Birmingham v-c rounds on Blair

June 23, 2000

Prime Minister Tony Blair has been accused of running a "dishonest government" in an open letter from Birmingham vice-chancellor Maxwell Irvine, writes Tony Tysome.

The letter condemns higher education policies and accuses ministersof doing more to deter working-class students than any "elitist" university.

Professor Irvine, who introduced Mr Blair when he announced new Labour's "education, education, education" slogan in a 1997 election campaign speech, says he is saddened by ministers' recent "ill-informed" criticisms of Russell Group institutions.

Legislation toprevent universities charging top-up fees was "the greatest attack on residual university autonomy in 50 years and a major threat to our ability to be internationally competitive".

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