(Original post by Girton)
A few short points:
1) You're wrong - I have heard Howard actually say that words "The Tories will always oppose Top-Up Fees"
2) They have no official policies as the party is undergoing reconstruction after IDS's departure
3) It doesn't matter how many times Scottish Tories have voted this "Parliament as the vast majority of it was taken up under IDS's rule NOT Howard's. Honestly!
No I'm afraid you are just being very naive. Argue the Tory postion ,that's fine but don't con yourself into thinking Howard gave that pledge - he was only describing 'top up fees' as contained in the Govt proposals.
What he actually said was this from the BBC's report of what you saw:
"But he refused to commit his party to sticking by its pledge under former leader Iain Duncan Smith - to scrap all fees."
"The truth is the universities have a funding problem," he said. "It has been estimated variously at a £10 or £11 billion shortfall, and neither the government nor ourselves have any proposals to deal with that problem.
"I have the gravest reservation about tuition fees but in due course, before the next election, we will come forward with our proposals and we will put them before the country in a manifesto."
In some ways that's a reasonable position for a new leader - he does not want to be tied by the previous leader's mistakes. But please don't misrepresent what is going on. Very few people believe that the Tories can retain a no fees policy. It simply is not credible given the funding issues.
On your other points - the Conservatives do have official policies. Some may be revised in time but they are still working to the policies they have. Bear in mind that Howard and virtually all the current Shadow Cabinet were also in the IDS Shadow Cabinet. They are not entirely new to all of this - they agreed the last policy!.
The Scottish stuff is a red herring. The Tory position is particularly odd as they are in Scotland at least 'The Conservative and Unionist Party' and that means they have a UK wide policy, manifesto etc.
The Government will almost certainly win the vote on fees helped by an estimated 30 Tory votes for or abstentions from those who see some value in the current proposals.