Andrew Mitchell: I thank my right hon. and learned Friend for giving those figures, which bear eloquent testimony to the success of the Government's economic policies. Do not they also underline the importance of the Government's many training initiatives and, in particular, the critical need to encourage more part-timers, especially women, back into the labour force?
Andrew Mitchell: The hon. Gentleman is recanting.
Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Secretary of State for Education and Science what assessment he has made of the trend in the number of applications for full-time undergraduate courses at universities and polytechnics since the Government announced their plans for introducing a student top-up loan scheme.
Andrew Mitchell: In view of the widespread welcome that the Government's plans for expanding the higher sector of education have received and the fact that they must also be paid for, is it not perfectly fair, right and proper that students themselves should make some modest contribution to the expense of implementing those plans?
Andrew Mitchell: Is my right hon. Friend aware that, according to Radio Nottingham, the hon. Member for Ashfield (Mr. Haynes) has been offered a part in a film by none other than David Puttnam? Can he confirm that, following the hon. Gentleman's departure from the House after the next general election—which all Conservative Members regret—the National Film and Television School will be able to provide a...
Andrew Mitchell: To ask the Prime Minister if she will list her official engagements for Thursday 8 March.
Andrew Mitchell: Will my right hon. Friend utterly condemn the disgraceful and dangerous scenes that we have witnessed in various council chambers across the country, orchestrated by various Left-wing groups and encouraged by those Labour Members who decline to obey the law by threatening to withhold payment of their community charge? Will my right hon. Friend also——
Andrew Mitchell: On a point of order, Madam Deputy Speaker. On behalf of myself and my hon. Friends, I resent the hon. Gentleman's comment.
Andrew Mitchell: I am grateful to you, Madam Deputy Speaker, for calling me relatively early in the debate. I apologise to Members on both Front Benches for the fact that I may have to leave for my constituency before my hon. Friend the Minister has completed his speech. I congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Luton, South (Mr. Bright) on doing so well in the ballot and on using his opportunity with...
Andrew Mitchell: My hon. Friend used to teach geography!
Andrew Mitchell: Absolutely right.
Andrew Mitchell: It seems that my amendment No. 158 is not likely to be reached this evening. My right hon. and learned Friend knows the great importance attached to extending and clarifying the role of the Audit Commission. Is my understanding correct that, in its place on the amendment paper this amendment will now receive Government support?
Andrew Mitchell: Will my right hon. and learned Friend find time for a debate on the valuable work undertaken by the Audit Commission? Many hon. Members have campaigned, and welcome the decision by the Government, to deploy the Audit Commission in the National Health Service, as outlined in the National Health Service and Community Care Bill. Many of us are also extremely impressed by some of the important...
Andrew Mitchell: Is not the resolution of the problem of the Vietnamese boat people closely linked to the need to bring Vietnam back into the community of nations? Will my right hon. Friend make that point when she next visits her opposite number in Washington?
Andrew Mitchell: During my right hon. Friend the Minister's extremely successful visit to eastern Europe, did he detect any enthusisam to revert to the old-fashioned and failed economic policies of socialism and communism, or did he find an enthusiasm to embrace many of the economic policies that our Government were the first to introduce in this country over the past 10 years?
Andrew Mitchell: Further to the intervention by my hon. Friend for Hendon, South (Mr. Marshall) has my hon. Friend noticed that clause 1 does not apply to Scotland, but that clause 2 does? Does she not find that an extraordinary anomaly? In tune with what my hon. Friend said about Northern Ireland, should that not be addressed at this stage so that we can do something about it?
Andrew Mitchell: Let me add to the point made by my hon. Friend the Member for Hendon, South. My experience in Scotland is entirely the opposite of what my hon. Friend suggests. Every summer I spend the short amount of time that I allow myself to spend away from my constituency in the north-east of Scotland. Staying near Tain on Easter Ross, I found it extremely difficult to find a drink at all. One has to...
Andrew Mitchell: I want to go back to the point about territoriality and the question whether the Bill applies outside our shores. My hon. Friend the Member for Eastbourne (Mr. Gow) is on to an extremely good point here. As I hope to demonstrate in my speech, if I catch your eye later, Mr. Deputy Speaker, there is considerable confusion about the way in which EC directives apply on low alcohol here and in...
Andrew Mitchell: Gedling.
Andrew Mitchell: I stand rebuked for using the wrong terminology earlier. Let me offer my hon. Friend this deal: if he will forgive me for describing Northern Ireland inaccurately, I shall forgive him for inaccurately describing my constituency.