Keir Starmer pledges to keep Labour's policy of scrapping tuition fees if he becomes leader
Labour will maintain its pledge to scrap tuition fees if Keir Starmer becomes leader.
The bookies' favourite to succeed Jeremy Corbyn said the totemic policy must remain in order to show voters that "we lost the election, but we did not lose our values".
Sir Keir made the promise as he unveiled 10 pledges to "unify Labour" if he is declared the party's new leader on 4 April.
They include a string of policies from Labour's ill-fated general election manifesto, such as increasing income tax on the top 5% of earners, abolishing Universal Credit and nationalising rail, mail, energy and water.
In a clear pitch to left-wing Labour members, the Shadow Brexit Secretary is also vowing to introduce a Prevention of Military Intervention Act to end "illegal wars, increase trade union power and give full voting rights to EU nationals".
Sir Keir said: "Labour must stand by its commitment to end the national scandal of spiralling student debt and abolish tuition fees. We lost the election, but we did not lose our values or determination to tackle the injustice facing young people going to university.
"Under the Tories, tuition fees have tripled and young people are leaving with university with nearly £60,000 worth of debt. Let’s be blunt: we need to end the scandal of spiralling student debt.
"Young people cannot wait another four years for a Labour government to tackle this issue. That is why I would urge the Chancellor to use next month’s Budget to invest in the next generation by restoring maintenance grants for students in further and higher education.
"At the same time, ministers should set out robust plans for how they intend to invest and support vocational training and lifelong learning for people who choose not to go to university."
Universities are allowed to charge students up to £9,250 a year for a place on their courses.
The cost of scrapping the fees has been estimated to be £8bn a year.