MPs set for emergency debate on tuition fees decision

Updated: 
General Election 2017

MPs will discuss the Government's plans to raise tuition fees after the Speaker granted an emergency debate.

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner applied for the debate in the Commons, telling the House that students were "uncertain" about the fees that can be charged.

Speaker John Bercow said he was "satisfied" that the matter raised by Ms Rayner was "proper to be discussed under standing order 24" and scheduled up to three hours for the debate on Wednesday.

Ms Rayner said a debate on the tuition fee rises had been scheduled for April 19 - the day after the general election was called - but the debate was cancelled.

"Oddly, Mr Speaker, they have been determined not to grant the House a vote since that election."

She said the shadow leader of the House had raised the issue several times at Business questions and had since received a letter from Commons leader Andrea Leadsom saying the Government "currently has no plans to schedule these debates in Government time".

Ms Rayner said: "Both universities and thousands of students across the country are now uncertain about the rate of tuition fees that can be charged.

"With neither Government nor opposition time being provided, we have no choice but to use Standing Order 24.

"So, Mr Speaker, 109 days since it was first promised by ministers, I ask leave of the House for an emergency debate on their plans to raise tuition fees."

Mr Bercow said: "I have listened carefully to the application from (Ms Rayner), I am satisfied that the matter raised by (Ms Rayner) is proper to be discussed under Standing Order number 24."

He added: "The debate, I can advise colleagues, will be held tomorrow, 19th July 2017, as the first item of public business.

"The debate will last for up to three hours and will arise on a motion that the House has considered the specified matter set out in (Ms Rayner's) application."

A request for an emergency debate on accepting unaccompanied asylum-seeking children into the UK by outgoing Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron was rejected by the Speaker.

Mr Farron said the Government's decision to take 480 children was "mean-spirited, blatantly politically motivated and not worthy of this House or of this country".

"And yet we now know that the number of desperate children we have actually received is less than half of that measly target."

He called for the issue to be debated before the House rises for the summer recess on Thursday, but Mr Bercow said he was "not persuaded" that the matter was right for an emergency debate.

Mr Bercow said he was "not insensitive to the very strong concern he and others have on this" but said there was "a limitation of time", and suggested Mr Farron "seek other opportunities to air his concerns on this matter".