Barry Gardiner

Brent 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 have already raised with the education minister my concern about the languages excluded from the syllabus. It seems to me that we should be encouraging our children to speak Polish and other languages as this provides a huge boost to our trading capacity.

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?

Where newspapers are falsely seeking to whip up anti-Polish feeling and imply that Poland rather than Germany was responsible for the death camps, I do indeed think it important that this should be challenged. Of course where they simply refer to Poland as a matter of geographical location that is incontrovertible. But it is usually clear when the papers are trying to make a political rather than geographical point!

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

Yes. I do constantly point out to people the enormous economic benefits that the Polish community and other immigrant communities have brought to the UK.

You may not know that I first visited Poland with my wife in the summer of 1989 driving across East Germany and through Poland to visit a friend from Cambridge who lived in Łodz. We fell in love with the country, visiting Warsaw, Cracow and dozens of small towns including Zakopane. The visit made me determine that I must do some business in Poland — I worked in shipping arbitration at the time. So I returned the following year and staged a free conference of Shipping professionals from the city of London for the Maritime and insurance community of Poland in Gdynia.
Over the next decade I worked closely with Polskie Zegluga Morska, Polskie Linie Oceaniczne and Chipolbrok as well as WARTA. I still have many dear friends in Poland and feel a great sense of affinity with the Polish people.

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 do not support a British exit from the EU. Were it to happen I consider that those living here under the Free Movement of People would have to be granted some form of continuing leave to remain. I do not think that that Leave to Remain could be “unconditional” as you have suggested. For example: the UK must always retain the right to deport convicted criminals.

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

I would be happy to join the All Party Group which I was unaware of.


Questions were sent out after the elections.