Mon, 20 May 2024

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The House Live All
By Lord Watson of Wyre Forest
Press releases

Theresa May calls on Jeremy Corbyn to apologise for working class students claim

John Ashmore

2 min read

Theresa May has called on Jeremy Corbyn to apologise for “misleading” students about the number of disadvantaged youngsters applying to university.

The Labour leader said recently that “fewer working class young people are applying to university” – a claim flatly contradicted by data from Ucas, the university admissions service.

Fact-checking website Full Fact also said the figures showed that young people from disadvantaged groups were “more likely to go to university now than any other year on record”.

Mrs May seized on the issue during the final Prime Minister’s Questions of the current parliamentary session.

She also rounded on Labour over their apparent u-turn on cancelling student debt.

Mr Corbyn told the NME during the general election that he would "deal with" student debt, which is estimated to to currently stand at around £100bn, only for his Shadow Chancellor and close ally John McDonnell to recently describe that remark as an “ambition”, rather than a pledge.

On the issue of working class students, the Prime MInister told MPs: “I think it's very important as people are thinking about going to university that they are not misled in any way. It is the case that more disadvantaged 18-year-olds are now applying to university than ever before.

“I believe the Right Honourable Gentleman, the leader of the Opposition said exactly the opposite and I think he should apologise for having said that.

“I think actually the Labour party should go further. At the election the leader of the Opposition vowed to deal with student debt, Labour were going to abolish student debt, now they say it wasn't a promise at all. Students know Labour can't be trusted on student fees."

A spokesman for Mr Corbyn later insisted that the proportion of students coming from low-income families - rather than the total number - had "fallen sharply" under the Conservatives.

He also denied that the Labour leader had ever promised to cancel all student debt.

"He was saying he would look at how he would address the stock of student debt - reduce or ameliorate it - and obviously it was a matter of concern," he said. "Our commitment was to scrapping tuition fees. If you look at the NME interview, he didn't say scrap or abolish (student debt)."

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