Went to a great, packed meeting tonight in Parliament organised by the Save EMA campaign. Andy Burnham was one of the speakers. At the risk of appearing sycophantic (and I’m sure he has better things to do than read my blog), he’s great in the Education role. It’s obviously an issue he feels passionately about, particularly when it comes to social mobility and raising young people’s aspirations, as he showed during the Labour leadership campaign. And he’s got such an easy, open manner about him, I’m sure the young people at tonight’s event really felt he was someone they could talk to and trust.
Andy confirmed tonight that the next Opposition day debate – on January 19th – will be on EMAs. I’m not sure everyone at the meeting understood what this means. Basically the Opposition gets allocated a certain number of days a year when it can table a motion for debate (rather than it being Government business, or, more recently, business chosen by the Backbench committee). So we’ll table a motion calling for EMAs to be saved, and the Government will table its own motion, full of warm words, which they hope will provide sufficient cover for their backbenchers to support it.
It’s very rare that the Government loses an Opposition day debate, but even if they did it wouldn’t have any legislative effect. We’re not voting on legislation, just words… a statement 0f intent, if you like. If the Government do lose next week, however, it will be a major triumph for the Save EMA campaign, and surely force a Government u-turn… So it’s worth lobbying your Conservative and Lib Dem MPs, trying to persuade them to do the right thing next Wednesday.