Schedule 16 — Repeals and revocations

Part of Sale of Mobile Homes (Interviews) – in the House of Commons at 9:56 pm on 5th May 2009.

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Photo of Graham Stuart Graham Stuart Conservative, Beverley and Holderness 9:56 pm, 5th May 2009

As we approach the end of the time available to this fading Administration, it seems that the Bill will be the final law on education that they have a chance to introduce before the next general election. It is their SATs test. Does the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families lie awake at night fretting about next year's constituency league table and what it might mean for his future? Has Labour's educational curriculum been distorted and narrowed by the test ahead? I fear that this Bill—this flimsy, incoherent Bill—provides evidence that it has. The Secretary of State has introduced it not to improve education but to fulfil the aspiration that he notoriously described to the New Statesman back in March 2006, when he said that he aspired to create political dividing lines, to show up the Conservatives and to score political points. This Bill was the educational equivalent of the 50p tax rate—another example of the vicious, paranoid, clan-based politics that he and his master have used to claw their way to the top.

It seems that no smear, no clandestine briefing and no moral outrage is too much for that coterie of the now electorally damned. But the game is up. People are not fooled anymore; they have had enough of Labour. So I appeal to the Secretary of State to accept his fate, recognise that defeat is inevitable and use the time he has left to try to do something constructive. He should work with Opposition Members not to create dividing lines but to do constructive things, such as introducing the apprenticeships that we would all like as a result of the Bill, because time and again Ministers have failed to show how they will make those apprenticeships a reality. They have made the promise, but they have not put forward the mechanisms with which to deliver it.

I appeal to the Secretary of State to give schools more freedom and to get apprenticeships going, because politics is not about winning or about power; it is about trying to make a positive difference and trying to make people's lives better. [ Interruption. ] The Secretary of State may laugh at such naive idealism, but I suggest to someone so young that, although he may never serve again after next year, despite being so young, he has one year left to try to work positively for the future of education and for our young people, and not to carry on with what is a politically driven, rather than an educationally driven, agenda.

Question put and agreed to.

Bill accordingly read the Third time and passed.

Business without Debate

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