Tuition fees cause decline

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The Liberal Democrats have been in decline since 1999 because of their coalition deals over tuition fees.

In the Holyrood Parliament they made a deal with Labour over a coalition in 1999.

The SNP when it came to power at Holyrood, in 2007, brought free university education back to Scotland.

The Liberal Democrats stunned everyone (even themselves) in the Westminster election of 2005 by winning 52 MPs.

A tiny minority of their MPs then thought they’d got away with this kind of dealing, disregarding the warning signs of the decline in the number of their MSPs at Holyrood.

Under Nick Clegg’s leadership, he and a small group of MPs, who never wanted free university education nor capped fees, hijacked the party and jettisoned the policy.

The Liberal Democrat members were simply not given their own way again on tuition fees in 2010.

The number of their MPs did not decrease in 2010 because British voters in a Westminster election were expecting a cap on fees as a result of voting for their party.

The collapse in the number of Liberal Democrat MPs in 2015 is due to the fact that their members voted consistently in their conference for free university education, and then capped fees, but their MSPs and MPs made contrary deals in coalition in the Holyrood and Westminster Parliaments.

Nigel F Boddy,

Former researcher to two Liberal Democrat MSPs, Holyrood,

Fife Road,