Well, yesterday it took a while to get to the part of Common’s business most relevant to the purpose of this blog. The CSF Bill went through both its Report Stage and Third Reading as the main business of the day. We were hopeful of some debate about HE in the Report Stage, Amendment 63 to delete Clause 26 had obtained around 25 signatures, but the hot topic of the day was sex education in faith schools. No time was found and so it was left to comments during the Third Reading.
Below are the videos of what was said. The Third Reading starts in Hansard on this page.
Vernon Coaker wasn’t going to mention HE, but
Lembit Öpik interviened:
“On home education, which the Minister has not mentioned and which was not debated on Report because of lack of time, will we in Wales be able to determine our viewpoint independently of what is decided here, and does England have any recourse to revisit that as well?”
From the video you will see that Coaker was not quite as certain about his response as Hansard credits him with being:
“When, or if, the Bill is passed shortly, that will be the case.”
In his rush to get away from the topic he seemingly forgotten about the Bill going to the House of Lords.
Nick Gibb and David Laws did their by now usual job of pointing out the Government’s failures in respect to HE.
But then came the briefest but most impressive of comments. Whilst David Drew was honest enough to say that he did not agree with every home educating parent amongst his constituents, he was also bold enough not just to criticise his party’s plans in this respect, but to vote against the whole Bill because of Clause 26! If only other Labour MPs were that committed!
I shall be very brief as I hope, Mr. Speaker, that you will call the hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness (Mr. Stuart). I just want to put on record my dismay at the introduction of what I see as a steamroller to crack the nut of home education.
I may have disagreements with some of the home educators in my constituency, but I would like to feel that they have had the opportunity to put across their points of view, not just in petitions organised by the hon. Member for Beverley and Holderness but in a proper debate in this place. We have not had the opportunity to have that debate. That is why I voted against the Bill on Second Reading, and why I will vote against it on Third Reading.