HC Deb 24 April 1969 vol 782 c648
31. Dame Irene Ward

asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if he will give an assurance that in the provision of extra places for medical training women will have equal opportunities with men for entry and that merit shall be the only qualification, without sex discrimination.

Mrs. Shirley Williams

I would refer the hon. Lady to my Answer to my hon. Friend the Member for Wolverhampton, East (Mrs. Renée Short), on 17th April. I am sure that universities, which are responsible for their own decisions on the admission of students, will bear in mind the advice of the Royal Commission on Medical Education on this matter.—[Vol. 781, c. 1313.]

Dame Irene Ward

That Answer was a little difficult to follow having regard to the fact that when the conversation on the expansion of medical training took place last week, which was after 17th April, it was stated that the Question ought to be put to the Secretary of State for Education. I am presumably right in assuming that there will be no sex discrimination. I trust that this opportunity will be available for all medical entrants, covering the whole field and not just a new extension? Perhaps I could have an answer to the question, is that correct?

Mrs. Williams

The hon. Lady does not seem quite to appreciate that universities in this country are autonomous. We can only advise them, as we have done, to exercise no sex discrimination. We cannot dictate to them that they should exercise no sex discrimination.