Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Labour Rebels in New Bid to Block Tuition Top-Up Fees

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Labour Rebels in New Bid to Block Tuition Top-Up Fees

Article excerpt

Byline: BEN LEAPMAN

TONY BLAIR faced fresh Labour infighting today as rebel MPs renewed their assault on his plans for top-up tuition fees.

Backbenchers led by Dr Ian Gibson put down a hostile amendment which would effectively wreck the Government's proposals to reform higher education funding.

Their move threatened to land Mr Blair in another bitter row with large sections of his party at a time when Labour is moving on to election footing following last week's Budget.

In a knife-edge vote in January Mr Blair avoided defeat by just five votes, when 72 of his MPs voted against the Government.

His victory, by 316 votes to 311, was the closest he has come to losing in the Commons during his seven years in Downing Street.

Dr Gibson's amendment is likely to be voted on when the Higher Education Bill comes to the Commons for its third reading, probably next week.

Rebel organisers have written to every backbench Labour MP asking for their support. …

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