Nicola Blackwood

Oxford West and Abingdon

Conservative

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 believe that learning a language is a valuable skill, and not only helps students understand different cultures and countries, but also opens up a range of opportunities. Understanding different languages and cultures is very important to employers in what is an increasingly global economy.

I am aware of the decision of the AQA to no longer provide an A level in Polish from 2018 onwards and I can appreciate concerns about this, particularly as statistics show that the number of students choosing to take Polish A Level has increased over the past ten years.

I would encourage all parents and students to make their views about this known by writing to the AQA Exam Board and if you would like for me to raise this with the Secretary of State for Education, please do let me know and I will be willing to assist you wherever I can.

Poland was the most loyal ally of Britain in the Second World War. Would you support a ban on 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?

While the independence of the British media from Government is paramount, and a free-press is a vitally important part of democracy, I can appreciate concerns about misrepresentation in the media, particularly in the case of such a sensitive issue as the Holocaust. I would be happy to raise this with the appropriate authority.

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

I strongly believe that migration can have a very meaningful and positive effect on our society; enriching our culture and contributing significantly to our economic growth.

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?

However, I am aware that many people feel the EU is a heading in a direction the UK did not sign up to, that is it costing British taxpayers too much and that UK Parliament has lost sovereignty and control of our own affairs.

As you may know, the Government, including the Prime Minister, has been very clear on the benefits that Britain’s membership of the EU brings, particularly in our position as a member able to opt out of certain agreements, while benefiting from the economic benefits brought about by the single market. This is why I support the Prime Ministers position to firstly renegotiate our position in the EU and then put the question to the public in the form of an in-out referendum. I believe that a steadfast attempt must be made to negotiate a new settlement with the EU that focuses on what matters to the people of Britain and Europe. This includes competitiveness; flexibility and fairness for all member states, whether inside the Eurozone or out of it; more respect for national democracies and, crucially, recognition that powers should be able to flow back to member states, not just away from them.

Once this renegotiation has taken place, the question of membership of a reformed EU should then be put to the British people through a referendum in 2017. I believe that this is the best way to secure an IN vote from a referendum, and to increase political and economic stability.

It is important to note that it is not Conservative party policy that the UK should leave the EU, nor is this being promoted, but rather that the UK should renegotiate with the EU first and then put the question of membership to the British people. It will be for the public to decide not the Conservative party, or other political parties, Government or Parliament – but for it to be decided in the most democratic way possible.

I also believe that holding a referendum can have educational value and means that the electorate will be informed of what exactly our membership with the EU entails, and I am pleased that the Government is carrying out a review of the balance of competences between the UK and the EU. This review is intended to provide an informed and objective analysis of what the EU does and how it affects the UK, with the aim of broadening and deepening public understanding of the impact of our EU membership, so that an informed and democratic decision can be made by way of referendum.

I know from my conversations with Ministers that the Government is consulting Parliament and its committees, business, the devolved administrations, and civil society to look in depth at how the EU’s competences work in practice. You can find a detailed guide and full details of the review programme online at: https://www.gov.uk/review-of-the-balance-of-competences, should you wish to read more about this.

If you were to be elected to the Parliament, would you join and support the activities of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Poland?

All Party Parliamentary Groups (APPGs)
As you may be aware, as the sitting MP I was also Chair of the All Party Group (APG) on Women, Peace and Security and am I aware of the importance of APPGs and I should I be fortunate enough I would certainly consider joining other groups in the future, and thank you for taking the time to bring this to my attention.


Questions were sent out before the elections.