Teachers (Scotland)

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 11:53 pm on 11th February 1985.

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Photo of Mr Allan Stewart Mr Allan Stewart , East Renfrewshire 11:53 pm, 11th February 1985

No, that is not the position at all. We are not insisting on any absolute conditions, as I hope to make clear.

As always, the hon. Member for Edinburgh, East made a calm speech. However, it is important to distinguish between two key issues—sympathy with the desire of teachers for better pay, and the attitude of hon. Gentlemen towards the current action by teachers.

I can, of course, understand the first concern. I am myself the son of a teacher. However, it is a distortion of reality to reserve sympathy for teachers prepared to take extreme action rather than for their victims. The action is unprecedented in a number of important respects, notably in relation to examinations and certainly in the fact that sustained action has been taken against the education of pupils who happen to live in the constituencies represented by my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State and by my hon. Friends who are members of the Government. On a sustained basis, such action is unprecedented in the history of the trade union movement in Britain or elsewhere.