Part of Prayers – in the House of Commons at 10:25 am on 19th July 1991.

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Photo of Mr Derek Fatchett Mr Derek Fatchett , Leeds Central 10:25 am, 19th July 1991

The hon. Gentleman says, "Hear, hear". That makes the essential point, does it not? Who is responsible if standards are falling? The Government try to persuade us that others are responsible. Sometimes, it is the fault of teachers and sometimes the fault of parents. The Minister seems to think that it is the fault of television companies and is developing his own blacklist of television programmes that children should not watch. We are given numerous excuses—a long list of those responsible for any decline in standards.

Is not the simple fact that the Government have been in office and have presided over the education system for 12 years? If they have any sense of personal and collective responsibility they will put up their hands and say, "We are the party that has been in charge and we are responsible. If there is a fall in educational standards, do not blame others. Blame the Conservative party, which has presided over the collapse of educational standards". That is the key lesson to be learnt in this debate. The Government alone have been responsible for the education of any youngster leaving school this week. If that youngster suffers from a fall in standards or a reduction in opportunities, he or she should blame the Conservative Government.