It took just 90 minutes for 18 MPs to axe maintenance grants for more than half a million of England’s poorest students “in a committee most people have never heard of.”
Labour MP for Ilford North, Wes Streeting, was one of several politicians present at the small debate – chaired by Tory MP Andrew Percy – on Thursday to urge ministers to keep the grants which were then ‘officially’ scrapped following a vote which saw a result of ten Ayes and eight Noes.
Addressing the committee prior to the vote, Mr Streeting said: “Only 18 members can vote in the committee, yet this issue will affect students in every constituency across the country. It is, therefore, even more surprising we find ourselves here on a committee most of our constituents have never heard of, away from the eyes of the public.”
Highlighting how the debate should have been taking place on the floor of the House of Commons, Mr Streeting appealed to the Conservative members of the committee to “think very carefully” about how seriously they take their role as “scrutineers of the Government and as effective legislators.” He added: “It is not the job of Members of Parliament to come to this place and simply allow the Government of the day – whatever our respective political colours – to railroad such dramatic changes in policy.”
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