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Lord Lucas: I am grateful to all noble Lords who have spoken on this amendment. I am particularly

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grateful to the noble Baroness, Lady Warnock, and the noble Lord, Lord Tope. I have so often found myself in disagreement with amendments that they have proposed, and have probably said so in no uncertain terms. So I am conscious of the honour they do me on this occasion. I am indebted finally to the immense wisdom of my noble friend Lady Young. What this matter should be about is not systems and which system benefits, but about the children and what is best for the individual children.

The noble Baroness mentioned a range of products and I welcome them. I am delighted that the Government are turning their faces in this direction. I can think of a number of projects involving relationships between Dauntsey's and its neighbouring school in West Lavington which had to be abandoned when the colour of that particular local education authority changed. I hope that the colleagues of the noble Lord, Lord Tope, in that part of the world will be listening to what the Government are proposing and perhaps reviving the sort of co-operation which used to exist. Whatever criticisms the Government may have of the assisted places scheme, within that scheme were a number of schools in the independent sector, particularly the Girls' Public Dayschool Trust and the likes of Manchester Grammar, which were committed to it heart and soul because it enabled them to fulfil their ambition, which was to educate the children of the poor--or at least the needy--rather than just the children of the rich, which is the prospect they now have to face returning to.

I give particular praise to the efforts that the Girls' Public Dayschool Trust is making to raise funds to enable it to continue to offer full fee scholarships to those who need them. It has done extremely well to date and I wish it every continued success. However, what the noble Lord, Lord Tope, said is also important. Local authorities are democratically elected bodies, and it seems to me they can quite reasonably be trusted to take these kinds of decisions themselves. If they start behaving unfairly and doing something which most of their electors will consider to be to the disadvantage of their children, they will not be long in office. The noble Lord, Lord Tope, if he found himself in an opposition party in such a council, would be very sanguine of his prospects at the next election. I do not think there is any danger of creating something which will be unpopular locally, and if it is popular locally and if it is what the people want I do not see why the Government should be afraid of it.

There is a lot to be said for looking at the needs of the individual child and recognising that in some circumstances the independent schools will have the particular facilities and the particular resources which can enable particular children to benefit in a way that they could not in state sector schools which are necessarily constrained as to resources and the variety of experience they can provide. Like my noble friend Lady Blatch, I am a user of the state sector and extremely happy to be so, but I can certainly appreciate that there are some children who would be better off if they could have the benefit of the

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facilities of an independent school. The noble Lord, Lord Walton of Detchant, pointed out that in medicine the National Health Service is free to go private when it wishes and where it is best for the patient. That is the principle which should apply to these cases. I know that the noble Baroness the Minister is coming from a position and a commitment which makes this difficult for her, but I think the Government are in error here. I do not see that they can offer me anything by way of concessions or conversations until Report stage, and so I would very much like to test the opinion of the Committee.

4.43 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 245) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 114; Not-Contents, 113.

Division No. 2


Addington, L.
Addison, V.
Ailsa, M.
Alport, L.
Astor of Hever, L.
Avebury, L.
Belhaven and Stenton, L.
Beloff, L.
Berners, B.
Blatch, B.
Blyth, L.
Bowness, L.
Brabazon of Tara, L.
Braine of Wheatley, L.
Broadbridge, L.
Brougham and Vaux, L.
Bruntisfield, L.
Byford, B.
Cadman, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Carlisle, E.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Clark of Kempston, L.
Courtown, E.
Cox, B.
Cross, V.
Dacre of Glanton, L.
Davidson, V.
Dean of Harptree, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Eccles of Moulton, B.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elibank, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Ezra, L.
Foley, L.
Gainford, L.
Geraint, L.
Grey, E.
Hampton, L.
Hamwee, B.
Harmar-Nicholls, L.
Hemphill, L.
Henley, L.
Hothfield, L.
Howe, E.
Jopling, L.
Kitchener, E.
Knight of Collingtree, B.
Lang of Monkton, L.
Lauderdale, E.
Lester of Herne Hill, L.
Lindsay, E.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Long, V.
Lucas, L.
Lucas of Chilworth, L.
Ludford, B.
Lyell, L.
Mackay of Ardbrecknish, L.
Mackay of Drumadoon, L.
McNair, L.
Marlesford, L.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Mersey, V.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Milverton, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moyne, L.
Nickson, L.
Norrie, L.
Northbourne, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Onslow of Woking, L.
Orr-Ewing, L.
Palmer, L.
Park of Monmouth, B.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Rankeillour, L.
Reay, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rees-Mogg, L.
Renfrew of Kaimsthorn, L.
Rennell, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Rotherwick, L.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Saltoun of Abernethy, Ly.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Sandford, L.
Savile, L.
Seccombe, B. [Teller.]
Sharples, B.
Skelmersdale, L.
Skidelsky, L.
Steel of Aikwood, L.
Stodart of Leaston, L.
Strathclyde, L. [Teller.]
Sudeley, L.
Teviot, L.
Teynham, L.
Thomas of Gwydir, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Tope, L.
Torrington, V.
Tugendhat, L.
Ullswater, V.
Warnock, B.
Wise, L.
Young, B.


Acton, L.
Allenby of Megiddo, V.
Annan, L.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Barnett, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Blackstone, B.
Blease, L.
Borrie, L.
Bruce of Donington, L.
Burlison, L.
Callaghan of Cardiff, L.
Carmichael of Kelvingrove, L.
Carter, L. [Teller.]
Castle of Blackburn, B.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cocks of Hartcliffe, L.
David, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Beswick, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Dearing, L.
Desai, L.
Diamond, L.
Dixon, L.
Donoughue, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Ewing of Kirkford, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Gallacher, L.
Gilbert, L.
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Grenfell, L.
Hanworth, V.
Hardie, L.
Hardy of Wath, L.
Haskel, L.
Hattersley, L.
Hayman, B.
Hilton of Eggardon, B.
Hogg of Cumbernauld, L.
Hollis of Heigham, B.
Holme of Cheltenham, L.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L. [Lord Chancellor.]
Islwyn, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Jenkins of Putney, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
Kennet, L.
Kilbracken, L.
Kirkhill, L.
Lockwood, B.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Longford, E.
Lovell-Davis, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L. [Teller.]
Mason of Barnsley, L.
Merlyn-Rees, L.
Milner of Leeds, L.
Molloy, L.
Monkswell, L.
Montague of Oxford, L.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Murray of Epping Forest, L.
Nicol, B.
Orme, L.
Oxford, Bp.
Parry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Ponsonby of Shulbrede, L.
Prys-Davies, L.
Puttnam, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Randall of St. Budeaux, L.
Rea, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Richard, L. [Lord Privy Seal.]
Ripon, Bp.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Scotland of Asthal, B.
Sefton of Garston, L.
Serota, B.
Sewel, L.
Shepherd, L.
Shore of Stepney, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Highbury, L.
Stallard, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strafford, E.
Taverne, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Macclesfield, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Walton of Detchant, L.
Whitty, L.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L.

Resolved in the affirmative, and amendment agreed to accordingly.

16 Jun 1998 : Column 1477

16 Jun 1998 : Column 1478

4.51 p.m.

The Deputy Chairman of Committees (Lord Brougham and Vaux): Amendment No. 246 should be agreed to as it is coupled with Amendment No. 245.

Baroness Blatch moved Amendment No. 246:

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