Ian Austin

Dudley North

Labour

AQA has taken a unilateral decision to scrap the A-level in Polish from 2018. Are you going to lobby the AQA to reverse their decision? If yes, are there any other actions which you would undertake in order to preserve the Polish A-level?

I am disappointed that AQA has decided to stop offering A-level Polish from 2018. I think that people coming to live and work in Britain should be able to speak a good standard of English, but there is no reason why their children should not be able to gain the valuable skill of learning a second language like Polish. I would be very happy to write to AQA urging them to reconsider this decision, so please let me know if you would like me to do this.

Poland was the most loyal ally of Britain in the Second World War and the Polish army contributed to the defeat of Nazi Germany. Would you therefore challenge some of the British media falsely labelling the German concentration and death camps as being “Polish” e.g. Polish ghetto, death camps of Poland, or, Poland’s Auschwitz?

As you will know Britain declared war on Nazi Germany after Hitler invaded Poland, and I think we should also recognise the contribution that Polish soldiers subsequently made to Britain’s war efforts particularly in the Air Force and Navy. Likewise we should take care to remember the lessons of the Holocaust, the greatest crime ever perpetrated in human history. I am a strong supporter of the Holocaust Educational Trust’s work in bringing Holocaust survivors into local schools and organising for students to visit Auschwitz so they can see first-hand evidence of the Holocaust and learn about it.

Do you support promoting information about the positive contribution of Polish immigrants to the economy of the UK?

I recognise and value the contribution that people from Poland are making in Dudley.

I’ve always said that if you want to live in Britain you must be prepared to work hard and pay your way, obey the law and speak English because there’s no other way to play a full part in British society. Most people think that if you have the skills we need and are working and contributing you’re welcome, but they also think people shouldn’t be free to be unemployed or claim benefits without paying in first. That’s just not fair to people working hard and paying taxes wherever they are from.

I am also a strong supporter of Poland’s sovereignty, and I believe we should be taking a much tougher approach to threats to its security from Putin’s Russia. I have visited Ukraine personally to discuss the threat they are facing from Russia, and I know that Poland and other Eastern European want to see Britain challenge Putin’s approach in the country. That’s why I have consistently stood up in the House of Commons to call on the government to offer more support to the Ukrainian government and impose much stronger sanctions on Russia’s leaders.

In the event of Brexit, would you support granting an unconditional Indefinite Leave To Remain to the EU citizens who have lived and worked in Britain under the freedom of movement rules?

I’ve also been saying for years that we should have an EU referendum and earlier this year I stood up in the House of Commons ask why we’re having have to wait until 2017 for British people to have their say. I’ve asked thousands of local people and eight out of ten agreed that we should have a referendum at the earliest opportunity. Ahead of the referendum in 2017 I will be working hard to listen to what local people want from our relationship with the EU, but whatever the outcome I do not think even people who want Britain to leave believe it should result in the deportation of people who are working here, supporting their families, paying taxes and making a contribution.

Would you consider joining the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland and finding out about its activities and initiatives?

I am very interested in what is happening in Central and Eastern Europe and have visited Poland on three occasions. I’d be very happy to join the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland, so please feel free to put me in touch the group to find out more.


Questions were sent out after the elections.