In Parliament – October

Most of my Parliamentary time in October was taken up by the Small Charitable Donations Bill Committee. You may view its web site to look at my contributions and find out more about the work of the committee here.

Question to Patrick McLoughlin MP – West Coast Mainline – 18th October

Nigel Mills MP: Will the Secretary of State confirm what the cost would have been of proceeding with a flawed tendering process and awarding that contract? On the same basis, will he also reconsider the Thameslink rolling stock contract, to make sure that there has been no mistake with that either?

Patrick McLoughlin MP (Secretary of State for Transport; Derbyshire Dales, Conservative): I assure my hon. Friend that I asked those questions rigorously in the Department and I have been assured that this was a wholly different process. As I have said, I am awaiting the outcome of the two inquiries that I have set up.

Question to Edward Timpson MP – Studio Schools – 29th October

Nigel Mills MP: How many places he expects to be available in studio schools by 2015.

Edward Timpson MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Education; Crewe and Nantwich, Conservative): There are currently 16 studio schools open. By September 2013, we expect there will be 30 studio schools open, representing nearly 10,000 new school places. More studio schools will be announced following the current application round, providing an employer-backed academic and vocational offer for 14 to 19-year-olds of all abilities.

Nigel Mills MP: I thank my hon. Friend for that answer and welcome him to his position. Does he agree that studio schools offer young people not only a great academic education, but real-world life experience, and will he therefore join me in welcoming Derby college’s bid to open a school in Heanor?

Edward Timpson MP (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State, Department for Education; Crewe and Nantwich, Conservative): I completely agree with my hon. Friend about the importance of what studio schools bring to the offer for young people. I understand that this is the first time that Derby college has applied to open a new studio school. We are very much looking forward to receiving its proposal, which will no doubt be supported vigorously by my hon. Friend. Each application will be considered on its own merits and in comparison with others submitted.