Boris Johnson: The hon. Gentleman makes a fine point about research, but if he were to read the Scottish papers and look at the redundancies in Scottish faculties, he would not speak quite so glibly. Given the widening competitiveness gap between Scottish and English universities, one has to wonder whether the 59 Scottish MPs should be allowed to vote on these issues in this Parliament. English MPs have no...
Boris Johnson: The hon. Gentleman makes a good point about the necessity to make it clear to students that the humanities also offer lucrative prospects. However, is it not also our duty to make it clear to students that science—the numbers have gone down in the past, although the Minister will no doubt correct me and say that they are booming—is also a lucrative path for them to take?
Boris Johnson: The hon. Gentleman makes an interesting case against the disparity between charging systems in England and Wales. Does he wish to roll back the devolutionary settlement whereby Wales can have separate arrangements for university finance?
Boris Johnson: To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what estimate he has made of the take-up of working tax credit in 2005-06; and if he will make a statement.
Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills (1) how many educational psychologists qualified in each of the last 10 years for which data are available; and how many he expects to qualify in (a) 2007 and (b) 2008; (2) how many training places for educational psychologists were funded in each year between 2000 and 2006; how many he expects to be funded in 2007; and if he will...
Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills for what reasons the Student Loans Company uses the retail price index as its preferred inflation index.
Boris Johnson: Does the Minister agree—I think that he does—that one of the key problems facing the Russell Group universities is the comparative flight in the maintained sector away from the crunchy subjects that those universities value, such as mathematics and sciences and ancient and modern languages? What can the Minister do to avert that flight, and in that context does he not agree that it is...
Boris Johnson: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Skills how many qualifications have been awarded under the employer training pilots, broken down by (a) sector and (b) level.
Boris Johnson: It is.
Boris Johnson: Will the Minister give way?
Boris Johnson: Can the Minister tell us where he thinks the money is going, and should not be going?
Boris Johnson: rose—
Boris Johnson: I gave way to the hon. Gentleman.
Boris Johnson: Talk about a badly researched speech! I really think that the hon. Gentleman should reflect the role of the Conservative Government and the Conservative Education Secretary in hugely expanding the university sector by allowing the creation of a huge number of new universities.
Boris Johnson: Will the hon. Gentleman give way?
Boris Johnson: My hon. Friend is a man who knows about this subject. Pure science subjects such as physics have experienced a sad decline in numbers of students, and 30 per cent. of physics departments have closed in the past eight years. The Minister is right to say that the number of those studying forensic science and combined science subjects is increasing, but if he examines what is happening to...
Boris Johnson: I hope that the hon. Gentleman will forgive me for not allowing him to interrupt during my speech. It was because I was taking so many other interventions. I want to join him in what he says about Birkbeck. I hugely support Birkbeck's fantastic efforts in the east end. But does he really think that women represent a minority whose participation in higher education needs to be expanded, given...
Boris Johnson: I think that the hon. Gentleman will agree that English and mathematics are crunchy subjects. The disgrace of our education system is that 44 per cent. of children still leave primary school unable to do reading, writing or basic mathematics. That is where the division begins and that is exactly the point that I was making throughout my speech.
Boris Johnson: Stop this chip-o-rama rubbish!
Boris Johnson: It is a tragic comment on the vacuity at the heart of the hon. Gentleman's argument that he is obliged to reduce an important and interesting debate about higher education, access to higher education and the difficulties of allowing schools to compete on an even playing field to an ad hominem, ad personam discussion of the off-putting characteristics of this or that group of people. That is...