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Lord Whitty: Would the--

Baroness Blatch: I will not give way at this moment. Maybe the noble Lord will come back if the noble Lord, Lord McIntosh, will allow it under the rules.

The school has been singled out by very senior members of his own party as being a school of outstanding excellence. I agree with that.

If all schools were like the Oratory, we would not have any problems in this country. Some of the important freedoms the Oratory has today will be lost under the Bill, some of which we have mentioned tonight and one or two that the Government have already voted against. It is not paranoia; it is a passion for allowing schools like that to remain good, to remain in the system and to enjoy the flexibility and the autonomy that they have had under the Conservative government, which we understand Mr. Byers and Mr. Blair agreed with. We are simply asking the Government to amend the Bill in a way that would allow that to happen. I beg leave to withdraw the amendment.

Amendment, by leave, withdrawn.

Baroness Blackstone moved Amendments Nos. 235 and 236:

Page 275, line 4, at end insert--

("Orders for purposes of section 20(4A)

. The Secretary of State may only make an order under section 20(4A) where he considers it appropriate to do so on an application made for the purpose by--
(a) the former maintaining authority (within the meaning of that provision), or
(b) the local education authority in whose area the school in question will be situated immediately before the appointed day,
and received by him not later than 30th November 1998.").
Page 275, line 26, leave out from ("Act") to end of line 27.

On Question, amendments agreed to.

        House adjourned at three minutes before eleven o'clock

7 Jul 1998 : Column 1223

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