Xextensive consultation . . . showed almost universal support for the abolition of the 11-plus Transfer Tests"— in Northern Ireland—
Xand a predominant view that academic selection should be ended".—[Hansard, 28 October 2002; Vol. 391, c. 513W.]
I regret to say that, by providing that answer, the hon. Lady misled the House. I have already advised her office of my intention to raise the matter today.
If you, Mr. Speaker, were to read the Department of Education report on the responses to the consultation, you would find that only 57 per cent. of 200,551 household responses received by the Department supported the abolition of the transfer test, with 32 per cent. disagreeing and 12 per cent. undecided. Fifty-seven per cent. can hardly be regarded as, to use the Minister's words, Xalmost universal support".
On the question of whether academic selection should be ended, according to the Department of Education report—
On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Have you noticed that, because of the rescheduling of the provisional business that was due for this afternoon—the debate on home defence—tomorrow there will be a debate on home defence in the House and a debate on the foreign policy aspects of terrorism in Westminster Hall? There is, as you know, great concern among hon. Members on both sides of the House about those two closely interrelated topics. Is there anything that you can do to advise those who prepare the business of the House that in future such a clash should be avoided?