John Redwood quizes the Prime Minister on the terror threat to Britain

<p><strong>Yesterday during Prime Minister’s Questions, John Redwood raised the crucial question of why there is such a big terrorist threat in the UK. We need to understand it in order to combat it. The government needs to tackle both the terrorists who are wrongly allowed to enter our country owing to insufficient controls at our borders, and the disaffection of some young people legally settled in the UK:<br />
</strong><br />
Mr. John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): </strong>Why are there so many potential terrorists in Britain today?</p>
<p><strong>The Prime Minister:</strong> We know from the statement made by the head of MI5 that we are dealing with a small but important group of young terrorists who are operating in cells, and we know that there are distinct links in our country with the Asian sub-continent; that is one of the reasons why the numbers in Britain are so high. However, we also know that the measures that we announced last week, not only to win the battle of hearts and minds but to isolate extremists, are the right way forward. The right hon. Gentleman should agree with me that we are making substantial advances in persuading young people that this is not the right way forward and in isolating these terrorist extremists in our country, and we will continue to fight the battle against terrorism.</p>
<p>In the subsequent debate on how to improve our schools, John Redwood advocated giving more freedoms to schools to make decisions for themselves, and more powers to parents to choose the right school for their children:</p>
<p><strong>Mr. Redwood: </strong>Does my hon. Friend agree that the people involved in a school are much more important even than its buildings, and that some of the best schools have old or tatty buildings? Is not the failure of this Government’s strategy that they have no way of changing the leadership in underperforming schools and they have allowed too many such schools to exist for too long?</p>
<p><strong>Michael Gove:</strong> My right hon. Friend makes an important point: among the most important qualities in schools are leadership, motivation and personnel. One of the great virtues of academies is that their leaders? such as Sir Michael Wilshaw at Mossbourne? have the freedom to pay more than the national minimum and to reward good staff with bonuses. They also have the opportunity to recruit and retain the best, and, if necessary, to deal with any weaker teachers. I am sorry to have to say that some of the teaching unions oppose that degree of freedom, but we believe that it is concomitant with the greater freedom in the academy system and that it is necessary to drive up standards, which is our aim.</p>
<p>Unfortunately, there has been a pattern under this Government: instead of change and dynamism, there has been timidity, retreat, paralysis and bureaucracy. We would remove barriers to the creation of new schools.</p>
<p><strong>Mr. Redwood: </strong>If the Secretary of State wishes to show substance, he should talk about the Government’s policy rather than spend the whole time talking about Opposition policy? I know that he has no style. Will he tell the House why the Government do not trust parents to make choices in enough cases and why they do not trust schools to decide how to teach?</p>
<p><strong>Ed Balls: </strong>Let me turn to academies and the exact issue that the right hon. Gentleman raises. At last, we are dealing with a school reform that is mentioned in the motion.</p></strong>

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  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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