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Parliamentary Democracy

Volume 932: debated on Tuesday 17 May 1977

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asked the Secretary of State for Education and Science if she will take steps to encourage the study of parliamentary democracy within educational establishments.

I regard it as important in a democratic society that young people should be given a clear understanding of the functions of central and local government and of the part played by Parliament and other elected assemblies in the government of the country. It is, however, for the local education authorities and the schools and colleges themselves to consider what provision should be made for such studies.

As parliamentary democracy, for all its faults, is something that we have to preserve, particularly as it is likely to come under increasing attack. I think, in the years ahead, will not the Secretary of State see to it that more effort is put into this subject in educational establishments, particularly bringing out the fact that Parliament should dominate the Government of the day?

I repeat that this is primarily—and I believe that the hon. Gentleman would agree that it ought to be primarily—for the local education authorities and the schools themselves. But the Politics Association has devoted much attention to this matter. We have given a small pump-priming grant to it for this purpose.

I wonder whether the Minister has thought of expanding that activity to include specifically education on the operations of the Assembly, the Commission and the other bodies of the European Economic Community.

I am not certain that that would be so acceptable to the hon. Gentleman's hon. Friend, the hon. Member for Banbury (Mr. Marten), but I agree with the hon. Gentleman.