Riots and Debate in Westminster

The debate on tuition fees held on Thursday 9th December 2010 was undoubtedly the most controversial debate held in the House since I became an MP. With the protesters making themselves heard outside and tensions rising inside, it was a fiery atmosphere in the Chamber.The media focussed a lot on the politics of the Coalition (especially the Lib Dem pledge on tuition fees), and on the violence of some of the protesters ? but there’s a really a much bigger issue here. How we fund our universities and making sure that that they produce graduates with the skills they need for life is what’s really at stake. With graduate unemployment at an all time high, we have to make sure that universities are delivering ? degrees have to be worth the paper they’re written on. This is an area I’m keen to do more work in; I want young people to aspire to go to university ? it is a great thing to achieve ? and I believe that fees are only part of the whole package of higher education reform that we need at the moment. We need a calm, rational debate on the issues rather than descending into a wild accusations which do nothing but give the false impression to young people that university is not for them. If you’d like to have a look at what I said in more detail, or watch a video of the speech, the links are below. Text: Video: