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Mike Wood: Given the shadow Secretary of State’s welcome commitment to improving schools as quickly as possible, can he tell us whether his recent agreement would bring about those improvements more quickly or more slowly?
Tristram Hunt Shadow Secretary of State for Education
I welcome the hon. Gentleman to the House. One of the issues before us today is the evidence for improvement, and looking at what works. It has long been the practice of the Labour party to focus on what works, and we need to focus with clear precision on whether the Bill will deliver the educational improvement that we all want to see.
We would like to have supported the Bill, but following the Conservative party’s rejection of cross-party talks on 14-to-19 education last week, we face, as my hon. Friend Ian Austin—the best part of Dudley—pointed out earlier, more partisan, dividing-line politics. Rather than taking politics out of our education system, the Secretary of State seeks to divide the House for the sake of ideology. Worse than that is the narrowness of her vision.