Statement On Tuition Fees

Mark Reckless MP with University of Kent students on the day of the vote

Yesterday in a tense and emotional atmosphere, with student protest around Parliament, MPs voted by 323 to 302 votes to raise tuition fees from just over £3000, to £6000, and potentially to £9000.

I was one of the 302 who voted against that government proposal. Five other Conservative and twenty one Liberal Democrat colleagues joined me in the ‘No’ lobby. It is not easy to vote with only a minority of my side of the House but I know that it was also not easy for many MPs who did vote with the government to make their decision. I also pay tribute to Tracey Crouch MP who was as principled in her abstention as those of us who voted either for or against.

I found it particularly difficult to justify the suddenness of the move with one student required to pay only around £3000 but then another student, potentially a sister just one year behind at school, expected to pay two or three times more with very little warning. I also believe that as MPs we should make decisions and whenever possible try and explain those likely decisions before an election, rather than use a report from someone who is not elected, however distinguished, to justify a decision (the Browne Report).

I was enormously impressed by the students who put their case to me on this issue.  They asked me why they should have to pay so much when Welsh and Scottish and in many cases EU students did not have to pay at all.  I then showed David Willetts, the universities minister, detailed statistics showing that 46% of EU students due to repay a loan from the British taxpayer were in default. I have also asked govenment ministers how thay can justify an 80% decrease in grant to universities in the context of a 60% increase in our net payments to the EU.

I cannot justify it, and voted accordingly.



Filed under mark reckless, rochester and strood, strood

9 responses to “Statement On Tuition Fees

  1. John D

    Thank you – The correct decision made, no doubt, under pressure to toe the line.

  2. Tea Boy

    Thank you Mark.
    We shall as they say ……remember in May!
    It was very brave of you not follow the herd.
    Much appreciated.

  3. Paul T

    A very decision. Thank you. Proud to have you as my MP.

  4. Steve D

    Thanks Mark, I applaud your brave decision.

  5. Jean Darley

    I was very dismayed to find that 2 Conservative MP’s in Medway chose to run away from support to the Coalition Government over the tuition fees.

    The coalition needs to stand strong to get these cuts through parliament. As far as I am concerned you fell at the first hurdle, and again you have caused me shame to be a Tory voter.

    This “student debt” is only on paper. Most will probably never have to repay it all.

  6. Pingback: Mark Reckless MP could not justify “suddenness” of fees increase | Alan W Collins

  7. Colin Matthews

    This was a VERY critical vote and without a doubt Mark casting his NO vote was so important as it showed without doubt that ones own decision can still be taken as opposed to a herd decision, true democracy at work. Many students will not forget Mark’s stand and to be congratulated and be RESPECTED by every constituent member young and old alike.

  8. Medway Student

    Although I am far from your political ally, I have to declare my respect for you for doing the right thing and not bowing to political pressure.

  9. Pingback: Fighting the cuts | The Medwire

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