SNP leader slams Keir Starmer’s ‘Nick Clegg Moment’ over tuition fees

PMQS: House erupts into laughter

The SNP used Prime Minister’s Questions to blast Keir Starmer’s U-turn on tuition fees, describing the move as his “Nick Clegg moment”.

The party’s leader in Westminster said: “In 2010, David Cameron convinced Nick Clegg to drop his pledge on university tuition fees. Does the PM intend to take the credit for convincing the leader of the Labour Party to do likewise?”

The question received roars of laughter and rare cries of “more!” From Tory MPs.

A laughing Rishi Sunak said he thanked the SNP leader for his question, taking the opportunity to once again criticise Sir Keir’s latest U-turn.

He said: “It’s hard to keep up, Mr Speaker, with the list of broken promises!”

However the question from the SNP quickly backfired, as Mr Sunak pointed out students from disadvantaged backgrounds in England are much more likely to go to university than those in Scotland.

With the SNP fearing a possible resurgence of Labour in Scotland, Mr Flynn was keen to single out his party as the only option for Scottish students wanting to keep free tuition.

He said: “For the avoidance of any doubt, the Liberal Democrats don’t believe in abolishing tuition fees, the Conservatives don’t believe in abolishing tuition fees, and of course the Labour Party – now with their own ‘Nick Clegg moment’ – don’t believe in abolishing tuition fees either.

“Is it not the case that the main Westminster parties don’t offer young people any hope at all”.

Mr Sunak silenced the SNP leader, pointing out that: “If you’re from a disadvantaged background, you’re far more likely to go to university in England than you are in Scotland!”

The question from the SNP on tuition fees came just minutes after the PM had already slammed Labour for Sir Keir’s latest blatant policy U-turn.

Mr Sunak accused Keir Starmer of U-turning on his housing policy, now promising to re-introduce top-down housing targets after previously promising greater local say.

He said: “He wants to impose top-down housing targets, he wants to concrete over the green belt and ride roughshod over local communities.

“Previously, Mr Speaker, he’s on record saying ‘local people, local communities should have more power and more control, now he’s u-turned.

“Just another in a long list of broken promises.”

Sir Keir retorted that the only power Mr Sunak has given to local communities is the power not to build houses.

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