I'm not quitting, says Scots MP after spoof interviews

A SCOTTISH Liberal Democrat MP was forced to deny he was quitting the government over tuition fees, after falling victim to media pranksters.

Individuals pretending to be Edinburgh West MP Mike Crockart set out his apparent plans to vote against the rise in fees in radio and newspaper interviews in London. But Mr Crockart, a junior minister in the coalition, was in Edinburgh - he will travel to London today ahead of Thursday's vote.

A party spokeswoman said he was undecided on the issue going into an internal party meeting tonight. "Mike will be considering which way he will vote on tuition fees," she said

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg is facing mounting pressure after one of his MPs made clear he was ready to quit the government. Transport minister Norman Baker hinted he could choose to go rather than renege on the Lib Dems' pre-election pledge to oppose any fee hikes.

The Deputy Prime Minister is due to make a last-ditch effort to head off a crisis when he addresses his parliamentary party tonight.

Lib Dem grandee Lord Ashdown has appealed to MPs not to breach the coalition agreement by voting against, while No 10 warned that the principle of collective responsibility still applied.

However, asked whether he would be backing the change or abstaining, Mr Baker said: "Or voting against. There are three options and, to be honest with you, I genuinely haven't decided."

He added: "It's an option if you resign. There are three options on the table and I haven't yet decided what I'm going to do."