New Clause 24 — Admissions administration
Orders of the Day
Graham Brady (Shadow Minister (Europe), Foreign Affairs; Altrincham and Sale West, Conservative)
The hon. Gentleman knows that I do argue for precisely that, and not just in Greater Manchester. I advanced that case on Second Reading. I would be delighted if parents across the country were given the freedom to choose on this issue. He asks why I do not want to put this matter to the test in Trafford. He has already pointed out his own test, which is the test provided by the electorate. That is clearly why my majority has tripled in the past three general elections and why we have now regained control of Trafford borough council. Of course, if he were to advance the same cogent arguments that I do on this subject, he might still be gracing the House with his presence after the next general election, rather than merely until that time. I wish that he would come over to our side on this issue.
The hon. Gentleman talked about opinion polling, but he was slightly selective in his choice of statistics. He referred to a YouGov poll, which apparently took place last year, but did not allude to the ICM poll that took place in March this year—much more recently in the context of the debate about this Bill—which showed 70 per cent. support for more grammar schools. That, however, is not really the point. The fundamental point is what works in raising standards in education. He did not explain in his opening remarks why the borough of Trafford gets more than 70 per cent. of children through five or more good GCSEs, whereas the borough of Bury, which he represents, gets only 58 per cent. through. I have been trying to get that explanation from him for months if not years, so I would be delighted to listen to what he has to say.