What chance do we, the public, have in understanding the Coalition Agreement, tuition fees etc. when clearly people in the media don’t seem to ‘get it’.
In the Coalition Agreement, is the paragraph:
- If the response of the Government to Lord Browne’s report is one that Liberal Democrats cannot accept, then arrangements will be made to enable Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain in any vote.
Yet until now, the media appear to have been ignoring this, hence the inference on Lib Dem’s broken promise/pledge.
There are articles in The Guardian (Nick Clegg admits Lib Dems may abstain in tuition fee vote) and The Times (Vote Aye for Power) on this subject.
I was pleased to read that:
Clegg told the BBC during a visit in Sheffield: “We are looking at this as a party. In the coalition agreement we were very, very clear that for Liberal Democrat MPs, if they didn’t like the details of the policy, they were able to abstain.”
It appears though that the inflection is that Nick Clegg and Vince Cable should vote with the Govt and not abstain, The Times:
It is true that a vote in favour of raising the cap on the amount that universities are able to charge students for tuition involves a breach of a commitment that the Liberal Democrats made in their general election manifesto. That has caused a certain amount of consternation among Lib Dem activists and the poll rating of the Deputy Prime Minister has taken a knock as he, rather than Dr Cable, the Business Secretary, has taken the brunt of the criticism. But there are five words in that last sentence that explain why Dr Cable needs to vote for the policy that is originating in his department and why Mr Clegg needs to follow him through the Aye lobby. The first two words are Business Secretary and the next three are Deputy Prime Minister.
A response to this comes from The Guardian:
Prime minister David Cameron’s spokesman in Downing Street today indicated that the provisions of the coalition agreement would apply. “It says ‘Liberal Democrat MPs’. The ones in the cabinet are Liberal Democrat MPs,” the spokesman said.
He added: “As we have a coalition agreement, that applies – as does collective responsibility. There are specific provisions in the coalition agreement which allow Liberal Democrat MPs to abstain on this issue.”
So I guess Nick, it’s over to you!!!