If the government finds the now largely loyalist National Union of Students less tractable than it hopes on funding policy, it could have some of its own backbenchers to blame. The NUS leadership was distinctly unamused by the pounding it took last week from the commons select committee on education and employment - treatment conspicuously not handed out to the other witnesses, least of all secretary of state David Blunkett. NUS president Doug Trainer said:
"We got a rough ride and we expected it. What we didn't expect was that Labour MPs would attack us on questions that the Labour manifesto never answered. The attack by Charlotte Atkins on the question of part-time study was reminiscent of the barrage we used to get from Conservative MPs."