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Public Responsibility For Social Justice

Part of Orders of the Day — Opposition Day – in the House of Commons at 4:36 pm on 10th March 1997.

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Photo of Mr Brian Wilson Mr Brian Wilson , Cunninghame North 4:36 pm, 10th March 1997

I am delighted to be called nasty by the Minister. Given his political creed, I would be distinctly worried if he did not describe me as nasty—I am opposed to everything that he stands for, dogmatically and philosophically. Nothing could be as juvenile as judging anybody by the school to which his parents sent him. [Interruption] I do not know which is the organ grinder and which is the monkey, but I should be pleased to hear from either the Secretary of State or his parliamentary private secretary. Neither wants to respond.

No one is judged by the school to which his parents sent him. There is no envy involved because, by and large, I believe that sending kids to private schools is not good for them. Even if I thought differently I would recognise that, in any society, priorities must be set. An interesting parliamentary reply last week showed that even in Scotland, where there is a legal maximum of 33 children in a primary school class, 74,000 Scottish children are in primary classes of more than 30. That shows that the resources have much work to do. I want to know how many children in my constituency are in the assisted places scheme because I want to be able to tell my constituents that one, two or three children benefit under the scheme but that, by an alternative use of the resources, 500, 600 or 700 children could benefit. That is a reasonable point for any hon. Member to make.