Thursday, 9 December 2010

The Tuition Fees vote. - It's getting bloody close!

It's less than 5 hours to go and it's getting bloody close.

Today's the day for the Big Tuition Fee vote, the closest and most difficult vote since the Coalition was formed.  The Lib Dems managed to get themselves in a right bloody mess and today we get to see what they're going to do about it.

Everyone still expects the fees to pass, but it is going to be bloody close.

The government theoretically has 363 votes to everyone else's 281.  Easy.
Even without the Lib Dems though there are 306 Conservatives to an opposition of 281.  If the Lib Dems all abstain then the motion will pass.
If the Lib Dems all vote against it then it will fail 306 votes to 338.
But most Lib Dem ministers will vote for it, because they have drawn up the policy and have to as part of the government.  That gives 306+16=322 to 322 votes.  A tie.

If then any more Lib Dems asbtain rather than voting against the measure there are 322 votes for and fewer votes against.  The motion passes.  Given 16 Lib Dems voting for, perhaps 16 voting against and the rest abstaining the motion passes about 306+16=322 against 281+16=297 and it passes.

But that's all theory.  What reality are we facing?  Not all Conservatives will vote for it.  As many as 5 have already declared themselves against it and perhaps as many as 8 will vote it down.  Among the Lib Dems about 18 have declared they'll vote no.  That gives around 281+8+18=307 against.

The rest of the Conservatives will vote for it and the 17 or so Lib Dem ministers will vote for it as well as perhaps 8 backbenchers.  Nick Clegg expect 24 Lib Dem MP's to vote for it, the Conservatives expect at least 296 MP's to vote for it.  That's 296+24=320 votes for.

The fees should pass, as long as Nick Clegg has convinced as many of his colleagues to "walk through the fire together" as he thinks, and as long as more Conservatives do not vote against the government.  Of course whether you think that is a good thing or not will vary, to say the least.

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