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Orders of the Day — Sex Discrimination Bill [Lords]

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 7:54 pm on 22nd May 1986.

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Photo of Mr David Ashby Mr David Ashby , North West Leicestershire 7:54 pm, 22nd May 1986

I am afraid that I come across far greater numbers than that in London, not in my constituency. We know about the special problems in the Inner London education authority and its failures. I have seen inspectors' reports which speak of its failures. That shows how badly a Labour-controlled authority can run education. I lay the blame entirely at the door of the Labour party. It has been party political and it is unable to run London's schooling properly.

I have mentioned women's hours of work and the need to free them to enable them to work the hours that they want. Many factories work flexi-hours in my constituency and others work split shifts. The latter have been of great benefit and work extremely well. The factories work day and night. The women are grateful and I have found nothing but happiness at how they are working. I recommend that system.

My right hon. and learned Friend spoke of retirement pensions and what will happen in view of the recent decision of the European Court of Justice. It is monstrously unfair that women should not be entitled to choose their retirement date in parity with men. That is a long-overdue development. I would welcome greater flexibility and parity. I am aware that that would be extremely expensive, but I hope that we shall work towards it. It will take time, but it is a goal worth aiming for.