Andrew Stephenson

Pendle

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 was disappointed to learn that AQA had decided to scrap the Polish A-level and am not surprised the petition to reverse the decision has been so successful with 14,000 signatures already. It seems to me the wrong decision, when we know that British firms will increasingly demand staff who are fluent in this languages as they seek new markets and opportunities. The Secretary of State for Education, Nicky Morgan MP has written to the exam board to tell them to reverse their decision, which I welcome.

Last month, I did table a written question to the Education Secretary to ask about this issue. Please find the question and the answer received attached.

Education Minister, Nick Gibb MP, responded to say that he had met with the Polish Ambassador to discuss AOA’s decision, received letters from a number of MPs and explained that they are looking at what more the Government can do to encourage a wide range of languages at GCSE. The Secretary of State has committed to launching a consultation, if there is no progress from the awarding bodies themselves.

|Continue to follow this issue closely, and welcome moves from schools in Pendle to move to the English Baccalaureate (EBacc) from September, which should encourage more pupils to learn a language such as Polish.

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?

Regarding the misrepresentation of Poland’s involvement in World War II and which country the concentration camps were in, appreciate that this must be extremely upsetting. Having supported the Holocaust Educational Trust’s work in the past, joining them as they took Pendle schoolchildren to Auschwitz, I am aware of its history and recognise the importance of educating the next generation about the horrors of what happened.

I do not see how a ban on incorrect labelling would work in practice. However, the newly created Independent Press Standards Organisation should be able to secure redress if mistakes are made. I would be happy to help bring attention to any repeated errors made in the British media and to help Pendle residents make their complaints heard.

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

Pendle has a growing number of residents from Poland and from other Eastern European countries. I have no doubt of the positive contribution the vast majority of migrants make to the UK economy and our local area. I support any effort to highlight the positive contribution of all migrants, including those from Poland.

However, there are widespread and reasonable concerns about the scale of migration that undermines goodwill and unfairly causes problems to migrant groups. That is why I am keen to see the British migration system brought under better control. By restoring confidence in the system, we can help to improve people’s perception of migrants and their contribution to our economy and society.

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?

Whilst do not anticipate Britain leaving the EU, I am unsure about the unconditional granting Indefinite Leave to Remain to EU citizens living and working in Britain. This may not be the most appropriate immigration status for all who have lived here and may pose a risk of incentivising a surge of inward migration in advance of any deadline on eligibility. Should Britain leave the EU, there would of course be a strong case for considering favourably the status of most who have been living and working here for several years. It would also be in Britain’s interests to maintain good relations with Poland especially, including ensuring a well functioning migration system given that the two countries have such strong ties.

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

Having chaired the Pakistan All-Party Parliamentary Group for the last five years, I am aware of the good work they can do and how important having a supportive group of MPs is to people living in Britain with strong ties to another country. I am pleased there is a group on Poland and have contacted my Conservative colleague Daniel Kawczynski MP who acts as Chair to enquire about joining.


Questions were sent out after the elections.