Stephen Dixon clashes with 'nonsense spewing' guest as row erupts over foreign student admissions

Stephen Dixon

Stephen Dixon clashed with a guest on Tuesday's Breakfast

Alex Davies

By Alex Davies

Published: 15/08/2023

- 09:10

Updated: 15/08/2023

- 09:57

Clare Muldoon was the guest who found herself in the firing line of GB News host Stephen Dixon on Tuesday

Stephen Dixon and Isabel Webster returned to Breakfast on Tuesday morning to go over the latest headlines.

As usual, they welcomed a number of guests to the programme, including broadcaster Clare Muldoon and former Lib Dem leader Norman Baker.

However, when Webster highlighted a report from The Guardian which focused on quotes from the head of UCAS who suggested the UK "should embrace foreign students", things took a feisty turn between Muldoon and Dixon.

Baker pointed out that while the head of UCAS has encouraged students from abroad to study here, the Daily Mail highlighted that it has already led to a preference towards foreign hopefuls in clearing.

Muldoon weighed in with her verdict as she said: "I think the bigger picture here is slightly worrying because actually the rise in foreign nationals coming to the UK to study, it's predominantly Russell Group Universities here...

"We're not talking about ex-polys that have been made into universities," she claimed which prompted Dixon's first challenge: "Oh, I don't know..."

But Muldoon soldiered on: "No seriously, this is where the money is because they're going to spend £9,250 a year for domestic students but the international students can pay up to £40,000 a year.

Stephen Dixon and the rest of the panel

Stephen Dixon was quick to argue with Clare Muldoon's points


"They've got this budget deficit and, I'm gonna talk in the next bit about why this is so wrong, at the expense of British students.

"I've got four kids, two have already been through tertiary education at Queen's in Belfast, I've got one in Leeds and one in Newcastle right now, and this is quite worrying.

"If they had not got the grades, they would not have been able to get into university - which is fine right," Muldoon continued.

Her impassioned take went on: "But, they will maintain life here in the UK and pay back into the UK economy.

"The research and the evidence would suggest that the foreign nationals that come into the country to study - fine, don't have a problem with that, people should be able to choose where they want to study wherever they want to - but then they go back.

"They take the skills they've got and they go back to the country that they were domiciled and indeed were born and subsequently will become residents in.

"That's the problem with me, we spend all this time and effort-" Muldoon added before Dixon interrupted with the argument: "But you'd be annoyed if they all wanted to stay..."

"Why?" Muldoon hit back before Dixon explained: "Well, what they would do to the inflation numbers..."

"No, we need immigrants. We need people in this country to work," Muldoon protested before Dixon took aim with another argument up his sleeve to counter her points.

Dixon questioned: "What's the Russell Group business? I sat in a former poly, I did go to Nottingham Trent but no, it was a graduation ceremony, it wasn't Nottingham Trent actually it was somewhere else.

"And literally everyone was Chinese at the graduation ceremony. 500 Chinese graduates... well that was a former poly. And that was the entire day. That was four years ago when I was getting my doctorate."

Clare Muldoon

Clare Muldoon was shocked to hear Stephen say she was 'spewing nonsense'


"Okay, well it's all about you Stephen, isn't it?" Muldoon said back with a smile before Dixon bluntly replied: "No, it's not, I'm just debunking the nonsense you're spewing from your story."

The panel let out gasps and chuckles before Muldoon replied: "Stephen Dixon! I am not spewing anything!"

But Dixon held firm as he relayed his argument: "You are! Part of the problem we've got with immigration numbers is - and it's a huge problem with government figures - is do you or do you not include student figures.

"You can't then suddenly say we'll have 20,000 students come over a year or possibly more and we want them all to stay now."

Muldoon tried to clarify the point she was making was universities' reliance on foreign income to be able to budget before she brought up Scotland's decision to not charge for tertiary education - which prompted Dixon to take another pop.

"Disgrace, it's a disgrace," he weighed in sarcastically as Muldoon hit back: "Don't say disgrace like that, come on."

"You'll be backing Nicola Sturgeon next," Dixon quipped before Webster finally intervened and drowned the pair out by firmly telling them: "Claws away, claws away you two!"

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