It’s business as usual in Westminster after the bank holiday break, with Keir Starmer admitting this morning he’s performing another screeching U-turn. This time it’s on tuition fees, with the Labour leader appearing on the Today Programme to confirm his team’s briefing to the Times last night:
“We are likely to move on from that commitment because we do find ourselves in a different financial situation. But I don’t want that to be read as us accepting for a moment that the current system is fair or that it’s working.”
It was three years ago when Starmer told Andrew Neil, in no uncertain terms, that “free” tuition would be in a Labour manifesto. It was a leadership “pledge” with Starmer’s signature written directly underneath it, after all. As for what Labour’s new, “fairer” system would be is still anyone’s guess. It is admittedly harder to break a solemn promise if you just say nothing at all.
Today host Justin Webb also pressed Starmer on his other signed, cast-iron leadership pledges. According to Sir Keir, “the vast majority of them still stand“. By Guido’s count, he’s arguably broken at least eight of the ten promises. Starmer’s definition of a “majority” is questionable…