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David Davies: Welsh students betrayed by Labour secrecy

Speech to the National Assembly for Wales

"The whole purpose of having an education committee is to ensure that items of legislation that relate to education can be properly scrutinised.

Clearly, that has not happened in this case. If we allow the Minister to get away with using these procedures on this occasion, we will be setting a dangerous precedent that will allow her, and any other Minister who feels like it, to push through anything they want without the by-your-leave of the committees that have been set up to scrutinise their actions.

We already know that the Labour Party has a profound dislike of that scrutiny process and we have seen the way in which it has reduced the number of occasions on which committees can meet, to make it harder for us to find out what it is doing. Now it is trying to circumnavigate us altogether and that is unacceptable.

This piece of legislation could, and should, have been properly scrutinised in committee—we have known about it since April.

The Minister managed to find time to visit New Zealand since then, and yet she has not brought this to committee.

We are sick and tired of having a Minister who can go the extra 20,000 miles—we want a Minister who will go the extra mile for us and on behalf of students.

I would be happy to tell students how sorry I am that this Government is preventing us from discussing legislation that could allow us to help them.

One of the reasons why we wanted to discuss this was because mistakes were made in the initial legislation, which, fortunately, have been picked up.

We do not know how many more mistakes have been made because we are not being allowed to scrutinise it. That is a great shame. It is not for us to apologise to the children—it is for the Minister to do so.

Finally, the reason why we are talking about process today is because that is what this debate is all about.

We are trying to stick to the remit of the debate. We want process, but we also want scrutiny. We want to see things done properly in the Assembly. That is not happening at present, and it is the Minister and your colleagues in the Labour Party who are responsible for that."

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