Debt of honour;Jotter

5th June 1998 at 01:00
It seems there is nothing Jim Murphy, New Labour's young man in Eastwood, will not do to support the Blairite cause - including wearing his debts with pride.

The Scottish Grand Committee debate on further and higher education was treated to the revised history of New Murphy, the former student leader with student debts of honour. Things began well enough: he embarked on his long period as a student at Cardonald College in Glasgow where he took some Highers and was able to claim social security.

Then he attended Strathclyde University, "where I took out a student loan which I am still repaying. I became president of the National Union of Students. I then attended the Open University - I am also still repaying that fee - after which I attended Strathclyde University as a part-time student and paid a fee which I am again still repaying."

Of course, Murphy added in triumphant defence of Government policy, he would have been exempt from one of these payments if only the recently announced support for part-time students had been in existence. And, of course, he might have been among the famous 40 per cent of students totally exempt from tuition fees because of similar New Labour wisdom.

But on an MP's salary of pound;40,000 a year plus generous expenses, his past is presumably catching up with him.

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