Before the Minister spoke several of my hon. Friends and the hon. Member for Tynemouth (Dame Irene Ward) said that this debate afforded him the opportunity to make a statement. Having heard that statement, I think that it is most unfortunate that he has been afforded that opportunity. [HON. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] I think that it is a statement that will only aggravate a very difficult situation.
Before the right hon. Gentleman spoke, it was believed that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was mainly responsible for the present difficult position. The right hon. Gentleman has made it clear that he would have intervened in any case, whether there had been an economic crisis or not. By and large, he apparently regards the teachers as overpaid. [HoN. MEMBERS: "Nonsense."] That is certainly the impression he has created.