HC Deb 11 February 2004 vol 417 cc1409-10
Q4. Mr. Graham Allen (Nottingham, North)(Lab)

If he will visit Nottingham, North to discuss social behaviour.

The Prime Minister

I have no current plans to do so, but I remember well my last visit to my hon. Friend's constituency.

Mr. Allen

Does the Prime Minister accept that the House and the Government have attacked antisocial behaviour very effectively? That is certainly the case in my constituency, but does he agree that there is another side to that coin—that as well as attacking antisocial behaviour we should promote social behaviour in our youngsters? Will he consider the possibility of including social behaviour as a core activity in the national curriculum, so that we can prepare youngsters to take best advantage of the schooling that is on offer? In that way, we could do for social behaviour what we have done so effectively for literacy and numeracy.

The Prime Minister

My hon. Friend raises an important point. Citizenship education became a statutory part of the national curriculum in September 2002. That framework gives us our best chance to teach young people about responsibility, but he is also right to draw attention to our measures on antisocial behaviour. One thing that we know is that the more we invest in young people at the earliest possible age, the better chance we have of making sure that they become responsible adults—hence the importance of programmes such as Sure Start. That is why it is important that, as well as acting to clamp down on antisocial behaviour, we should continue to invest in the education of our young people. That education, of which citizenship is a part, is the best way to ensure a more secure society in the future.

Peter Bottomley (Worthing, West) (Con)

Will the Prime Minister thank the Foreign Office for its continuing interest in the case of Krishna Maharaj in Florida, and could he suggest—

Mr. Speaker

Order. The question must be on social behaviour.

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