A LIBERAL Democrat councillor has quit the party "with great sadness" in a protest against an increase in student tuition fees.

Councillor Matt Davies, who represents Fortis Green, said he could not continue to be a member of his party while they are in coalition with the Conservatives and said his party's widespread support of plans to charge students up to £9,000 per year was something he would not compromise on.

He has been a Lib Dem member for 15 years attracted by their key policies including civil liberties, the environment, a fairer tax system and free education.

Cllr Davies, who will remain an independent until the next election, said: "I believe in an education system - which benefits the whole of society - funded through general taxation and not through student fees. For this reason, and with great sadness, I have resigned my membership of the Liberal Democrats."

He added: "Following the general election, the coalition government was the best outcome for the country and I believe that Liberal Democrats have already made a real and positive difference in government. However, while compromises are necessary, tuition fees is one area that I do not personally feel able to compromise on."

He praised Haringey Lib Dem leader, Councillor Robert Gorrie, and Hornsey and Wood Green MP Lynne Featherstone, who voted in favour of the increase, for their excellent work, and said he would continue to work with fellow Fortis Green ward councillors Martin Newton and Sophie Erskine.

Cllr Davies ruled out joining any other political party.

Cllr Gorrie said: "I am very sorry that Matt has taken this decision, and I hope in time, he will rejoin the party and group.

"As Liberal Democrats we are delivering on many of our key policies in Government, fairer taxes, a fair start for children with extra funding for disadvantaged pupils, a comprehensive clean up of our politics, including a fairer voting system and a green, sustainable economy. I know Matt would agree that Haringey residents deserve a better local council than the 40 years of failure we have had under Labour. We can achieve better for the residents of Haringey."