Simon Hughes has just appeared on Newsnight to say that he is now undecided on whether he will abstain or vote against the government's tuition fees policy.
Abstaining on a policy which will do so much to prevent young people from less privileged backgrounds from attending university is clearly not enough. Hughes has always presented himself as a progressive politician: now he needs to live up to that image.
Anyone tempted by Nick Clegg's rhetoric about how "progressive" this policy is should consider these facts and figures from universities Think Tank million+
"...The Coalition has set out a very narrow vision of 'social mobility'. Social mobility through higher education is about enabling students from disadvantaged backgrounds to enter higher socio-economic occupations and improve their earnings compared with their backgrounds, whichever university they study at. The real risk from the current proposals is that they will damage participation by students who are more debt and risk averse. They are also likely to risk the participation of older students, many of whom are from widening participation backgrounds and who progress to university in their twenties and thirties rather than straight from school.
A recent Ipsos MORI survey of 11-16 year olds found that the prospect of increases in tuition fees had significant deterrent effect on participation. One in six (17%) said they were unlikely to go to university if tuition fees increased to £5,000 and almost half (46%) if fees increased to £10,000 a year. Students with less family and financial support are more debt and risk averse and the survey found that fee increases had a greater deterrent effect amongst 11-16 year old from more disadvantaged backgrounds"
If you want to urge Simon Hughes to vote against tomorrow, write to him now by clicking here .
Do the right thing Simon, vote against this regressive, unjust policy.
Update: As I'm sure most people already know, Simon Hughes abstained on this vote, letting down countless young people in his own constituency and across the country. It puts this video from the Lib Dem You Tube Channel in perspective...