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Higher Education and Research Bill - Committee (6th Day)

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:15 pm on 25th January 2017.

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Photo of Lord Hannay of Chiswick Lord Hannay of Chiswick Crossbench 8:15 pm, 25th January 2017

My Lords, I am most grateful to all who have taken part in this extremely lively and, I think, rather useful debate—useful, at any rate, if the Government Front Bench has understood the depth of feeling around the Committee. I took a slight risk in saying that my amendment was likely to draw support from all corners of the Committee. It is always a bit unwise to say that before it has actually happened. I thank everyone for preventing me suffering the ignominy of having wrongly predicted that. In fact, it has turned out to be the case.

I do not wish to get into a long argument with the Minister except to say that he has put before the Committee arguments which we have heard for about six years. I accept absolutely that the action taken by the Prime Minister when she was Home Secretary to close down “dodgy” language schools was valuable and necessary. I just wish that the Government would not now snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, because that is what they doing. They have cleaned up the biggest problem in the area, yet still go on introducing measures and using language which discourages overseas students. Therefore, I hope that the noble Viscount will use the gap between now and Report to reflect on the views of the House, which were so strongly expressed tonight. I hope I am not disobliging when I say to him that I propose to withdraw this amendment but not because of the reasons that he advanced.

Amendment 462 withdrawn.