Today Tessa Jowell and I wrote to fellow Southwark MP Simon Hughes calling on him to keep his promise and vote against tuition fees this Thursday. Please see below a copy of our letter.
One of the most important changes over the last 10 years is the big increase in the number of young people from Southwark going to university. University used to be just for people from better off families. But that was changed by the last government. Nearly three times as many Southwark young people now go on to university compared to 1997 - and that means opportunities for people from Southwark that they never had before.
When you asked for the votes of people in Southwark to get elected as an MP earlier this year, your Lib Dem manifesto not only promised to vote against any fee increase, you promised to scrap tuition fees altogether. You said "We will scrap unfair university tuition fees". Now the government you are supporting, as part of the coalition, is planning to increase tuition fees. The increase in tuition fees cannot go through if Lib Dem MPs vote against it. You are deputy leader of your party. All the Lib Dem MPs signed the pledge to vote against tuition fees. As someone who signed the pledge and as someone with a leading role in your party, we are calling on you to vote against and keep your promise to the people of Southwark. Tessa and I will be voting against it. You must keep your promises and vote with us to protect the future of young people in Southwark. This is not just the vitally important matter of the opportunities of young people in Southwark, it is also a question of trust in politics. People need to be able to trust their MPs but no-one will ever be able to trust your promises again if you break it on tuition fees.
Harriet Harman MP
Tessa Jowell MP