DIANE ABBOTT has been asked to respect her anti-tuition-fee stance by refunding the near-£2,000 fee she charged students for a 50-minute talk. For another talk to undergraduates she levied £1,000.
The Labour MP commented that she did not “routinely” charge to speak to students but “routinely” spoke at student, community and political events “for [sic] free”, adding: “This year alone I have spoken at nearly 70 such events.”
Abbott was one of the MPs who defied her party leader, Prime Minister Tony Blair, in 2004 by voting against tuition fees.
Birmingham graduate Alex Blackburn said: “As founder and president of a University of Birmingham society, I have hosted numerous politicians and other high-profile guests and none have [sic] asked for a single penny in return.
“Charging students £1,750 for a 50-minute university speech is a gross insult to all British students.
“This could have paid for half a year’s tuition at the time.
Abbott, who is also Shadow Public Health Minister and in 2010 tried to succeed Gordon Brown as Labour leader, has lately hinted about running for London Mayor. Asked in an online interview by Mumsnet, a campaigning website, whether she would consider standing as Labour candidate in 2016, she typed: “I am not ruling it in or out.” Tweely, she also inserted a smiley.
If Abbott fails at that latest objective, perhaps the only place left for her will be the Lords. Lady Di of Dalston… got a ring to it, ennit? [Don’t be silly, with her democratic beliefs, she couldn’t join an unelected legislature. — Ed.]
* The main picture shows the MP after having spoken at a Stoke Newington function.
* The petition
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