New Clause 14

Part of Education and Skills Bill – in a Public Bill Committee at 4:00 pm on 28 February 2008.

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Photo of Jim Knight Jim Knight Minister of State (Schools and Learners), Department for Children, Schools and Families, Minister of State (Department for Children, Schools and Families) (Schools and Learners) 4:00, 28 February 2008

On a point of order, Mr. Bayley, I would like to take the opportunity to thank you for the way in which you have managed the Committee’s proceedings. At times they have not been easy, particularly today when there has been so much business to complete. Last week we thanked Mr. Bercow when we knew that it was his last time in the Chair.

I thank the Clerks, the Official Reporters, the doorkeepers and the police for facilitating the Committee’s proceedings.  I could not have performed my duties without the support of my invisible and unheard officials, and I am grateful to them.

I extend my thanks to the hon. Members for Bognor Regis and Littlehampton and for South Holland and The Deepings—a remarkable double act that I have worked opposite before. I have tried to think of the appropriate analogy—Little and Large, Starsky and Hutch, Laurel and Hardy, or Marx and Engels. Morecambe and Wise came to mind, as one of the hon. Gentlemen seems to put the more into Morecambe and the other, on some occasions, puts the wise into Wise. The Committee’s proceedings would not have been the same without the meandering of the hon. Member for South Holland and The Deepings, as opposed to the comments of the straight man that he works with. His meanderings took us to Proust, William Morris, liberalism, his son and his wife, and were all part of the rich tapestry and entertainment of the Committee.

I also thank the hon. Members for Yeovil and for Bristol, West who provided robust opposition. They are not so much a double act as a tag wrestling team, as I think this is the only occasion when we have seen them in the room together.

The Under-Secretary of State for Innovation, Universities and Skills, my hon. Friend the Member for Tottenham, also helped me with the eight clauses that he took through. During the course of this Committee he became a father, and the football team that his constituency is named after and he supports won a domestic cup, even though it is a less important one. I congratulate him.

We have also had significant contributions from the hon. Member for North-East Hertfordshire with his obsessions, and great expertise and wisdom from my hon. Friend the Member for Llanelli.

I have been ably supported by the Whip. My hon. Friend the Member for Worcester has, as ever, been very helpful to me and there has been great support behind me, principally from my hon. Friend the Member for Bridgend but also from my hon. Friends the Members for Hove and for Llanelli and even, on one occasion, my hon. Friend the Member for Blackpool, South.

I have not mentioned everybody because we all want to go home but I am very grateful to them all. Again, thank you, Mr. Bayley.