LETTER: Pendle MP should apologise for education custs

Well, how interesting that Andrew Stephenson MP is so keen to ingratiate himself with his Pendle learning communities he appears in not one but three separate school–based photo opportunities in last week’s Nelson Leader (Friday, February 11th)!

Working from back to front: “a lesson in what life is like as an MP” (Higham St John’s CE Primary, page 6), “MP back at school” (Holy Trinity RC Primary, page 4), saving the most ironic for the front page itself – “MP action call as pupils put at risk” – where it is reported Fisher-More Catholic Humanities College and Pendle View school communities are at serious risk of an accident as the volume of traffic, impatient drivers and a rickety bridge, spanning the Colne-Preston railway line, conspire to place the two school communities at grave and frequent exposure to danger.

The accompanying narrative to the headline states: “the possibility of a new bridge had been considered as part of the Building Schools for the Future plans”, Andrew Stephenson remarking: “But that has now been put on hold”.

What our Pendle MP means when he uses the phrase “put on hold” is the project has been cancelled; quite a difference.

Coincidentally, on lunchtime of the same day of the Leader Times publication, high court judge Mr Justice Holman declared that Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove’s decision to cancel more than 700 schools’ building and refurbishment projects (including Fisher-More’s), under the BSF initiative, without any prior consultation with communities amounted to “an abuse of power”.

As a consequence, perhaps Andrew Stephenson might like to offer an apology to his Pendle constituents for failing to challenge such “an abuse of power” and in being too ready to agree with the edicts of Tory central office.

However, rather than an apology I would prefer to see whether his reported concern will result in anything material in support of the two Colne school communities. Time will tell.

In the meantime, I’m sure his Pendle constituents can look forward to him exploiting maximum political point-scoring if his interventions do yield anything of substance. Say “Cheese!”

TONY FORT

Grafton Avenue, Reedley