"Nick Clegg has failed in an attempt to head off a presentational disaster for his party, and Liberal Democrat MPs will split three ways this week when the Commons votes on plans to almost treble university tuition fees.
"Tension is mounting at Westminster ahead of Thursday's crunch vote on the Coalition's proposal to allow universities to charge up to £9,000 a year in fees.
"Government whips say approval of the package is "not certain" because of the chaos in Liberal Democrat ranks. "It's not in the bag yet," said one source. Whips believe the vote is so tight that a handful of Tory MPs could scupper the fees increase by opposing it."