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Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 1:06 pm on 4th March 1988.

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Photo of Mr Graham Riddick Mr Graham Riddick , Colne Valley 1:06 pm, 4th March 1988

As a Member representing a northern constituency, I often hear it said that there is an appalling gap between the north of England and the south of England—the so-called north-south divide. I have always regarded that idea as somewhat simplistic and misleading. It is wrong to imagine that there is nothing north of Watford, but whippets and welfare scroungers, Labour Members, dark satanic mills, Arthur Scargill and squabbling cricketers and brass bands.

Some of Britain's most beautiful countryside is north of Watford. Some of Britain's most inventive and wealthiest people are to be found north of Watford. Indeed, some of Britain's most thriving industries are in the north. It is too simplistic by half to say that there is a north-south divide. The hon. Member for Yeovil (Mr. Ashdown) made that mistake earlier. I am sorry that the hon. Gentleman is not in the Chamber now. This is the second debate this week in which I have taken part when the hon. Member for Yeovil, having spoken earlier, disappeared to further his leadership ambitions in other areas.