HC Deb 29 January 1953 vol 510 cc1174-5
18. Mr. Shurmer

asked the Minister of Education if she will consult the Minister of Works with a view to providing a number of seats on the Coronation route for school children from the provinces.

Miss Horsbrugh

No, Sir. I cannot encourage organised parties of school children to come to London from a distance on Coronation day.

Mr. Shurmer

Is the Minister not aware that organisations of all kinds are being provided with seats on the Coronation route and that the children in our great towns and cities have a right to be represented? Will she not agree that the difficulty could be overcome quite easily by giving the parents of school children in London a chance of providing billets for these children? Why should London school children have all the opportunities and the children in the provinces have none at all?

Miss Horsbrugh

I quite understand, and I think that the hon. Member will understand, the difficulty and why it was that arrangements were made by London County Council only for children living within a radius of 15 miles of Charing Cross. I am speaking now, of course, of the local authorities. I would ask the hon. Member to consider the difficulty of bringing parties of children from a long distance and getting them into their places in time for the procession.

Mr. Bellenger

Is the right hon. Lady not aware that schools in this country arrange journeys overseas for a large number of school children on an exchange basis with foreign school children? Surely it ought to be possible for the London County Council schools to initiate something similar with the provincial schools.

Miss Horsbrugh

London County Council are doing a very big job and have to deal with 20,000 children who have to be in their places at a very early hour of the morning. It would be difficult to bring large numbers of children a great distance and get them into their places in time.

Mr. Baldwin

May I add my plea to those already made to my right hon. Friend to give some consideration to country children? Is she aware that in the case of which I have sent her particulars the argument which she used about the difficulty does not arise, because that school have their children within a reasonable distance of London and can get them into their seats without any trouble or inconvenience to the public?