LABOUR have been accused of having a “Nick Clegg moment” after appearing to U-turn on free tuition for university students.

Stephen Flynn, the SNP’s Westminster leader, pointed out at Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday that his party are now the only major group in the Commons to support the abolition of tuition fees – after Keir Starmer said it was time for Labour to “move on” from the policy.

The Aberdeen MP drew a comparison between Starmer and former LibDems leader Clegg, whose reversal on the policy as part of the 2010 Conservative coalition deal played a large part in the collapse of his party’s vote share at the following election.

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Flynn asked: “For the avoidance of any doubt, the Liberal Democrats don’t believe in abolishing tuition fees, the Conservatives don’t believe in abolishing tuition fees and of course, the Labour Party now with their own Nick Clegg moment, don’t believe in abolishing tuition fees either.”

He added: “Is it not the case that the main Westminster don’t offer young people any hope at all?”

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak replied with a disputed claim about the number of English students who come from deprived backgrounds versus their Scottish counterparts.

The independent fact-checking service Full Fact has previously said this comparison is “tricky” because the quality of data on this measure is better in England than it is in Scotland, and many more Scots from deprived backgrounds gain a higher education in colleges rather than universities – a factor they said was not reflected in the figures.

Sunak said: “I’d gently point out to the honourable gentleman, that if you’re from a disadvantaged background you’re far more likely to go to university in England than you are in Scotland.”