[an error occurred while processing this directive] BBC World Service | Learning English | News English - Words in the News
This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Find out more about page archiving.
Skip to main contentAccess keys helpA-Z index

 
You are in: Home > General & Business English
Words in the News
 
Wednesday 28 January 2004
 
UK higher education vote
 
Tony Blair arriving at Parliament to meet the MPs The British government managed to win a vote in parliament on 27th January on a key piece of domestic policy. The government's majority was cut from 161 to 5 in the vote on higher education funding, which has been seen as a major test of the authority of the Prime Minister Tony Blair. This report from Jon Devitt:
 
Listen Listen to the story
 
Mr Blair had to use all his powers of persuasion to win this vote, and only just succeeded. He staked his authority on the plans to change the way higher education is funded.

After weeks of cajoling and concessions aimed at critics within his own party, his majority of a hundred and sixty one was slashed to just five. Throughout the day before the vote, senior ministers had rallied behind the prime minister, in particular, the chief finance minister Gordon Brown, who it's thought persuaded some of the main rebels to back Mr Blair at the last moment.

Questions are being asked about the prime minister's tactics in bringing forward such an unpopular measure, and it remains to be seen what political debts he may have to repay at a later date.

This victory though, however slim, will be a relief to the prime minister. He has already received an advance copy of the Hutton report into the death of the weapons scientist David Kelly.

JON DEVITT, BBC
 
 
Listen Listen to the words
 
powers of persuasion
 
an ability to make people do something by giving them a good reason for doing so
 
staked his authority
 
risked the power he has to control people
 
cajoling and concessions
 
forcing people to do something they don't want and agreeing to do things that you don't want
 
majority
 
the number of Members of Parliament the government has over all opposition parties
 
slashed
 
considerably reduced
 
rallied behind
 
begun to support
 
bringing forward
 
proposing so that it can be discussed
 
measure
 
an action taken to achieve a particular result
 
political debts
 
favours he has been granted and will have to return or pay back
 
slim
 
narrow, small
 
 
blue arrow Read more about this story
 
SEARCH IN LEARNING ENGLISH
   
 
 
 
 
LEARN IN YOUR LANGUAGE
 
 
 
 
Link to Chinese English language teaching pagesLink to Arabic English language teaching pagesLink to Russian English language teaching pagesLink to Spanish English language teaching pages
A space gif
A grey bar A grey bar A grey bar