Charlotte Leslie makes maiden Commons speech
Charlotte Leslie has made her maiden speech in the House of Commons in a debate about education.
The new Bristol West MP spoke passionately about her constituency, describing it as “fantastic and incredibly diverse” and reiterating her desire to see St Ursula’s School in Westbury-on-Trym transformed into an academy.
Miss Leslie also paid tribute to Doug Naysmith, her predecessor as MP and now a city councillor, who she said “brought a tremendous amount of expertise, wisdom and integrity to the House”.
In her speech, Miss Leslie said that she hopes that financial incentives given to pupils most in need can help schools such as Henbury, Orchard and the Oasis Academy Brightstowe.
Miss Leslie also said that she hopes the graduate teaching programme Teach First can be extended to Bristol.
She said: “Given the legislation that we will be considering, I hope that they will be able to come to Bristol North West, as Teach First will make a tangible difference to the lives of the children there.”
Regarding St Ursula’s School, a private school which wants to open its doors to take state pupils, Miss Leslie said: “St Ursula’s exists in an area of burning parental need and desire for a new school.
“Parents have asked for this new school, but all along the line the authority has said no – the computer has said no. I shall be delighted if the legislation set out… means that parents who want a new school find that the computer can say yes and that the authority can help them to realise their ambitions for their children, giving children from all backgrounds access to new, good schools; to schools that only the well-off can afford at the moment.
She added: “I look forward to working within this Chamber, with my honourable colleagues and friends, to ensure that Bristol North West is a tale not of two cities, but of one city. I want it to be a place of opportunity for all, and that is also what I want this country to become.”