Corbynistas accuse Sir Keir Starmer of plotting a ‘betrayal’ of his Left-wing legacy by watering down his vow to abolish tuition fees
- Corbyn backers claim Keir Starmer will review predecessors £7.2billion pledge
- Jeremy Corbyn had vowed to abolish tuition fees as his Left-wing legacy
- Keir denied the claims, he vowed to honour pledge in recent leadership contest
Backers of Jeremy Corbyn are accusing Sir Keir Starmer of plotting a ‘massive betrayal’ of his Left-wing legacy by watering down his famous vow to abolish tuition fees.
They claim the new Labour Party leader wants to review his predecessor’s £7.2 billion pledge, despite promising to honour it during the recent leadership contest.
They also said Sir Keir’s camp would use the policy shift to ‘hobble’ education spokeswoman Rebecca Long Bailey – the only high-profile Corbynista in his new Shadow Cabinet – as she would have to oversee any U-turn.
Labour Party leader Sir Keir Starmer (left) alongside then Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn during a press conference in central London. Saturday April 4, 2020
Sir Keir’s office denied there was any such review, but the bitter row exposes growing tensions within Labour as MPs still fervently loyal to Corbyn seek to bind Sir Keir to much of his predecessor’s vision.
Two weeks ago, key Corbyn ally Diane Abbott told fellow activists that ‘we need to push the current leadership to take up and reflect Jeremy’s international agenda’.
Only last week, Starmer allies angrily hit back at what they claimed was ‘backseat driving’ from Mr Corbyn himself, after he implied Sir Keir mishandled Labour’s response to the coronavirus crisis.
Backers of Jeremy Corbyn are accusing Sir Keir Starmer of plotting a ‘massive betrayal’ of his Left-wing legacy by watering down his famous vow to abolish tuition fees
During the leadership campaign, Sir Keir said he would uphold ‘our radical values’ and ‘support the abolition of tuition fees’.
But last night, sources pointed to how his new policy chief, Claire Ainsley, had once said ‘a vast majority of the public support charging most students some kind of fees for higher education’ even if fees were unpopular with younger voters.
There are also claims that former education spokesman Angela Rayner, now deputy party leader, had previously privately argued against abolishing fees, saying the cash would be better spent on early years education.
Rebecca Long-Bailey, Shadow Secretary of State for Business speaks during the Labour Party Leadership hustings at the Radisson Blu Hotel on February 23, 2020 in Durham, England
One Corbyn ally MP predicted a ‘huge row’ if the abolition of tuition fees was shelved, saying: ‘It would be a massive betrayal of what many Corbynites believe in.
‘More than that, many of the party members who backed Keir for leader didn’t vote for him to do that.’
A spokesman for Sir Keir last night insisted there was ‘no plan’ for a review of the tuition fees policy.