Student Finance

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 6:25 pm on 23rd June 2003.

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Photo of Paul Farrelly Paul Farrelly Labour, Newcastle-under-Lyme 6:25 pm, 23rd June 2003

All I can say is that it happened somehow.

In summary, I cannot support an amendment that sidesteps the heart of the controversy and seeks to endorse steps towards widening participation at the same time as introducing a system that will narrow it. However, until my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State responds to the consultation on the White Paper and we see whether he is prepared to make concessions to our concerns, I intend to abstain. I congratulate him on the way he has carried on the debate. He has been relentless in doing the rounds, and I dare say that he has had more wine and no cheese evenings this year than he can remember. But the proof will be in the listening. There are alternatives. We should debate them, and be given the information to do so. I hope that the Government will listen and change their policy on top-up fees.