David Davis joins tuition fees rebellion
I've just spoken to a flu-struck David Davis and he has confirmed the speculation on Twitter that he will be voting against tuition fees in Thursday's vote. He wasn't planning to make a public fuss but decided to directly answer students who lobbied him from within his constituency.
He fears that fees of £9,000 will discourage poorer, less aspirational students in ways that the current fees of £3,000 do not. He also thinks it very unfair to load students with even more debt. He signs up to the IPOD thesis of the Reform think tank that young people already face intergenerational injustice.
His answer to my question about where universities will get future funding was straightforward: Send fewer young people to university. Make more use of vocational education is his argument and in-job training. He also advocates shorter, smarter degrees of two years in length.
His beliefs were set out in an article for the Mail, last August. He challenged the view that every university delivers good dividends. He called for more transparency of university performance so that students would only go to institutions that delivered quality degrees:
"The Government should publish immediately a league table showing every university's graduate salaries, employment and drop-out rates, and proportions of graduates in non-graduate jobs. Then, at least, we can be sure that, in the struggle for scarce places that will take place during the next few weeks, school-leavers will not be disappointed because they make their most important career choice on what may turn out to be a false prospectus."