Oxford dons pass historic no confidence motion in Willetts

Willets: 'No politician'
Willets: 'No politician'

By politics.co.uk staff

Universities minister David Willets has lost a no confidence motion by academics at Oxford University.

The vote was won overwhelmingly, by 283 to five.

It is the first time an English university has passed a no confidence motion in a government minister.


Humiliatingly, the dons debating the motion include his former tutor, Peter Oppenheimer.

"I have no confidence in him, absolutely," Mr Oppenheimer told the Guardian earlier this week.

"He was a highly intelligent and thoughtful person, very able - but no politician. He has got the kind of open-mindedness which enables him to see the value of a whole range of points of view, especially that of the person he last talked to."

The vote is one of the first formal events at which academic disquiet over tuition fees has been made public.

While universities' management departments are generally very enthusiastic about the increased threshold for tuition fees, academics are wary of moves which could discourage students from poorer backgrounds attending college.

The decision by respected philosopher AC Grayling to start a private college at the weekend, while unrelated to tuition fees, has served to harden opinion against the perceived role of the free market in higher education.

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