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Lib Dem MP Norman Baker egged by students after giving speech on campus

Photo: Polina Belehhova

Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, Norman Baker was egged after giving a talk on the University of Sussex campus on Friday 25 February.

Two students present at the talk, chased Mr Baker and hurled eggs which struck him on the back. A confrontation between the MP and the students followed whilst other students shouted obscenities at him from afar.

The transport minister threatened to quit the coalition in December last year in protest of the increased tuition fees. He later decided to remain in his job and voted for the increase despite signing a National Union of Students (NUS) pledge saying he wouldn’t.

Mr Baker nervously laughed off the event asking somebody who was with him whether he needed to get his coat dry-cleaned or not.

The scenes were in contrast to what happened inside the debate where by and large, the clearly angry students managed to keep the debate on point and polite.

After a brief introduction in which Mr Baker said he would not be like other politicians and give straight answers to any questions posed to him, angry attacks were launched asking about his reasons for turning his back on the NUS pledge.

One student who was questioning Mr Baker said that he should have indeed quit his job and his u-turn showed he had no backbone.

The student carried on to say: “This is about principles, this is about integrity and you, my friend, have neither”, a remark that Mr Baker shrugged off by blaming the difficulty of working within a coalition government.

Mr Baker argued that the reason he voted for the increase in tuition fees was due to a clause in the coalition agreement which said that Liberal Democrat MPs had the right to abstain from the vote in the House of Commons. As some of his colleagues voted against the rise in fees, he had no option but to vote for it in order to balance out the numbers.

He said that being the smaller majority in a coalition government makes it hard to have your manifesto policies enforced but insisted that the Liberal Democrats were not being bullied by the Conservatives on the big issues.

Mr Baker insisted that 65% of Liberal Democrat policies were being put into action as justification for his party being in the coalition. Mr. Baker said that Liberal Democrat pledges of increased civil liberties and increased funding for the NHS were still part of the coalition’s plans.Liberal Democrat MP for Lewes, Norman Baker was egged after giving a talk on the University of Sussex campus on Friday 25 February.

Two students present at the talk, chased Mr Baker and hurled eggs which struck him on the back. A confrontation between the MP and the students followed whilst other students shouted obscenities at him from afar.

The transport minister threatened to quit the coalition in December last year in protest of the increased tuition fees. He later decided to remain in his job and voted for the increase despite signing a National Union of Students (NUS) pledge saying he wouldn’t.

Mr Baker nervously laughed off the event asking somebody who was with him whether he needed to get his coat dry-cleaned or not.

The scenes were in contrast to what happened inside the debate where by and large, the clearly angry students managed to keep the debate on point and polite.

After a brief introduction in which Mr Baker said he would not be like other politicians and give straight answers to any questions posed to him, angry attacks were launched asking about his reasons for turning his back on the NUS pledge.

One student who was questioning Mr Baker said that he should have indeed quit his job and his u-turn showed he had no backbone.

The student carried on to say: “This is about principles, this is about integrity and you, my friend, have neither”, a remark that Mr Baker shrugged off by blaming the difficulty of working within a coalition government.

Mr Baker argued that the reason he voted for the increase in tuition fees was due to a clause in the coalition agreement which said that Liberal Democrat MPs had the right to abstain from the vote in the House of Commons. As some of his colleagues voted against the rise in fees, he had no option but to vote for it in order to balance out the numbers.

He said that being the smaller majority in a coalition government makes it hard to have your manifesto policies enforced but insisted that the Liberal Democrats were not being bullied by the Conservatives on the big issues.

Mr Baker insisted that 65% of Liberal Democrat policies were being put into action as justification for his party being in the coalition. Mr. Baker said that Liberal Democrat pledges of increased civil liberties and increased funding for the NHS were still part of the coalition’s plans.

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