DAVID Miliband MP today refused to comment on whether he would make a better Labour Party leader than his brother Ed at a visit to the University of Kent.
Brushing aside the question at an informal discussion session at the Canterbury campus today, he was however to confirm that his brother is doing a better job than glamour model Katie Price.
Political and family jibes asides, both students and lecturers from all corners of the campus were invited to question the former foreign secretary on a range of topics.
Perhaps unsurprisingly the issue of tuition fees was soon raised, in connection with Labour proposals to lower the highest rates, from the current cap of £9,000, to £6,000 per year.
Speaking on the importance of universities Mr Miliband said “higher education is one of our greatest assets. It is an engine of social mobility and integration, something which has been really threatened by this frankly dangerous scheme”.
His words follow that of promises made by his brother, Ed Miliband, last month that such plans will feature in the parties manifesto.
The move has been dubbed by Conservatives as a “monumental U-turn”, as proposals for a graduate tax were scrapped.
Mr Miliband also said “£9,000 is a bridge too far; I am really worried about the future of higher education in the United Kingdom”.
The issue of tuition fees has been controversial with students since its proposal last year, sparking a series of demonstrations and protests up and down the country.
Jack Smith, 19, a computing student from the Medway campus of the university said “£3,000 isn’t even value for money. It was now or never for me. With next year’s tuition fees, I simply wouldn’t have come”.
Mr Miliband also defended the previous labour hopes that 50 per cent of people would be able to attend university.
“I am standing up for open education. Every time there is an expansion of schooling people will say we are diluting education. This is wrong if you care about British society. In Korea 80% of people attend university; if a person is willing and able there should be no barriers”.
Other topics of discussion included foreign conflicts such as Libya and the future of the EU.
The talk, organised by Professor Richard Sakwa, head of the school of politics and international relations, is part of a programme of guest speakers to be held throughout the year.