Sarah Teather votes for tuition fee hike

The Lib Dem MP for Brent Central turns back on election promise to fight controversial policy

SARAH Teather has voted in favour of trebling the cap on tuition fees as the Government won its vote by a majority of 21.

The Lib Dem MP for Brent Central consistently spoke out against the Labour policy since her election in 2003 and made them a central plank of her election campaign this year.

Ms Teather, an Education Minister, refused to say which way she would go in the run up to Thursday’s controversial vote but was under huge pressure from party and public.

Nick Clegg, deputy prime minister and Lib Dem party leader, had said all Lib Dem ministers would vote in favour of the bill.

However students and members of the public, who voted her into power, made clear their opposition to the fees through lobbies and demonstrations at her constituency office and surgery.

In a sign of the difficult position she finds herself she backed out of a public debate, organised by Brent union leaders and activists, despite suggesting the date and cancelled all appointments following the vote.

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And on Wednesday evening she refused to answer questions to a television reporter as he chased her down the road.

The bill, which will allow universities to charge up to �9,000 a year, will now go to the House of Lords to be considered.

The Government has made a number of concessions to the original proposals; introducing a �150 million fund to pay poorer students’ first years’ fee and only this week diluted the repayment plan for lower earners.

Two Lib Dem ministerial aides resigned over the vote.