Archive for December 7th, 2010

All Lib Dem ministers will back rise in tuition fees

BBC: All Liberal Democrat government ministers will vote to raise the cap on university tuition fees in England, party leader Nick Clegg has said.There had been speculation some could abstain from a vote over the controversial policy, which has prompted weeks of student protests.

But Deputy PM Mr Clegg said ministers were “as one on this” and would vote “as a team” on Thursday.

Former leaders Charles Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell will oppose the plans.

Walk through fire’

Earlier Mr Clegg confirmed to his MPs he would vote for the plans. At a meeting ahead of Thursday’s vote on the proposals, Mr Clegg said he had hoped they could “walk through the fire” together – but he now accepted a collective position was not possible.

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I find quite a few politicians a bit baffling – but this latest nonsense from John Hemming MP, who has a reputation for being quite bright, is just daft….

Political Scrapbook reports….

“Millionaire Liberal Democrat John “three homes” Hemming has told Radio 4 he would vote for  a rise in tuition fees to punish students who occupied his constituency office. His extraordinary exchange with Eddie Mair came after an embarassing argument with a protester live on local radio……”

The global Assange / Wikileaks circus continues today with police arresting Assange when he walked into a London police station this morning.  It appears that the judge refused bail – despite the paucity of evidence(*), it is asserted, but Mark Stephens, Assange’s lawyer,  has the ‘thermonuclear 256 bit encryption code to decode thousands of documents now transmitted to thousands worldwide should anything untoward happen to Assange…like him being killed, for example…or, presumably, extradited from Sweden to the United States?

(*) Gerard Batten, a UKIP MEP, said the Assange case highlighted the dangers of the European arrest warrant, because the judge has no power to listen to the evidence to judge if there is a prime facie case.

Mark Stephens has suggested that the Swedish prosecutor  should question Assange in London – a perfectly sensible suggestion on the face of it, but I won’t be holding my breath. We shall see.

A rather ironic postscript: Mark Stephens, not surprisingly, is concerned that the security and others services are watching him and that client confidentiality may be breached and leaked to the world at large.  The attempt by US lawyers to elide the lawyers with Assange and implicate them is just primitive and should be easily resisted.

Read The Legal Week report

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