HC Deb 03 February 1994 vol 236 cc1024-5
Q4. Mr. Dunn

To ask the Prime Minister if he has any plans to visit Ash-cum-Ridley.

The Prime Minister

I have no immediate plans to do so but I will keep it in mind for the future.

Mr. Dunn

Will my right hon. Friend confirm that the range and variety of schools available to parents in my constituency and across Kent exist solely and wholly because of the Government's policies and that choice and variety in education would be eliminated if the nightmare policies of the Labour party were endured?

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend is entirely right about that. His county of Kent has self-governing schools, selective schools, maintained schools, comprehensive schools and schools that specialise in technology. That is the sort of choice that we believe it is right to offer to parents and will continue to seek to offer to parents. Most of that would be swept away by a Labour Government. They would abolish self-governing schools, abolish city technology colleges, abolish performance tables and abolish the right of parents to know precisely what is happening in the schools that their children go to. As ever, the Labour party would put dogma before common sense.

Mr. Barnes

Could I persuade the Prime Minister to go to Ash-cum-Ridley, wherever that might be, instead of to Renishaw, Holmewood, Clay Cross and areas in my constituency that have high unemployment and have been devastated by the Government's policies, because we think that the Government are a waste of time? There are other places that the Prime Minister should go—he could take a break and go to Ash-cum-Ridley.

The Prime Minister

If my hon. Friend the Member for Dartford (Mr. Dunn) cannot persuade me to go to Ash-cum-Ridley, I do not think that the hon. Gentleman will have much luck. As for employment, I share with the hon. Gentleman the wish to increase employment and reduce unemployment in this country. He will have noticed that it has been falling steadily for the past year in this country, unlike any other country in western Europe, and I expect it to continue to fall throughout this year.

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