Scotland

Scottish Lib Dems rebel over university tuition fees

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Media captionVince Cable says he is proud of being part of the government and taking tough decisions

Six Scottish Liberal Democrat MPs rebelled or abstained in the House of Commons vote on increasing university tuition fees in England.

The government won the vote but with a reduced majority of 21.

Those who voted against included former party leaders, Charlie Kennedy and Sir Menzies Campbell.

Argyll and Bute MP Alan Reid and Edinburgh West MP Michael Crockart also voted against raising fees to a maximum of £9,000.

Mr Crockart resigned as parliamentary private secretary to the Scottish secretary over the issue.

West Aberdeenshire and Kincardine MP Sir Robert Smith and Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross MP John Thurso both abstained.

Chief Secretary to the Treasury Danny Alexander, Scottish Secretary Michael Moore, Alistair Carmichael, Malcolm Bruce and Jo Swinson all voted with the government.

The Tory- Lib Dem coalition motion was backed by 323 votes to 302.

It raises the ceiling on annual tuition fees for English students to £9,000 - although the government says that would only apply in "exceptional circumstances" where universities meet "much tougher conditions on widening participation and fair access".

Scotland currently does not charge Scottish students fees but there are increasing fears that this is unsustainable - especially if Scottish universities are to compete with English institutions charging raised fees.

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