Tuition fees debate

So… It’s been confirmed that we will have a whole three hours to discuss tuition fees this coming Thursday. I assume this takes us up to the 6pm vote but not 100% sure.

That will work out at around one to one-and-half hours for opening front bench speeches from Cable* and Denham, depending on how many interventions they take, and about 30 minutes for front bench winding-up speeches (maybe 20 minutes at a squeeze). Which leaves maybe an hour, 90 minutes max, for backbench contributions.

12 backbenchers on a five minute time limit, and the rest trying to get in with interventions. Not really good enough, is it? Particularly when it looks as if the last two days of Parliament before recess (Dec 20th and Dec 21st) are going to be general debates on a one line whip, meaning very few members will bother to turn up, and I don’t think there’s anything particularly controversial scheduled for next Thursday either… There would have been plenty of time for a whole day’s debate.

*I’m assuming Cable will lead on it. He could hand over to Willets, the Universities Minister, but he’d get a rough ride if he does. Mind you, he’ll get a rough ride either way, and after his dismal performance last week he might decide he’s not willing to take any more punishment.

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  • thatpeskysquirrel  On December 6, 2010 at 11:08 pm

    You know what else annoys me about this?

    The white paper request gets voted down, yet a handful of days later the mention of giving students a year, possibly two years, free tuition pops up. Horrific back-pedalling from the Coalition and surely cannot be debated in just one session. I get the feeling the Coalition just want to get it out of the way so people forget about it, and that is irresponsible, and will result in a poor piece of legislation that will hamstring this country.

    A white paper review is desperately needed to assess the full impact on poorer students, and until this happens it is reckless of the Coalition to do what they’re doing. I’m sure they all realise it, which is why they threw in the free year tuition thing – not fully thought through and designed to do nothing more than to try and appease the protesters.

    What’s the likelihood of the bill getting through the other place if it passes here?


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