Monday, 29 November 2010

104 Lib Dem Candidates Call On Clegg To Oppose Tuition Fee Rise - But Not Redlands' Daisy Benson

More than a 100 Lib Dem candidates at the last general election have called on Nick Clegg and their other MPs to honour their pledge to oppose increases in university tuition fees.

The petition organised by West Sussex county councillor Derek Deedman {full list here} is headed "No to higher tuition fees, yes to Liberal Democrat integrity" - but notable by her absence in the list of former candidates is Redlands' councillor Daisy Benson, who stood in Reading West at the election.

The petition says "During the General Election campaign many of our MP’s (and now government ministers) signed a pledge with the National Union of Students that they would vote against any tuition fee rises during the course of the next Parliament. The wording of this pledge clearly indicated that this would be unconditional; regardless of whether the party was in government or in opposition".

Lately, the LibDem Parliamentary line from Vince Cable and others has been one of suggesting that the pledge was only valid if the LibDems formed a government of their own. Clearly Daisy Benson seems more comfortable with that distortion of the truth than joining her colleagues in standing by their election pledge.

I can't see that the voters in Redlands - not just the students or the Students Union - will easily forgive or forget the LibDems' and Daisy Benson's betrayal.

UPDATE: The honourable 104 LibDems includes, of course, Gareth Epps who stood in Reading East last time - which makes the silence of Redlands' Daisy Benson on the matter all the more telling.

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