The Leader of the House will know that next week’s planned Westminster Hall debate on libraries has been postponed due to the Under-Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, my hon. Friend Rebecca Pow, being on compassionate leave. I know that you, Mr Speaker, and the whole House send our heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathies. None the less, she, you and the Leader of the House will want the debate to be rescheduled, because we need to know what the Government will do about the nationwide closure of libraries, through which new horizons are seen, new ideas are seeded and second springs start.
John Clare said:
“E’en the small violet feels a future power
And waits each year renewing blooms to bring,
And surely man is no inferior flower
To die unworthy of a second spring?”
And for you, Mr Speaker:
Are we a breed that no longer loves to learn?
Is ours an age where once-cherished books burn?
Or will we come again to seek and yearn?
To decipher, to distil, to discern?