Scottish MPs to swing tuition fees vote for Blair

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SCOTTISH MPs could come to Tony Blair’s rescue after a survey revealed most are planning to vote on English university tuition fees.

Of the 57 Scottish MPs who responded to a survey for BBC Scotland’s Sunday Live show, 44 MPs indicated they would definitely vote on the issue - despite the fact the proposed top-up fees will only directly affect students in England and Wales.

The poll found the majority of Labour MPs will vote for the Government, swinging the question of tuition fees - one of the most serious divisions to threaten Tony Blair since 1997 - in the Prime Minister’s favour.

The vote has caused division among MPs because of the "West Lothian Question" - the issue of whether Scottish MPs should be allowed to vote on English matters.

Tory leader Michael Howard has urged Scottish MPs to abstain from the crucial House of Commons vote taking place in just nine days time, the day before the Hutton report comes out.

Meanwhile, Mr Blair was launching a new drive today in a bid to win over Labour rebels ahead of next week’s critical Commons vote on the issue.

The Prime Minister was due to address a special meeting of the Parliamentary Labour Party at Westminster in an effort to persuade waverers to fall back into line.

He was also set to appear on BBC2’s Newsnight programme to debate the issue in front of a studio audience.

The concerted moves reflect the importance of the vote on Tuesday of next week, which could still see the Government’s flagship reform defeated.