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16 Oct 2002 : Column 378—continued

Mr. Andrew Turner : Why is the plan not available to primary schools that are in difficulties?

Mr. Miliband: We have many programmes for primary improvement. The leadership incentive grant is

16 Oct 2002 : Column 379

designed to tackle the problem that 50 per cent. of young people leave secondary schools without five good GCSEs. We are proud of achievements in primary schools and we want to go further. However, the priority is the secondary sector. We are therefore committed to improving the structures of secondary schooling, too. We have a special mission for every school and collaboration will also be open to every school. In 57 city academies and 2,000 specialist schools that will give a new start to a comprehensive—I stress the word—intake of young people in areas where the education system has failed.

The Labour party is leading the way in reforming the school work force. We are providing not simply the 10,000 more teachers that we promised in our manifesto or the 25 per cent. increase in teachers' pay since 1997 but also the extra support staff that will facilitate the contractual change to give teachers time to teach.

We are also committed to radical reform of partnerships outside the classroom, and responsibilities of parents for discipline exercised outside the courts, not inside them, where the Conservative party wants to drag us. At least, we believed that until today.We want head teachers in the lead, teachers focused on teaching and schools modernised to support high quality learning.

We have heard much today about A-levels. Three weeks ago, the Opposition called for resignations because the problem was so great. Yesterday, they called for resignations because they were disappointed that it was so small. What are the facts? There is overwhelming support in the education world for broader A-levels. The Government delayed the plans for that which we inherited in 1997. There have been serious failings by the QCA in setting subject-specific grade criteria. There was a perception of pressure by exam board chiefs, not from the Government but from the QCA, to match this year's results with last year's.

Chris Grayling: The Minister claims that the problem is small. Will he apologise for that comment to the more than 1,000 pupils who lost places at the university that they should have attended?

Mr. Miliband: I did not say that the problem was small. I said that Conservative Members spent yesterday claiming that it was small. Mike Tomlinson and Bill Stubbs have made no accusations of political interference. Labour Members are happy to acknowledge rising standards; we shall not spend time attacking the young people who do better. It is time to end the English curse, invoked every year, that somehow more means worse. It does not.

As long as one third of school classes are not yet good, the Labour party will not rest.

Alistair Burt: Before you leave the A-level examination fiasco, can you answer the question—

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. I am not answering any questions.

Alistair Burt: Before the Minister leaves the A-level fiasco, will he answer the questions that were posed by

16 Oct 2002 : Column 380

the hon. Member for Harrogate and Knaresborough (Mr. Willis), my hon. Friend the Member for Ashford (Mr. Green) and me? If the Department knew everything about the incorrect structure and definition of the examination, why did not the Government take action? That contributed markedly to the failures of the summer. Why did the Minister do nothing?

Mr. Miliband: The answer is simple: we did not know that the A-levels were going wrong. If we had known, we would have corrected the error. [Interruption.] We did not know. The Government are responsible for the structure of the exam system, not the daily assessment procedures. It would be wrong to get involved in them.

Several hon. Members rose—

Mr. Miliband: I am very tempted to give way, but I am determined not to do that—[Interruption.]

Mr. Deputy Speaker: Order. The House must come to order.

Mr. Miliband: The Labour party will not rest as long as one third of school classes are not good, secondary schools wait for the best classrooms, and working class children are half as likely to get five good GCSEs as upper class children.

As long as the Conservative party preaches concern and contrition but practises hypocrisy and humbug, we shall not rest. Last week, the Leader of the Opposition said that Conservatives had to stop living in the past. Today, he must be in despair. They say that travel broadens the mind; it does not for the Conservative party. It has done a U-turn on the AS-levels that it invented; last week, it did a U-turn on appeals panels, which it also invented. At 3 pm today, abolishing appeals panels remained Conservative party policy.

Mr. Brady: Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Miliband: No, I am winding up. At 4 pm, the hon. Member for Ashford said at the Dispatch Box not that he would abolish appeals panels but that he would reinstate LEA panels to second-guess them. Yet the Conservative party wants to abolish LEAs. It is not fit for Opposition.

Three years ago, the hon. Member for Maidenhead (Mrs. May), as shadow Education Secretary, promised to match Labour spending pound for pound. The hon. Member for Ashford did not say that. He talked to the quiet man from Chingford. The compassionate Conservative stated candidly in a pamphlet two years ago that

The quiet man listened, but a nasty man from Folkestone was also present. The hon. Member for Ashford went in saying that spending had attractions in principle—that was the extent of his compassion. He came out saying that cuts were the only option. That is the reality of Conservative policy.

Last week, the difference between us became clearer. The Government are steadily advancing to spending #5,000 a year per pupil in the state sector. The

16 Oct 2002 : Column 381

Conservative party opposes that. However, last week, the hon. Member for Ashford revealed that he was willing to spend #5,000 per pupil on those who go into the private sector. Private good, public bad—they are the same old Tories. Every Conservative Member will be asked from now until polling day why #5,000 is not good enough for state sector education if it is good enough for private education. Parents will ask every Tory Member of Parliament and candidate, XWhy will you spend #5,000 on a few children when you won't spend it on mine?" The hon. Member for Ashford cannot answer that question, which will haunt him.

One can talk about concern or act on it. One has got to walk the walk as well as talk the talk. We are walking into the Lobby to vote against the motion because that is right for the nation's children. I urge all hon. Members to follow us.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:—

The House divided: Ayes 191, Noes 293.

Division No. 321
[7:29 pm


Ainsworth, Peter (E Surrey)
Allan, Richard
Amess, David
Ancram, rh Michael
Atkinson, Peter (Hexham)
Atkinson, David (Bour'mth E)
Bacon, Richard
Barker, Gregory
Baron, John (Billericay)
Beggs, Roy (E Antrim)
Bellingham, Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Blunt, Crispin
Boswell, Tim
Bottomley, Peter (Worthing W)
Bottomley, rh Virginia (SW Surrey)
Brady, Graham
Brake, Tom (Carshalton)
Brazier, Julian
Breed, Colin
Brooke, Mrs Annette L.
Browning, Mrs Angela
Bruce, Malcolm
Burnett, John
Burns, Simon
Burnside, David
Burt, Alistair
Butterfill, John
Cable, Dr. Vincent
Calton, Mrs Patsy
Cameron, David
Campbell, rh Menzies (NE Fife)
Cash, William
Chapman, Sir Sydney (Chipping Barnet)
Chope, Christopher
Clappison, James
Clifton-Brown, Geoffrey
Collins, Tim
Conway, Derek
Cormack, Sir Patrick
Cotter, Brian
Curry, rh David
Davey, Edward (Kingston)
Davies, Quentin (Grantham & Stamford)
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice & Howden)
Djanogly, Jonathan
Dodds, Nigel
Donaldson, Jeffrey M.
Dorrell, rh Stephen
Doughty, Sue
Duncan, Alan (Rutland)
Duncan, Peter (Galloway)
Duncan Smith, rh Iain
Evans, Nigel
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Michael
Field, Mark (Cities of London & Westminster)
Forth, rh Eric
Foster, Don (Bath)
Fox, Dr. Liam
Francois, Mark
Garnier, Edward
George, Andrew (St. Ives)
Gibb, Nick (Bognor Regis)
Gidley, Sandra
Gillan, Mrs Cheryl
Goodman, Paul
Gray, James (N Wilts)
Grayling, Chris
Green, Matthew (Ludlow)
Green, Damian (Ashford)
Greenway, John
Grieve, Dominic
Gummer, rh John
Hague, rh William
Hammond, Philip
Hancock, Mike
Harris, Dr. Evan (Oxford W & Abingdon)
Harvey, Nick
Hawkins, Nick
Hayes, John (S Holland)
Heald, Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh David
Hendry, Charles
Hermon, Lady
Hoban, Mark (Fareham)
Horam, John (Orpington)
Howarth, Gerald (Aldershot)
Hughes, Simon (Southwark N)
Jack, rh Michael
Jackson, Robert (Wantage)
Jenkin, Bernard
Johnson, Boris (Henley)
Jones, Nigel (Cheltenham)
Keetch, Paul
Kennedy, rh Charles (Ross Skye & Inverness W)
Key, Robert (Salisbury)
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Kirkwood, Archy
Knight, rh Greg (E Yorkshire)
Laing, Mrs Eleanor
Lait, Mrs Jacqui
Lamb, Norman
Lansley, Andrew
Laws, David (Yeovil)
Leigh, Edward
Letwin, rh Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian (New Forest E)
Liddell-Grainger, Ian
Lidington, David
Lilley, rh Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter (M-Worcs)
MacKay, rh Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Malins, Humfrey
Marsden, Paul (Shrewsbury & Atcham)
Maude, rh Francis
May, Mrs Theresa
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Mitchell, Andrew (Sutton Coldfield)
Moore, Michael
Moss, Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Norman, Archie
O'Brien, Stephen (Eddisbury)
Oaten, Mark (Winchester)
Osborne, George (Tatton)
Ottaway, Richard
Page, Richard
Paisley, Rev. Ian
Paterson, Owen
Pickles, Eric
Portillo, rh Michael
Prisk, Mark (Hertford)
Pugh, Dr. John
Randall, John
Redwood, rh John
Reid, Alan (Argyll & Bute)
Rendel, David
Robathan, Andrew
Robertson, Hugh (Faversham & M-Kent)
Robinson, Iris (Strangford)
Robinson, Peter (Belfast E)
Roe, Mrs Marion
Rosindell, Andrew
Ruffley, David
Russell, Bob (Colchester)
Sanders, Adrian
Selous, Andrew
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, Keith (M-Norfolk)
Smith, Sir Robert (W Ab'd'ns Kincardine)
Smyth, Rev. Martin (Belfast S)
Soames, Nicholas
Spelman, Mrs Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob (Castle Point)
Spring, Richard
Steen, Anthony
Streeter, Gary
Stunell, Andrew
Swayne, Desmond
Swire, Hugo (E Devon)
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, John (Solihull)
Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Taylor, Sir Teddy
Thurso, John
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Andrew (Isle of Wight)
Tyler, Paul (N Cornwall)
Tyrie, Andrew
Viggers, Peter
Waterson, Nigel
Webb, Steve (Northavon)
Whittingdale, John
Widdecombe, rh Ann
Wiggin, Bill
Wilkinson, John
Willetts, David
Williams, Roger (Brecon)
Willis, Phil
Winterton, Ann (Congleton)
Winterton, Sir Nicholas (Macclesfield)
Yeo, Tim (S Suffolk)
Young, rh Sir George
Younger-Ross, Richard

Tellers for the Ayes:

Angela Watkinson and
Mr. David Wilshire


Abbott, Ms Diane
Adams, Irene (Paisley N)
Ainger, Nick
Alexander, Douglas
Allen, Graham
Anderson, Janet (Rossendale & Darwen)
Armstrong, rh Ms Hilary
Atherton, Ms Candy
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, John
Bailey, Adrian
Barnes, Harry
Beard, Nigel
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Stuart
Bennett, Andrew
Benton, Joe (Bootle)
Berry, Roger
Betts, Clive
Blackman, Liz
Blears, Ms Hazel
Blunkett, rh David
Boateng, rh Paul
Bradley, rh Keith (Withington)
Bradshaw, Ben
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, Russell (Dumfries)
Browne, Desmond
Bryant, Chris
Buck, Ms Karen
Burgon, Colin
Burnham, Andy
Cairns, David
Campbell, Ronnie (Blyth V)
Campbell, Mrs Anne (C'bridge)
Campbell, Alan (Tynemouth)
Caplin, Ivor
Casale, Roger
Caton, Martin
Cawsey, Ian (Brigg)
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben (Wirral S)
Clapham, Michael
Clark, Dr. Lynda (Edinburgh Pentlands)
Clark, Mrs Helen (Peterborough)
Clarke, rh Charles (Norwich S)
Clelland, David
Coaker, Vernon
Coffey, Ms Ann
Coleman, Iain
Connarty, Michael
Cook, rh Robin (Livingston)
Cox, Tom (Tooting)
Cranston, Ross
Crausby, David
Cruddas, Jon
Cryer, John (Hornchurch)
Cummings, John
Cunningham, rh Dr. Jack (Copeland)
Cunningham, Jim (Cov'try S)
Cunningham, Tony (Workington)
Curtis-Thomas, Claire
Dalyell, Tam
Davidson, Ian
Davies, rh Denzil (Llanelli)
Davies, Geraint (Croydon C)
Dawson, Hilton
Dean, Mrs Janet
Denham, rh John
Dhanda, Parmjit
Doran, Frank
Dowd, Jim (Lewisham W)
Drew, David (Stroud)
Dunwoody, Gwyneth
Eagle, Angela (Wallasey)
Eagle, Maria (L'pool Garston)
Edwards, Huw
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs Louise
Etherington, Bill
Field, rh Frank (Birkenhead)
Fisher, Mark
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flint, Caroline
Flynn, Paul (Newport W)
Follett, Barbara
Foster, rh Derek
Foster, Michael (Worcester)
Foulkes, rh George
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike (Ilford S)
George, rh Bruce (Walsall S)
Gerrard, Neil
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Gilroy, Linda
Godsiff, Roger
Goggins, Paul
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Grogan, John
Hain, rh Peter
Hall, Mike (Weaver Vale)
Hanson, David
Harman, rh Ms Harriet
Harris, Tom (Glasgow Cathcart)
Havard, Dai (Merthyr Tydfil & Rhymney)
Healey, John
Henderson, Ivan (Harwich)
Henderson, Doug (Newcastle N)
Hendrick, Mark
Hepburn, Stephen
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, Keith (Streatham)
Hodge, Margaret
Hoon, rh Geoffrey
Hope, Phil (Corby)
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, George (Knowsley N & Sefton E)
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Lindsay
Hughes, Kevin (Doncaster N)
Hughes, Beverley (Stretford & Urmston)
Humble, Mrs Joan
Hurst, Alan (Braintree)
Hutton, rh John
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Ingram, rh Adam
Irranca-Davies, Huw
Jackson, Helen (Hillsborough)
Jamieson, David
Jenkins, Brian
Johnson, Miss Melanie (Welwyn Hatfield)
Jones, Lynne (Selly Oak)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S)
Jones, Jon Owen (Cardiff C)
Jones, Kevan (N Durham)
Joyce, Eric (Falkirk W)
Keen, Ann (Brentford)
Kemp, Fraser
Kidney, David
King, Andy (Rugby)
Knight, Jim (S Dorset)
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Lammy, David
Laxton, Bob (Derby N)
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Leslie, Christopher
Lewis, Ivan (Bury S)
Lewis, Terry (Worsley)
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony (Manchester C)
Llwyd, Elfyn
Love, Andrew
Lucas, Ian (Wrexham)
Luke, Iain (Dundee E)
MacDonald, Calum
MacDougall, John
MacShane, Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Khalid
Mahon, Mrs Alice
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John (Bassetlaw)
Marris, Rob (Wolverh'ton SW)
Marsden, Gordon (Blackpool S)
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Marshall-Andrews, Robert
Martlew, Eric
McAvoy, Thomas
McCartney, rh Ian
McDonagh, Siobhain
McDonnell, John
McFall, John
McGuire, Mrs Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, Tony
McWalter, Tony
McWilliam, John
Meacher, rh Michael
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, David
Miller, Andrew
Mitchell, Austin (Gt Grimsby)
Mole, Chris
Moonie, Dr. Lewis
Morgan, Julie
Morley, Elliot
Morris, rh Estelle
Mountford, Kali
Mudie, George
Mullin, Chris
Murphy, Jim (Eastwood)
Murphy, Denis (Wansbeck)
Murphy, rh Paul (Torfaen)
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan (Wansdyke)
O'Brien, Bill (Normanton)
O'Hara, Edward
O'Neill, Martin
Osborne, Sandra (Ayr)
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Perham, Linda
Pickthall, Colin
Plaskitt, James
Pond, Chris (Gravesham)
Pound, Stephen
Prentice, Ms Bridget (Lewisham E)
Prescott, rh John
Price, Adam (E Carmarthen & Dinefwr)
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Ken
Purnell, James
Quinn, Lawrie
Rammell, Bill
Rapson, Syd (Portsmouth N)
Raynsford, rh Nick
Reed, Andy (Loughborough)
Robertson, John (Glasgow Anniesland)
Robinson, Geoffrey (Cov'try NW)
Roche, Mrs Barbara
Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Roy, Frank (Motherwell)
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Ms Christine (City of Chester)
Salter, Martin
Sarwar, Mohammad
Savidge, Malcolm
Sawford, Phil
Sedgemore, Brian
Sheridan, Jim
Shipley, Ms Debra
Simon, Sion (B'ham Erdington)
Simpson, Alan (Nottingham S)
Singh, Marsha
Skinner, Dennis
Smith, Llew (Blaenau Gwent)
Smith, Geraldine (Morecambe Lunesdale)
Smith, rh Chris (Islington S & Finsbury)
Smith, rh Andrew (Oxford E)
Soley, Clive
Southworth, Helen
Squire, Rachel
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Steinberg, Gerry
Stewart, Ian (Eccles)
Stewart, David (Inverness E Lochaber)
Stinchcombe, Paul
Stoate, Dr. Howard
Straw, rh Jack
Stringer, Graham
Sutcliffe, Gerry
Tami, Mark (Alyn)
Taylor, David (NW Leics)
Taylor, Dari (Stockton S)
Thomas, Simon (Ceredigion)
Thomas, Gareth (Clwyd W)
Timms, Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mark (S Derbyshire)
Touhig, Don (Islwyn)
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond (Brighton Kemptown)
Turner, Neil (Wigan)
Turner, Dennis (Wolverh'ton SE)
Twigg, Stephen (Enfield)
Twigg, Derek (Halton)
Tynan, Bill (Hamilton S)
Vaz, Keith (Leicester E)
Vis, Dr. Rudi
Walley, Ms Joan
Wareing, Robert N.
Watson, Tom (W Bromwich E)
Watts, David
White, Brian
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Williams, Betty (Conwy)
Williams, Hywel (Caernarfon)
Williams, rh Alan (Swansea W)
Wills, Michael
Winnick, David
Winterton, Ms Rosie (Doncaster C)
Wood, Mike (Batley)
Woolas, Phil
Wright, Anthony D. (Gt Yarmouth)
Wright, Tony (Cannock)
Wright, David (Telford)
Wyatt, Derek

Tellers for the Noes:

Mr. John Heppell and
Joan Ryan

Question accordingly negatived.

16 Oct 2002 : Column 384

Question, That the proposed words be there added, put forthwith, pursuant to Standing Order No. 31 (Questions on amendments), and agreed to.

Mr. Deputy Speaker forthwith declared the main Question, as amended, to be agreed to.


16 Oct 2002 : Column 385

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