A row has broken out about the future of one of Southampton's universities after the Conservative party pledged to scrap scores of courses.

Solent University is now at the centre of a political row after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's announcement that 'rip-off' courses would be shut down if his party forms the next government after the July 4 election.

Drop-out rates, job progression and earnings potential will be assessed.

In Mr Sunak's plans, 100,000 apprenticeships would be set up instead.

The Labour Party has said that the Tories "urgently need to come clean on this latest half-baked announcement".

According to Labour, the 550 staff which work at Solent University, as well as its 70 courses, would be at risk.

Darren Paffey, Labour’s candidate for Southampton Itchen, has slammed the Prime Minister’s proposal.

Daily Echo: The Spark at Solent UniversityThe Spark at Solent University (Image: Solent University)

Mr Paffey said: “Here in Southampton our universities work hard to provide young people with life-changing educational opportunities, yet here we have Conservative plans to pull the plug on young people's futures.

“The Conservatives say they want to cut funding for some university courses, but that doesn't mean people will not go to university.

“There is no cap on student numbers and no plan on supporting businesses to create new apprenticeships.

“This figure of 100,000 new apprenticeships is simply a figment of Rishi Sunak’s imagination.”

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But Conservative parliamentary candidate for Southampton Itchen Sidney Yankson said Labour has launched an attack on the plans.

He said the Conservatives want to ensure all young people "get the education they deserve".

Sidney added: “This is yet more nonsense from the party that neglected apprenticeships when they were last in office and plan to halve them if they get into power.

“Every year under the Conservatives we've delivered more apprenticeship starts than any year under Labour.”

Solent University said it is committed to ensuring that all students receive good value for money.

Solent vice-chancellor Professor James Knowles said: “If the government wishes to improve the opportunities available to young people, there is a need for better support to help navigate the cost of learning, which is currently forcing too many young people to decide between cash and the classroom.”

The data from Labour on the number of potential job cuts at Solent University is based on the latest Higher Education Statistics Agency data regarding the number of staff and courses at each university.

As well as Mr Yankson and Mr Paffey for the Conservatives and Labour, the other declared candidates for Southampton Itchen are Alex Culley (Reform UK) and Declan Clunes (Trade Union and Socialist Coalition).