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  Screen capture from MP calls for end to 'Punch and Judy' politics

MP calls for end to 'Punch and Judy' politics

Former Education Select Committee Chairman Barry Sheerman MP has called for party divides and "Punch and Judy politics" to be put aside to help improve the country's education standards. During this week's debate on the second reading of the Education Bill, Mr Sheerman pointed out that the important issue was debating the Bill and not scoring political points.

"We do rather better for our constituencies and our country when we come together as parties and say 'can't we find a way forward where we agree?'" Barry Sheerman MP

During the discussion, he said: "On a point of order, Mr Deputy Speaker. Is there any point in back benchers turning up to education debates? The Secretary of State spent 52 minutes at the dispatch box and this is the fourth intervention that he is making on my right honourable Friend's speech. What is the point of the rest of us who are interested in education and who want to participate coming here at all?"

While the Education Secretary Michael Gove was suggesting that Labour's issues with the Bill were tantamount to voting against increasing powers to help teachers discipline pupils, improve conditions and raise educational standards, Mr Sheerman took the slightly unusual step of voting both ways at the second reading.The Westminster tradition of a positive abstention is something Mr Sheerman has used in the past to highlight a general approval but simultaneously to call for more detail and evidence moving forward. And his action also comes back to his belief in working across party borders to achieve results on this important subject.

"We do rather better for our constituencies and our country when we come together as parties and say 'can't we find a way forward where we agree?'"

Speaking to Teachers TV News, Huddersfield MP Mr Sheerman said that some members of the House felt that this Bill was being pushed through too quickly and without enough debate. He felt some decisions had been taken without proper reporting and evidence highlighting the ending of the EMAs before a report into 14-19 education was published.

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