Apprenticeships and Skills Policy — [Sir David Amess in the Chair]

Part of the debate – in Westminster Hall at 2:57 pm on 8th January 2019.

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Photo of Steve Pound Steve Pound Shadow Minister (Northern Ireland) 2:57 pm, 8th January 2019

What better way could there be to start the new year than being in Westminster Hall under your benign guidance, Sir David? If there were a better way, it could only be being here to discuss matters of such moment, and I give enormous credit to my hon. Friend Judith Cummins for having raised this important subject. J. B. Priestley composed endless panegyrics to the proud city of Bradford—which he called Bruddersford so as not to confuse people—and there was a time when we thought of Bradford as being exemplified by J. B. Priestley. However, my hon. Friend has now adopted that crown, and she is the spokesperson for that city.

I was delighted to hear from John Howell. I was a little surprised by his comments about the more deprived areas of Henley—presumably, that is a place that is down to its last Jaguar. I had not previously thought about the teeming stews and slums of Henley, but I am here to be educated. I was also interested to hear about the careers advice that the hon. Gentleman received. I remember the careers teacher at my school encouraging me to leave at the earliest opportunity, saying that I could go into the Royal Navy at the age of 16. He did say, “By the way, they will take anybody.” One of my colleagues, I seem to remember, thought that he was being advised to become an author when the careers master said to him, “Have you ever thought about being a man of letters?” He ended up, of course, as a postman. [Interruption.] There is nothing wrong with that; there are some distinguished postmen.