Thu 2nd December
It has been suggested next Thursday’s vote was set to minimise attendance among Scottish and Welsh nationalist and Northern Ireland MPs, who have usually gone back to their constituencies by then.
Mr Durkan, who voted this week in support of Labour’s motion demanding the publication of a higher education White Paper before the parliamentary vote on tuition fees, said:
“This is an example of where a measure that legally only directly applies in England represents a significant principle or precedent that can affect Northern Ireland.
“We cannot pass on opposing this measure now because it would be too late to wait to oppose its possible fallout in the North.
“The coalition government’s proposals do not just have implications for higher education and student finance in Northern Ireland but also for our wider budget.
“Tripling student fees in England means a massive cut in government funding for universities there.
“A budget reduction for higher education in England will also see Northern Ireland lose funding under the Barnett Formula.”
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