OUTSPOKEN Conservative MP Brian Binley has launched an extraordinary verbal volley at his own party and described Prime Minister David Cameron and his government as a “shady, back-street second-hand car dealership”.
The Tory MP for Northampton South, writing on his online blog, labelled the Prime Minister’s willingness to apparently acquiesce to Liberal Democrat demands as a “feeble gesture”, following reports that a deal had been agreed within the Coalition to ensure early repayment fines would not be levied in return for the appointment of Professor Les Ebdon as Director of Fair Access.
As a member of the House of Commons’ Business, Innovation & Skills Select Committee, Mr Binley expressed outrage that the Government had seemingly paid little regard to the Committee’s report which had expressed concerns over Professor Ebdon’s descriptions of the root causes of the obstacles to accessing universities.
The Committee had urged the Government to conduct a new recruitment exercise.
Mr Binley stated: “I was incensed that the Government treated Parliament with such utter disdain in failing even to give adequate consideration to the Select Committee’s concerns. But that is nothing to the contempt I feel for this disgraceful assault on what people in the country should be able to expect from Ministers – as policy-makers, not backroom dealers playing fast-and-loose with people’s lives.
“That Ministers seem prepared to trade one-off exchanges at the potential expense of our national prosperity and future well-being is a disgrace. Their apparent glee at having mollified each other’s ambitions leaves me cold.
“The time is fast approaching when the Prime Minister needs to get a grip and cease leaving the impression that his agenda is determined by the imprint of the last Liberal Democrat who sat on him. This rotten episode smacks of all the worst elements of a shady, back-street second-hand car dealership, and is an utterly shameful way to make policy”.
Mr Binley had previously commented on his blog: “Professor Ebdon is likely to do serious and lasting damage to some of our best universities. He’s a defender of ridiculous Mickey Mouse degrees and has threatened ‘nuclear penalties’ for universities which don’t meet their admissions targets.
“In short, he’s prepared to sacrifice academic excellence for the sake of pointless targets and political correctness... ...it’s a sad situation when our Prime Minister feels himself to be powerless but, unfortunately, that seems to be the norm where the Liberal Democrats are concerned”.