British government in narrow victory on university fees

9th December 2010, Comments 0 comments

British lawmakers voted Thursday in favour of raising the cap on tuition fees at English universities, as demonstrators clashed with police outside parliament during protests against the measures.

A total of 323 lawmakers voted for the proposals, while 302 voted against in parliament's lower House of Commons.

The majority of 21 meant that at least 30 members of the governing coalition parties, the Conservatives and the smaller Liberal Democrats, did not vote with the government.

The proposal to raise the cap on tuition fees to 9,000 pounds (14,200 dollars, 10,700 euros) -- triple the current limit -- has proved highly problematic for the Lib Dems.

Ahead of May's general election, they pledged to phase out fees altogether, only to make a U-turn once they joined the government.

One Lib Dem and one Conservative parliamentary ministerial aide quit their posts in order to vote against the government.

The package will allow English universities to treble fees from 2012.

The vote followed a fractious five-hour debate and took place as hooded and masked demonstrators clashed with baton-wielding police in the streets outside the Houses of Parliament.

© 2010 AFP

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