Former tutor joins Willetts' critics
Oxbridge dons attempting to force the resignation of Universities Minister David Willetts have been given a show of support from the politician's former economics tutor.
Academics from both Oxford and Cambridge are calling for votes of no-confidence in Mr Willetts amid concerns about the impact of the Government's higher education reforms that will see a substantial hike in tuition fees.
Peter Oppenheimer, an emeritus professor at Christ Church, Oxford, who taught the beleaguered minister in the mid-1970s, today aligned himself with them, admitting the minister is "no politician".
He told The Observer: "I have no confidence in him, absolutely.
"He was a highly intelligent and thoughtful person, very able - but no politician."
Mr Oppenheimer who was seconded from his college in the 1980s to be chief economist to oil giant Shell, said he believed his former pupil had been a victim of the coalition agreement with the Liberal Democrats.
"I have no confidence in him because I think it is tragic that higher education policy should be made on the basis of those considerations," he said.
"He is not a man to fight for ideological rigidity. Academically it is admirable but as a policymaker it is a bit sad; it is not worthy of him."
Around 130 Cambridge dons last week signed a motion of no-confidence in Mr Willetts that was submitted to the elite university's council. A decision on whether to take it forward is due next month.
Oxford academics have also tabled their own no-confidence motion, which will be debated at a meeting of the university's congregation on Tuesday.
If passed, it would be the first vote of no-confidence for any university in England and comes as Mr Willetts is set to unveil his delayed white paper on the higher education.
Staff and students at Oxford have also launched a campaign for a nationwide vote against Mr Willetts and his policies.
The campaign group's website warns that the Government's higher education policy is "financially chaotic and unsustainable" and claims the swingeing budget cuts to teaching grants will leave institutions "systematically under-funded even with higher fees".
"The higher education sector is too important to be thrown into chaos by half-baked ideas and rapid rethinks," a statement on the site says, adding that "the licensing of for-profit institutions to award degrees and the advocacy of overseas franchising by existing universities are a threat to the reputation of the UK university system as a whole".
Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
Edgar Froese dead: Tangerine Dream founder dies aged 70
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Syrian refugee child beaten by Istanbul Burger King manager for eating customer’s leftover food
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign
British Muslim leaders outraged after Eric Pickles says followers of Islam should 'prove their identity'
UK terror fears: My jihadist son returned from Syria mentally scarred – now he is being ignored
Nigel Farage: NHS might have to be replaced by private health insurance
Billy Crystal: 'Stop shoving gay sex scenes in my face'
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
- 1 Rowan Atkinson to sell £10 million McLaren 'supercar' he crashed into a tree and a lamppost
- 2 The truth about 'girl things': Three cheers for Heather Watson's honesty
- 3 Man who held up 'hire me' sign at Waterloo station returns a year later with 'I'm hiring' sign
- 5 Men behaving badly: Urinating while standing, 'manspreading' and the gendering of selfishness
Unpaid voluntary work: Old Royal Naval College: Join our team of friendly volu...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: We currently have an opportunity for you to jo...
£25000 - £29000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group have be...
£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Calling all talented Level 2 qu...