SEAFORD: Local Labour branch backs students’ recall campaign

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A VOTE has been passed to support a campaign to ‘recall’ Seaford’s MP Norman Baker and his Lib Dem colleagues who supported the tuition fees hike.

The Seaford, Newhaven Polegate and Villages Labour Party has supported the National Union of Students (NUS) scheme to recall (a strategy aimed at ousting MPs from parliament in protest against the U-turns on student fees) Mr Baker and the other 26 MPs in his party who backed the policy earlier this month.

The issue has sparked protest across the country and led to further anger when politicians voted in favour of the rise in university fees.

Since then the NUS recently launched the ‘Right to Recall’ campaign, calling for the power to recall MPs who have broken campaign promises on tuition fees.

Aaron Porter, president of the NUS, spoke at the launch of the campaign and said, “We are sick and tired of MPs making promises at the General Election, and then ignoring those promises they have made.

“They need to be held to account and we believe this is the best way to do it.”

Hratche Koundarjian, chair of the local branch added, “Our members are rightly furious that our MP has broken a clear promise made to his constituents. It is the thousands of local students and families who will bearing the brunt of this massive rise in tuition fees, and it is making our universities the most expensive in the industrialised world.We support the right to recall MPs who have so completely and brazenly broken their word.We feel that this important campaign will give accountability to those now in Government who think that it is fine to say one thing to get elected, and do the complete opposite in power.”

After the issue went to the House of Commons Mr Baker said he felt ‘rotten’ for supporting the policy but would have felt the same whichever option he chose.

This week he told the Gazette, “It’s pretty rich for the Labour Party to complain about this issue when they introduced tuition fees in the first place when they said they wouldn’t.Then they introduced top up fees and they have admitted in the last week had they been re-elected they would have raised tuition fees further. This is the height of hypocrisy for the Labour Party. The policy which the Government has adopted bears as close a resemblance to that policy put forward by Aaron Porter, the NUS president in 2009. Yet he is now criticising it, no doubt because he is a member of the Labour Party, which suggests the Labour Party is more important (to him) than students.”

During the vote on the tuition fees the figure was fairly close between the 57 Lib Dem MPs voting with 27 supporting the policy, 22 voting against and a further eight abstaining or not being present.