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23 July 2017

Jeremy Corbyn admits he didn’t know how big student debt was when he promised to ‘deal with it’ as Labour blasted over U-turn

JEREMY Corbyn has admitted he didn’t know the size of Britain’s student debt when he promised to “deal with it” as Labour are blasted over an alleged U-turn.

The party’s leader is insisting he never promised to write it off during the election as he campaigned for the youth vote.

Jeremy Corbyn admitted he didn’t know how big student debt was when he promised to ‘deal with it’
PA

But the Education Secretary is calling on the party to apologise for misleading people after abandoning a “clear commitment to reduce the debts of millions of people”.

According to the Mail on Sunday Justine Greening has written to the Shadow Education Secretary Angela Rayner, saying: “In pretending that the Labour Party never intended to clear student debt, you are further misleading those who put their faith in you.”

It comes as the Labour leader has faced claims he used students as “election fodder” by indicating he would wipe out the sums they owed for their education.

During the run-up to the June 8 vote, Mr Corbyn said he wanted to look at ways to reduce, ameliorate, lengthen the period of paying it off or “some other means of reducing that debt burden”.

In an interview with NME, he added: “And I don’t see why those that had the historical misfortune to be at university during the £9,000 period should be burdened excessively compared to those that went before or those that come after.

“I will deal with it.”

Jeremy Corbyn claims he never actually promised to erase student debt
The Education Secretary is calling onAngela Rayner to apologise for misleading people
PA

But now Mr Corbyn said the comments had not been a “commitment” to erase student debt – and admitted the party had not known at the time how much that would cost.

He told BBC One’s The Andrew Marr Show: “I did not make a commitment we would write it off because I couldn’t at that stage.


“I pointed out we had written the manifesto in a short space of time because there was a surprise election but that we would look at ways of reducing that debt burden, recognising that a lot of it is never going to be collected anyway and try and reduce that burden.”

He added: “We never said we would completely abolish it because we were unaware of the size of it at the time.”

Appearing on the Andrew Marr Show the Labour leader insisted huge never made a committment to erasing the debt
PA

Elsewhere in the interview he said he was “ready for it” if another general election was called and claimed it was his party that was forcing the Government into daily U-turns.

But he dismissed claims by a former chief whip that Tony Blair had ruled out a move to have him deselected.

Mr Corbyn insisted selection is done by party members and he had been challenged “once or twice” – but had always been re-selected.

Asked if that meant he did not owe Mr Blair any thanks, he replied: “I’ve no idea this conversation actually took place.

“Also, I don’t quite see why people should go to the party leader and say we want to influence what’s going on in the constituency.

“The whole point of democracy is that the people decide.”

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