in Mexico)

There's a lot of discontent in the party at a grass-roots level as a result of the divide but unlike the Labour Party when they were in goverrment, I don't see this become a wider rancour at a Parliamentary level at the party leadership.

The Welsh Dimension
A sub-set addition to this result was that here in Wales, all 3 of the Liberal Democrat MPs voted against the measure. Mark Williams and Roger Williams were joined by Jenny Willott who resigned her Government position to do so.

This is one in the eye for nationalists who argue that the Welsh Liberal Democrats, along with the Welsh Conservatives and Welsh Labour are 'London-led' and that they, Plaid Cymru, are the only party that care about and will look after the interests of Wales. What a load of absolute rubbish.

There are many of us here in Wales who can't stand this close-minded nationalistic rhetoric. No one party has a monopoly on patriotism and this one vote in itself shows that we in the Liberal Democrats are a federal party that operate at that federal level. We'll do what we decide is best in Wales and vote accordingly. Kirsty Williams is our leader in Cardiff and we're proud to lead from her example.

Whilst I'm disappointed that the MPs above voted in favour as they did, I'm proud that the 'Welsh Three' stuck to their guns and voted against. More power to their collective elbows.

1 comment:

  1. I didn't realise Ed Davey voted for it, that's a bit disappointing.

    .."I'm proud that the 'Welsh Three' stuck to their guns and voted against. More power to their collective elbows.."

    Very good :)