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Last Updated: Sunday, 21 December, 2003, 13:36 GMT
Oxford chancellor defends fees
Chris Patten
Chris Patten was elected to the post in March
Chris Patten, chancellor of Oxford University, has defended the government's plans for university tuition fees.

He told the BBC universities like Oxford desperately needed the cash and no other plan was on offer to provide it.

The party's former chairman also said he did not think the Tories' policy of scrapping fees and cutting student numbers was a good idea.

Despite his policy differences, he voiced his support for Michael Howard, saying "the adults were back in charge" after Iain Duncan Smith's leadership.

'Unwise position'

Mr Patten told the Breakfast with Frost programme: "I do not agree with the Conservative Party's position on this.

"I don't think it is either practically or strategically wise to take the position the Conservatives have taken," he said.

"I very much hope that the Government will stick to its guns and get this through, because there is nothing else on offer to the universities."

"I think the Conservative Party should be arguing that there should not be a cap on fees - that would be the philosophically coherent position to be in."

Chris Patten was elected to the Oxford chancellorship in March.

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