Education Bill to be guillotined

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Indy Politics
ANN TAYLOR, Labour's education spokeswoman, yesterday strongly criticised the Government's proposed guillotine on the Committee Stage of the Education Bill, which includes moves to make it easier for schools to opt out of council control. Only 10 of the Bill's 250 clauses have been dealt with.

She pointed out that debate on grant maintained schools, the most controversial part of the Bill, would be curtailed. Eric Forth, the schools minister, wished to save himself from further embarrassment, she claimed.

'Ministers are only too keen to interfere in the day-to-day running of our schools. What a pity they are not prepared to embark on a day-to-day defence of their policy,' Ms Taylor said.

The guillotine motion will be debated in the Commons next Tuesday. If carried, it will be the first major guillotine in this Parliament.

Next week's main parliamentary business includes:

MONDAY - Commons: Questions to Welsh ministers and Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster; Debate on the Christmas Adjournment; Consolidated Fund Bill, all stages, followed by all-night session of backbench debates. Lords: Debate on EC report on pension funds; Banking Co-ordination (Second Council Directive) Regulations; Education Support Grant Regulations; Transport and Works (Description of Works Interfering with Navigation) Order; Transport and Works (Guided Transport Modes) Order; Road Traffic Regulations Act (Amendment) Order; Debate on southern Africa.

TUESDAY - Commons: Education questions; Questions to the Prime Minister; Education Bill, timetable motion; Civil Service (Management Functions) Bill, remaining stages. Lords: British Coal and British Rail (Transfer Proposals) Bill, Report Stage; Copyright (Computer Programs) Regulations; Debate on Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh.

WEDNESDAY - Commons: Scottish questions; Prisoners and Criminal Proceedings (Scotland) Bill, remaining stages; Environmental Information Regulations. Lords: Debates on overseas aid, unemployment and housing and the Bank of England and price stability.

THURSDAY - Commons: Short backbench debates. Lords: Crown Proceedings (Armed Forces) Bill, Third Reading; Mink Keeping Order; Package Travel, Package Holidays and Package Tours Regulations; Aircraft and Shipbuilding Industries (Repeals) (Northern Ireland) Order; Firearms (Northern Ireland) Order (Amendment) Regulations; Environmental Information Regulations; Debate on report on Wymott and Lewes prisons.

The House of Commons rises for its Christmas break on 17 December and will return on Monday 11 January. Peers rise the same day, but do not return until 18 January.