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REDBRIDGE: 'No regrets' for Lee Scott MP
A TORY MP has said he has no regrets after abstaining from the tuition fees vote, despite it costing him his place on the Government frontbench.
Ilford North MP Lee Scott defended his decision to abstain from the vote although he pledged last year that he would vote against any plans to increase fees.
He told the Guardian that after yesterday's high profile vote, he was congratulated by Labour leader Ed Miliband, the man who asked him to sign the pledge last year and more than 1,000 constituents.
The father-of-five said it was "the honourable thing" to resign as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Philip Hammond as Secretary of State for Transport.
His brief tenure in the Government role only started in June and Mr Scott will now return to the backbenches.
He said: "As a frontbencher it was the honourable thing to do as I couldn't support the Government bill.
"I have no regrets, obviously I'm sad."
Mr Scott said he didn't know how it would affect his politicial future within his party but he admitted he is now considered a "rebel".
Mr Scott, who left school at 15 and later gained a business degree after attending night school, was pictured last year posing with former National Union of Students president Wes Streeting while holding a placard he had signed that declared he would vote against any fee increase.
The 54-year-old said he would still have abstained from the vote even if he had not been photographed with the signed pledge.
His reason for abstaining was to retain the credibility to bring forward an alternative proposal whereby multi-national companies sponsor individuals.
He said: "If you voted against it, you were opposing changes, any change whatsoever.
"I recognise a change has to be made and that is why I am working on a solution, talk is cheap and it is easy to merely oppose something.
"It would have been hypocritical to vote against it and then try to bring in something myself."
Mr Scott disagreed that following the actions of Jenny Willott, Cardiff Central MP, would have given him more credit in the eyes of voters.
Ms Willott resigned as PPS to the Energy Secretary Chris Huhne and voted against the Government.
Mr Scott said that move would not have allowed him to bring forward his suggestion and his decison was vindicated by the "phenomenal" support he has received from constituents.
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