Equal Opportunities in Britain — 7 Jun 2000

Oliver Letwin MP, West Dorset did not vote.

I beg to move,

That this House believes that the Chancellor of the Exchequer was being simplistic and divisive in attacking the admissions procedure of Oxford University on the basis of a single, individual case; regrets the lack of action by the Government to promote freedom and opportunity for all the people of the United Kingdom; and calls on the Government to match its rhetoric with action, by removing government obstacles to the less well-off entering university, significantly increasing investment in education, taking those on low incomes out of income tax, tackling pensioner poverty, improving the quality of healthcare for all, and ensuring access to basic services in both rural and urban communities.

My opposition and "outrage" stems from the fact that the proposals as leaked in the recent Russell Group report . . . would mean that I couldn't afford to go to Oxford university. I came from a state comprehensive and was the first person from my school EVER to get a place at Oxbridge. My Dad is a fireman and my Mum works with disabled kids. They are typical middle class people, not affluent, but not too hard up. If they are expected to pay £5,000 per year for my university education, simply because I'm clever enough to get a place at Oxford, they cannot afford to do so.

share in the increasing prosperity of the nation.

I beg to move, To leave out from "House" to the end of the Question, and to add instead thereof:

'believes that true opportunity for all requires that access to higher education should be based on merit not background; welcomes the measures the Government has implemented to widen access as part of the record increase in education spending of 8 per cent. in real terms in this year alone; and welcomes the many initiatives taken to help those in society whose needs are greatest, including an extra £950 a year for older pensioners on low incomes and a record increase in NHS spending of an extra £2 billion this year, plus 6.1 per cent. average growth year on year until 2004.'.

Liberty without equality is a name of noble sound and squalid result.

Reconstruction has many sides, international and domestic. On the domestic side, one can define its aims best by naming five giant evils to be destroyed: want, disease, ignorance, squalor and idleness.

Simply saying that we can dip into a bottomless pit of resources is not acceptable.

Anything that discourages open access to all universities and their departments in this country is, in my view, wrong. Those who argue for substantial differentiation in fees have to answer where the resources would come from to pay for those on low incomes to enter university departments, given that the top-up fee that they were levying would have to pay for that and for any improvement in quality.--[ Official Report , 23 March 2000; Vol. 346, c. 1106.]

access to higher education should be based on merit not background . . .

We cannot compromise on education, if we are to remain a world class university.

I'm simply very keen that having debated for a week we are able to broaden the agenda which is, unless you raise standards and expectations, then the issue of access becomes more difficult.

Despite everything that has been said, Gordon did not tell Tony that he was going to make an issue of Laura Spence. The whole thing spun out of control. Tony feels it looks as though we are going back to the bad old days when Labour was in the trenches fighting the class war. We've left that sort of thing behind us but Gordon doesn't seem to have got the message and Tony has reminded him of it.

Labour has no plans to introduce tuition fees in higher education.

We are quite clear that tuition costs must be picked up by the state.

to their continuance or to their ethos, or to their quality.

A Labour Government will not close your grammar schools. That is my personal guarantee.

legislate to remove--

grammar schools.--[ Official Report , 20 October 1999; Vol. 336, c. 376.]

Liberal Democrats nationally are opposed in principle to selection for secondary education.

I fully intend to support the Government on the principle of the escalator.--[ Official Report , 6 July 1999; Vol. 334, c. 844.]

smack in the teeth for every teacher and parent.

Britain in which no one is excluded from opportunity and the chance to develop their potential.

our national purpose to tackle social division and inequality.

Education cannot compensate for society.

In hospital, you have to be able to feed yourself as the nurses don't do it. If you are frail, you've had it.

Abolishing university tuition fees up to and including undergraduate level and introducing "hardship benefit" payments in order to increase access.

I think we in government--and that means me--have to trust people more.

We don't have to fight over every headline.

I will take you to my own personal circumstances. I went to a local state primary school, a local comprehensive secondary school, the University of Glasgow and then on a Fulbright scholarship in the United States. I did all that on the basis of competing on a fair and equal basis with other candidates.

on a fair and equal basis with other candidates.

Question put, That the original words stand part of the Question:--

The House divided: Ayes 41, Noes 249.

Historical Hansard | Online Hansard |

Party Summary

Votes by party, red entries are votes against the majority for that party.

What is Tell? '+1 tell' means that in addition one member of that party was a teller for that division lobby.

What are Boths? An MP can vote both aye and no in the same division. The boths page explains this.

What is Turnout? This is measured against the total membership of the party at the time of the vote.

PartyMajority (No)Minority (Aye)BothTurnout
Con0 000.0%
Independent0 1033.3%
Lab249 (+2 tell) 0060.5%
LDem0 38 (+2 tell)085.1%
PC0 1025.0%
SNP0 1016.7%
Total:249 41046.3%

Rebel Voters - sorted by party

MPs for which their vote in this division differed from the majority vote of their party. You can see all votes in this division, or every eligible MP who could have voted in this division

Sort by: Name | Constituency | Party | Vote

NameConstituencyPartyVote
no rebellions

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