With a vote of 323 to 302 the Coalition won the Parliamentary vote on tuition fees, despite criticism from Labour and rebellion from Lib Dem and Tory backbenchers. The coalition's proposed rise in tuition fees has led to the resignation of two ministerial aides – Mike Crockart and Jenny Willott. Two former Lib Dem leaders, Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell, were among the 21 Lib Dem MPs who rebelled against the government proposals. Eight Lib Dems also abstained, although two were due to being at the climate change summit in Mexico.
As the debate was under way students were protesting outside parliament. After initially starting peacefully protests started to become violent towards the evening (as news of the votes result spread through the crowd), resulting in clashes with police, vandalising of the Treasury building with graffiti and window smashing and even an attack on the car of Prince Charles and his wife Camilla as they were unfortunate enough to drive past a group of protesters. Officers with riot shields and helmets charged at the protesters in an attempt to control them and there has again been reports of unnecessary violence (with one person even being knocked unconscious) and injuries to both protesters and police.
As stated in my previous post on tuition fees protests I am very much against the rise in tuition fees, so I am extremely disappointed in today's result. These rises are avoidable (80% university teaching budget cuts? C'mon!!) and students really don't need the large amount of debt University education will now bring. On the plus side the Lib Dems look unlikely to get anywhere in government for a long time after abandoning their pledge (although some did show they have principles and stuck to their promises). Despite these controversies I am still an avid Conservative; at least they didn't throw away a promise which got them most of their votes.