Jeremy Corbyn ally quizzed on student debt pledge tells BBC: None of you went to a state school

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One of Jeremy Corbyn’s shadow ministers launched an attack on the BBC today as he was grilled over whether Labour had done a U-turn on axing student tuition fee debts.

Shadow minister for schools Mike Kane queried why the BBC Today programme was asking him about the row over Labour’s stance on scrapping the overall student debt bill, estimated to be over £100 billion. 

He then added: “I’ve been asked by a number of BBC journalists over the last few weeks and over the general election campaign and… not one of them was educated in a state local school.”

The outburst came as Mr Corbyn faced growing pressure over university finance after it emerged that another shadow minister had pledged before the June 8 election that “every existing student will have all their debts wiped off” if Labour gained power.

The promise from shadow justice minister Imran Hussain undermined the Labour leader’s stance that he had made no commitment to axe the existing tuition fee debts of students.

Mr Hussain said in a campaign video: “Just this morning Jeremy Corbyn has announced that the tuition fees will be abolished straight away from  September if there’s a Labour government, and that we will bring back immediately EMA (Education  Maintenance Allowance) and also that every existing student will have all their debts wiped off.”

Shadow public health minister Sharon Hodgson also tweeted on June 2: “Jeremy Corbyn: Labour could write off historic student debts — all those in early twenties with student debt #Vote Labour”.

Mr Corbyn said before the election that he was looking at how the party could “reduce that, ameliorate that, lengthen the period of paying it off, or some other means of reducing the debt burden”, adding: “I will deal with it.” Labour also pledged to scrap tuition fees of up to £9,000 a year.

The Tories have accused Labour of misleading students and have called for an apology.


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