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Craig Mackinlay slams ‘biggest electoral bribe in history’ as John McDonnell accused of backtracking over Labour pledge on student debt

PUBLISHED: 16:36 17 July 2017 | UPDATED: 16:44 17 July 2017

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay. Photo: Ady Kerry

South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay. Photo: Ady Kerry

Ady Kerry

Sir Julian Brazier last month blamed his election defeat on “naive young people who have not had to balance a budget before in their lives”

Claims the Labour party would wipe out billions of pounds of student debt have been slammed as “the biggest electoral bribe in history” by a Kent MP.

The shadow chancellor has been accused of backtracking on a suggestion made by leader Jeremy Corbyn prior to last month’s election that a Labour government would not just abolish future tuition fees but also write off huge sums of existing debt.

John McDonnell said over the weekend the apparent pledge by Mr Corbyn was “an ambition” for the party in power but would not necessarily happen.

Reacting on Twitter this morning, South Thanet MP Craig Mackinlay said: “Truth emerges on the biggest electoral bribe in history. It was hollow all along.”

Many suggested Rosie Duffield’s shock victory for Labour in Canterbury could be attributed to the city’s large student population, and defeated stalwart Sir Julian Brazier last month blamed his loss on “naive young people who have not had to balance a budget before in their lives, and believed in the magic money tree”.

The former MP insisted comparisons could not be drawn between the Labour proposal and Theresa May shaking hands on a £1bn deal with the Democratic Unionist Party because wiping off that much student debt would cost more in the region of £37bn.

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