School Penalty Fines and Authorised Absence — [Mr David Hanson in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 4:57 pm on 11th July 2016.

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Photo of Peter Heaton-Jones Peter Heaton-Jones Conservative, North Devon 4:57 pm, 11th July 2016

It is a pleasure to serve under your chairmanship, Mr Hanson. I congratulate my hon. Friend Steve Double on securing this important debate. We are both south-west MPs, and this issue has particular resonance and significance in a region where tourism is an incredibly important part of the economy. I thank the Minister for being here and for meeting me to discuss a particular case. The meeting was useful, and I will mention more details of the case in a moment. I know he is listening, and I know he is open to some of our suggestions.

I am sure I speak for my hon. Friend the Member for St Austell and Newquay when I say that we seek to be helpful. We are not seeking to cause problems, to rebel for the sake of it or to make a nuisance. All south-west MPs and Members from all areas of the country are being contacted by many thousands of worried parents and headteachers about their real concerns with the current position, and it is incumbent on us to inform the Minister and the Government of those concerns. I do not seek to create difficulty; I merely seek to raise an issue that many of my constituents, and I am sure many constituents of right hon. and hon. Members on both sides of the House, have raised.