In a move that gives an early indication of possible areas of agreement within a hung parliament NUS has today released the names of 1000 parliamentary candidates who have agreed to vote against any rise in tuition fees in the next parliament.
The list includes more than 200 Labour candidates and 400 Liberal Democrats.
Those signing the Vote for Students pledge, which include Nick Clegg, Sir Menzies Campbell and Vince Cable as well as a group of current and former Labour ministers, have given the first clear indication of their position on tuition fees ahead of the Browne review due in the autumn.
In Scotland, the campaign has got the backing of every Scottish Liberal Democrat candidate, every SNP and a significant number of Scottish Labour candidates standing for election to Westminster. It was the votes of Scottish MPs that pushed top-up fees through in the first place, but with the support of many candidates in Scotland it seems many Scottish MPs will be prepared to back students across the UK this time round.
The news comes as students prepare to vote on 6 May in record numbers. NUS/Endsleigh research shows 75% of students intend to cast their vote on polling day, with more than two-thirds set to be swayed by the parties' approaches to top-up fees.
Commenting on the publication of pledge signatories, NUS National President-elect, Aaron Porter, said:
“It is still all to play for in this general election and all indications show that the student vote is still there to be won. Students will look closely every candidate’s position on higher education funding and any candidates who has refused to commit to voting against a rise in tuition fees should expect to be treated with great suspicion by students, their families and the wider public.”
“It is encouraging that so many of those likely to be taking seats in the next parliament have made a firm commitment to protect the system of student fees from further damage. It is particularly welcome to see so many senior figures and former ministers taking a clear stand on this issue.”
“The major disappointment is the silence from so many Conservative candidates. Students look set to swing the election in a number of key seats and to win our respect and our votes politicians must come clean on fees or face the consequences."
The full list of Parliamentary signatories is available by clicking here.
The list can be filtered by constituency, party, nation and name. If you require any further assistance with this list please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Candidates can still sign up to the list which is regularly updated by filling in the online pledge form here.
The NUS Vote for Students pledge reads:
“I pledge to vote against any increase in fees in the next parliament and to pressure the government to introduce a fairer alternative”
Those signing the NUS pledge include the following parliamentary candidates:
Nick Clegg (Lib Dem), Sheffield Hallam, Liberal Democrat Leader
Vince Cable (Lib Dem), Twickenham, Liberal Democrat Shadow Chancellor
Sir Menzies Campbell (Lib Dem), North East Fife
Phil Woolas (Lab), Oldham East and Saddlworth, Immigration Minister
Tony McNulty (Lab) Harrow East, ex-Home Office Minister
Roberta Blackman-Woods (Lab), City of Durham, PPS to Higher Education Minister David Lammy
Jon Cruddas (Lab) Dagenham and Rainham, ex-Labour deputy leadership candidate
Gisela Stuart (Lab) Birmingham Edgbaston, ex-Europe Minister
Cathy Jamieson (Lab), Kilmarnock and Loudoun, former Deputy and Acting Leader, Scottish Labour
Frank Dobson (Lab), Holborn and St Pancras, ex-Health Secretary
Sir Gerald Kaufman (Lab), Manchester Gorton, ex-industry minister
Karen Buck (Lab), Westminster North and Regents Park, ex-Transport Minister
Kate Hoey (Lab), Vauxhall, ex-Sport Minister
Nick Ainger (Lab), Camarthen West and Pembrokeshire South, ex-Wales Minister
Michael Meacher (Lab), Oldham West and Royton, ex-Environment Minister
Steve McCabe (Lab), Birmingham Selly Oak, Government Whip and former PPS to Charles Clarke during top-up fees bill - 2003-04
Janet Anderson (Lab), Rossendale and Darwen, ex-Culture Minister
Andrew Smith (Lab), Oxford East, ex-Treasury Minister
Alan Whitehead (Lab), Southampton Test, ex-Environment Minister
Caroline Lucas (Green), Brighton Pavilion, Green Party leader
Salma Yaqoob, (Respect), Birmingham Hall Green, Respect Party leader