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Kingston students ditch Lib Dems after tuition fee hike

By River Reporter Oct 25, 2012

Eve Carson

Kingston University students have ditched the Liberal Democrats since the tuition fee scandal and have turned their support towards Labour, according to a survey by The River.

Only eight per cent of students said they were going to vote for the Lib Dems at the next election compared to the 56 per cent who said they would vote for them in 2010.

Hazim Ramadan, 21-year-old architecture student, said: “I voted Lib Dem at the previous election, but I wouldn’t vote for them again because it just felt like a wasted vote.

“None of the promises Nick Clegg made were ever fulfilled and it makes me lose faith in voting altogether.”

Student voters lost confidence in the Lib Dems when they failed to keep their promise of keeping tuition fees from increasing. 

According to a survey conducted by The River in 2010, one in two students planned to vote Lib Dem. Now it has dropped to one in 12, which would mean 10,000 less votes from Kingston students alone.

Lib Dem MP Ed Davey had a majority of just 7,560 votes in the Kingston and Surbiton constituency at the last election – making his seat vulnerable if the swing is seen in the General Election.

Promise-breaking Davey

Earlier this month, The River reported how Mr Davey had finally apologised for breaking his personal pledge not to back higher student tuition fees.   

A Lib Dem spokesman said: “Liberal Democrats will show at the next election that we can be trusted with public money, have made the economy more sustainable and that we will help and support the most vulnerable.”

Labour were the most popular party among KU students, receiving 38.8 per cent, with students feeling that they were the best alternative to the Conservatives.

Not only do they have the backing of students, they also lead the political polls across the country according to the UK Polling Report with an average of 42 per cent.

A Labour spokesman said: “The Tory-led Government’s unfair, unnecessary and unsustainable decision to treble tuition fees to £9,000 is putting too many people off university and threatening economic growth for this country and skills for the future.

“It shows how out of touch ministers have become from the needs and aspirations of families up and down the country.”

Students don’t know

The survey which was conducted at Penrhyn Road, Knights Park and online revealed that 19.2 per cent of 250 participants said they were planning to vote at the next election in 2015, but were unsure of who would get their vote.

Although the Greens were the second favourite, they were still far behind in the running with only 11.6 per cent. They were closely followed by Conservative supporters with 11.2 per cent.

The Green Party are determined to encourage student voters to support them at the next election by covering issues that will benefit them, such as student safety, bicycle theft, college recycling provision and energy efficiency in rented housing.

A spokeswoman for the Green Party said: “The Green Party are the only mainstream party to support the abolition of tuition fees.”

Omar Ahmed, 22-year-old geography student said: “I have always been a Labour supporter. They have really impacted people I know around me.

“I don’t want to vote Conservative. The university fees were an issue for me and a lot of my friends so that is one of the biggest reasons why.”  

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