An urgent action was sought after from more than 100 MPs who have called on the vice-chancellors of Oxford and Cambridge to help students from under-represented areas gain an Oxbridge education. The signatories - the former cabinet minister included, expressed their deep concern about the data showing that Oxbridge's graduates were largely white, wealthy and from the south of England.
A letter to Louise Richardson, vice-chancellor of Oxford, and Stephen Toope, vice-chancellor of Cambridge, stated that “An Oxbridge education is still seen as a golden ticket into a top job and the universities of Oxford and Cambridge – supported by significant taxpayer funding – still hold the key to our top professions.”
“I believe that all universities, including Cambridge, have a duty to be open to people from all backgrounds, irrespective of race, class and origin,” the reply Cambridge sent to David Lammy.
In response, Toope claimed that to widen access to students from across the UK, Cambridge spent £5m a year. “Last year we invested nearly £8m on bursaries that supported more than 2,600 students from lower-income families. We are making real and sustained progress.”
Other than the former cabinet minister Yvette Cooper, the signatories include Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary, Chuka Umunna, the MP for Streatham, and the former minister Caroline Flint, Hilary Benn and Harriet Harman.