STEPHEN Flynn was jeered by Labour MPs in the Commons on Wednesday as he compared Sir Keir Starmer to Nick Clegg over his tuition fee u-turn. 

The clash came during a Prime Minister’s Questions dominated by tomorrow’s local elections in England. 

The SNP Westminster leader used his two interventions in the session to criticise Labour’s decision to scrap their vow to abolish higher education charges in England. 

READ MORE: Keir Starmer ditches Labour commitment to scrap tuition fees

University tuition is free in Scotland for Scottish students, after the then Labour-Lib Dem Holyrood administration scrapped up-front fees in 2001, and the SNP government eliminated the graduate endowment in 2008. 

In Wales, tuition fees are capped at £9,000, while in Northern Ireland, home students pay a maximum of £4,630 but those from other UK nations can be charged up to £9,250.

🗣️ Time is running out to save on a full year of digital access with our lowest EVER offer.

Subscribe for a whole year to The Herald for only £24 for unlimited website access or £30 for our digital pack.

Been meaning to subscribe? Don't wait, this offer is only available for a limited time.

👉 Click here to subscribe

Sir Keir had promised to scrap tuition fees in his campaign to succeed Jeremy Corbyn in 2020. However, earlier this week, the party leader confirmed the policy change. 

“We are likely to move on from that commitment because we do find ourselves in a different financial situation,” he told the BBC.

Mr Flynn compared it to the coalition government’s decision to bring in tuition fees despite the then Lib Dem chief promising not to. 

The SNP leader said: “In 2010, David Cameron convinced Nick Clegg to drop his pledge on university tuition fees. Does the Prime Minister intend to take the credit for convincing the leader of the Labour Party to do likewise?”

The Herald: Sir Nick Clegg is picking up his knighthood (Victoria Jones/PA)

Mr Sunak thanked the Aberdeen South MP for the question. 

“It's hard to keep up with the list of broken promises,” he said. “But I would say on tuition fees, I'm proud that under this government, we now have a record number of people that are going to university from disadvantaged backgrounds, and that's because of the efforts we've paid to put more money into supporting those people, in those communities fulfil their aspirations, alongside fantastic new apprenticeships in every part of our country.”

READ MORE: SNP have signed contracts with new auditors, party confirm

Mr Flynn said that the Labour “Nick Clegg moment” meant the SNP was the only main Westminster party offering “young people any hope at all.”

The Prime Minister said that students from a disadvantaged background were “far more likely to go to University in England than you are in Scotland.”

During their exchanges, Mr Sunak and Sir Keir clashed over mortgages and housebuilding. 

He said the chaos sparked by the mini-budget had led to 850,000 people in the UK paying more on their mortgages each month. 

“Nearly a million people paying more on their mortgage each month because his party used their money as a casino chip,” he said. 

He said the number of homeowners forking out more could hit two million by the end of the year. 

“It’s not just those who already own their home that are counting the cost of Tory recklessness, the average deposit for a first-time buyer is going up to £9,000. Does he even know how long it would take an average saver to put that sort of money aside?”

Mr Sunak replied: “That’s why we’ve introduced a 95% mortgage guarantee scheme, it’s why we’re helping people in social housing own their own home through our first homes and our shared home ownership schemes.

“Last year we had a record number of first-time buyers, the highest number in 20 years. It was twice the number of first-time buyers than Labour ever managed, so whilst Labour failed owners, the Conservatives are delivering for them.”

Sir Keir pointed out that this was “roughly the annual bill to heat” the Prime Minister’s swimming pool.