ACADEMICS at Oxford University last night passed a vote of no confidence in universities minister David Willetts.

Almost 300 dons backed the motion following a debate in which the Government’s reforms were derided as “reckless, incoherent and incompetent”.

There were cheers inside the university’s Sheldonian Theatre as the results were announced, with 283 in favour and five against.

According to campaigners, Oxford is the first English university ever to pass a motion of no confidence in a Government minister.

St Edmund Hall tutor Abdel Takriti branded the Government’s plans for higher education “ill-articulated and incoherent”.

Oxford University Student Union president David Barclay spoke on behalf of the student body, describing the plans as “rotten” and adding: “It will turn our successors into those who know the price of everything and the value of nothing.”

And English professor David Norbrook said academics were forced to speak “a language that we all know does not honestly represent what we do and what we believe in but which we speak because it’s the price of funding”.

Other universities are also building no confidence campaigns and it is anticipated this could be the first of a number of similar votes.