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West Lothian question revisted

December 15th, 2010 Posted in Liberal Democrats by

Politicalbetting.comhas done what I thought I should do but did not have the time nor wherewithal to undertake.

Ask the straight forward question “What would the tuition fee vote have looked like had the Scots (and others)  had the good grace NOT to vote on English tuition fees?”

Here are their results…

MPs regional breakdown

Aye votes

No votes








Northern Ireland




















 As says….”English MPs were 311-209 in favour of the measures with 8 absent or abstaining, a hefty majority of 102. Yet the overall margin of victory was slashed to 21 by MPs from Scotland (majority of 45 against), Wales (24) and Northern Ireland (12)”

From a purley Lib Dem perspective, it strikes me that it might have been better for Scottish Lib Dems who vote in Westminster to (a) not to have made a pledge about English tuition fees in the first placeand (b) abstained from the vote when push came to shove. It has inevitably raised the West Lothian question yet again. Had the Scottish Lib Dems attending Westminster (as opposed to the Scottish Lib Dems attending Holyrood) simply acknowledged that this was a matter on which they would follow/back their English colleagues how much less fractious would the last few weeks have been?

4 Responses to “West Lothian question revisted”

  1. chris Says:

    Maybe it’s time for us to DUMP those who want devolution and begin to run our own affairs – It could be argued that Scottish MPs in high positions have been a touch influential with regard to our financial situation!
    We may have been just as useless but maybe, just maybe ……..

  2. Leslie K. Clark Says:

    I agree with some of what you said, Angela.

    I don’t think the West Lothian Question has quite the same resonance in this instance as say tuition fees with the last Labour Government who were reliant on Scottish MPs to get the vote through.

    Since education is devolved, it may have made more sense for backbench Scottish Lib Dem MPs (members of the Government like Danny Alexander and Michael Moore would be bound by collective responsibility) to abstain from the vote. However, I think many Scottish MPs were worried about the funding implications for Scotland (they were lobbied just as hard by the NUS etc) and it wasn’t surprising to see that both Charles Kennedy and Ming Campbell, rectors of Glasgow University and St. Andrews University respectively, voting against the Coalition (a Coalition that they didn’t really want in the first place).

    With English universities being able to charge much higher fees – and with English students less dependent on the state – Scotland would lose out via the Barnett Formula (any decrease in English spending causes an equivalent decrease for Scotland). But the solution to that would be for the Scottish Parliament to introduce fees as Vince Cable (his alma matter is Glasgow) seems to be hinting at.

  3. Leslie K. Clark Says:

    * The other options apart from copying the English model would be to keep the current system but cut the number of students or use the tax varying powers of Holyrood to increase Income Tax to narrow the funding gap between north and south of the border. However, there may be a slight problem with the latter…the SNP let our ability to raise/lower this tax lapse.

  4. Home rule for England Says:

    The obvious solution to this is for England to declare independence. Then we can all make our own decisions!