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Willott's claim on fees voting 'misleading' VIEWPOINTS.

THE article "Time to come clean on tuition fees, Jenny" (November 26) illustrates the importance of tuition fees in Cardiff Central as it has the highest proportion of student electors in the UK.

The article concludes with a quotation from JennyWillott's campaign literature prior to the 2005 election. In it she states that she will never vote in favour of tuition fees but that I had done so on three occasions. I cannot say how truthful this statement will prove to be in as far as it relates to her possible future action but I feel I can, and will, explain my own voting record.

Student tuition fees were introduced in a highly-contentious Education Bill in 2004. Parliament voted in favour of the Bill's second reading on January 27 but by the most narrow majority of five votes, 317 MPs in favour, 312 against.

The Government had feared defeat and lobbied furiously to persuade opponents to support the measure. The Prime Minister spoke to me on two occasions in the 24 hours before the vote asking for my support. I could not and did not give it. I voted against the second reading and I did not vote for its third reading.

So how, you may ask, can Jenny Willott state that I voted for tuition fees on three occasions? Well that depends on how you interpret that sentence.

During the report stage of the Bill I voted against three Opposition amendments but I never voted for the Bill. I cannot therefore say that JennyWillott's campaign literature was lying, but it is misleading; conveniently.

Jon Owen Jones Ty Draw Road, Cardiff
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Publication:South Wales Echo (Cardiff, Wales)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 27, 2010
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