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The Roll of Dishonour: A Special Edition Whip


While browsing through Hansard on Tuesday night, I uncovered the records of the division on top-up fees, all the way back in 2004. You know what I found? I found that none of the MPs who voted for Top-Up Fees voted for the fee increase this time around.

In fact, I have a list of 125 names. 125 MPs who will try to paint themselves as defenders of the student interest, but in reality, were more than happy to vote for fees when their party was the one levying them. I’m asking the constituents of these 125 MPs not to praise these hypocrites, but ask them what changed their mind over the course of almost seven years, whether they regret their vote for fees initially, and of course, how much is too much:

Ainsworth, Bob
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Bailey, Adrian
Barron, Kevin
Bayley, Hugh
Beckett, Margaret
Begg, Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, Hilary
Benton, Joe
Betts, Clive
Blears, Hazel
Blunkett, David
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Gordon
Brown, Nicholas
Brown, Russell
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Karen
Burden, Richard
Burnham, Andy
Cairns, David
Campbell, Alan
Campbell, Ronnie
Clarke, Tom
Clwyd, Ann
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cooper, Yvette
Cunningham, Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Darling, Alistair
David, Wayne
Davies, Geraint
Denham, John
Donohoe, Brian H.
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Ellman, Louise
Field, Frank
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Francis, Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gardiner, Barry
Goggins, Paul
Hain, Peter
Hamilton, David
Hamilton, Fabian
Hanson, David
Harman, Harriet
Harris, Tom
Healey, John
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hodge, Margaret
Hood, Jimmy
Howarth, George
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Johnson, Alan
Jones, Kevan
Jowell, Tessa
Joyce, Eric
Kaufman, Gerald
Keen, Alan
Lammy, David
Lazarowicz, Mark
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Ivan
Love, Andrew
McCabe, Stephen
McDonagh, Siobhain
McGuire, Anne
McKechin, Ann
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Khalid
Mann, John
Marsden, Gordon
Michael, Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Jim
Murphy, Paul
Osborne, Sandra
Pound, Stephen
Raynsford, Nick
Robertson, John
Robinson, Geoffrey
Roy, Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Sheerman, Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Singh, Marsha
Smith, Andrew
Smith, Angela
Spellar, John
Straw, Jack
Stringer, Graham
Stuart, Gisela
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark
Thomas, Gareth
Timms, Stephen
Twigg, Derek
Twigg, Stephen
Vaz, Keith
Walley, Joan
Watson, Tom
Watts, David
Whitehead, Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, Betty
Winnick, David
Winterton, Rosie
Woodward, Shaun
Wright, David

Here’s another list: the 113 MPs who were horrified at the thought of tuition fees being trebled reach the dizzy heights of £3,000 back in 2004, but today thought nothing of trebling those fees again, when their parties have their hands on the tiller. Ask them what changed their mind? Did they actually vote against fees not because they wanted to defend higher education, but because they thought that three grand just wasn’t enough?

Amess, David
Arbuthnot, James
Bacon, Richard
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John
Beith, A. J.
Bellingham, Henry
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom
Brazier, Julian
Bruce, Malcolm
Burns, Simon
Burstow, Paul
Burt, Alistair
Cable, Vincent
Cameron, David
Carmichael, Alistair
Cash, William
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clarke, Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Davey, Edward
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dorrell, Stephen
Duncan, Alan
Duncan Smith, Iain
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark
Foster, Don
Fox, Liam
Francois, Mark
Gale, Roger
Garnier, Edward
Gibb, Nick
Gillan, Cheryl
Gray, James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Grieve, Dominic
Hague, William
Hammond, Philip
Harvey, Nick
Hayes, John
Heald, Oliver
Heath, David
Hendry, Charles
Hoban, Mark
Howarth, Gerald
Jenkin, Bernard
Knight, Greg
Laing, Eleanor
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, Oliver
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
McIntosh, Anne
McLoughlin, Patrick
Maude, Francis
May, Theresa
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew
Moore, Michael
O’Brien, Stephen
Osborne, George
Ottaway, Richard
Paice, James
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Prisk, Mark
Randall, John
Redwood, John
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Laurence
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Caroline
Stanley, Sir John
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo
Syms, Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Teather, Sarah
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew
Tyrie, Andrew
Walter, Robert
Watkinson, Angela
Webb, Steve
Whittingdale, John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, David
Yeo, Tim
Young, Sir George

Finally, one more list. A much smaller list, of just 48 names. 48 MPs who believed that top-up fees were wrong in 2004 and are still wrong today. There will be plenty of others who weren’t in Parliament when this first vote was taken, who genuinely believe in their case either way. But for those members with a longer history, all 294 MPs who voted in the last division on fees and are still in the Commons today, only 48 – less than one out of every six MPs – voted the same way in January 2004 and December 2010. And every one of them voted no:

Abbott, Diane
Brooke, Annette L.
Campbell, Gregory
Campbell, Sir Menzies
Caton, Martin
Connarty, Michael
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John
Davidson, Ian
Davis, David
Dobbin, Jim
Dobson, Frank
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Farrelly, Paul
Flynn, Paul
George, Andrew
Godsiff, Roger
Hancock, Mike
Havard, Dai
Hermon, Sylvia
Hoey, Kate
Hopkins, Kelvin
Illsley, Eric
Jackson, Glenda
Kennedy, Charles
Lewis, Julian
Lloyd, Tony
Llwyd, Elfyn
Lucas, Ian
McDonnell, John
Meacher, Michael
Mudie, George
Owen, Albert
Pugh, John
Reid, Alan
Robertson, Angus
Russell, Bob
Sanders, Adrian
Skinner, Dennis
Trickett, Jon
Weir, Michael
Williams, Hywel
Williams, Roger
Wishart, Pete
Wood, Mike

So well done, that 48. The jury is still out on the 2005 and 2010 intake, and it will interesting to see how they behave if, in 2017, this issue comes up again – especially if (and it’s a big if) there’s been a change of Government in the meantime. Suffice it to say, I trust the SNP, Plaid, Green and Northern Irish Members more than I trust Labour, the Tories and their apologists, the LibDems, but even among their ranks are honest people who will stick to their beliefs. But until then, we can say that there are 48 men and women of proven principle. The outcome of today’s vote notwithstanding, and regardless of the shenanigans of the three major parties over the years, those 48 stand out as proof that politicians are not all the same. While the protesters are busy tear-arsing their way around London over a fait accompli, let’s reflect on how fortunately, there are still some good people in politics. The outcome of the vote may be a disaster for future students, but there is, if you look hard enough, something good to come out of all this.

Though I daresay the presence of 48 honest men and women will come as little comfort to the Class of 2015, who’ll graduate with twice the debt they otherwise would have done.


From → Politics

  1. To be fair I can see how you could think that a £3000 fee was ok, but a £9000 fee wasn’t. Not a position I agree with, but still a position I can understand why someone would hold it.

    As for the Tories and Lib Dems who voted against in 2004, their short sighted opportunism is obvious.

    • Well, that’s true, but it does still beg the question: at what point does it become too much?

      As regards the Tories, we knew what we were getting with them: they swung round to being pro-fees very soon after Cameron took over so we can’t say we weren’t warned. I prefer to save my ire for the LibDems who waited until Vince Cable got his feet under the desk at DBIS before changing their mind.

  2. Will,

    Quite right on the Tories. They were always going to do this.

    On the point at which it becomes too much… well I’d say at the point you start charging. But there’s plenty of room between £3000 and £9000 in which you could think that it’s too much.

    Which of course doesn’t mean that some of the Labour MPs were motivated by the same cynicism as the Tories were in 2004. It’s just hard to know.


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