UK

Tory MPs Block Bid To Give Schoolchildren First Aid Training By Talking Non-Stop Until Debate Ends

21/11/2015 01:51 GMT | Updated 21/11/2015 01:59 GMT

A group of Conservative MPs have blocked a Bill to give first aid training to children, by talking non-stop until time to debate or vote on the issue ran out.

Several backbenchers, including a number of notorious so-called 'filibusterers' - and even a government minister, spoke for hours against the effort to add basic medical training to the national curriculum.

They managed to stop the 'Compulsory Emergency First Aid Education (State-Funded Secondary Schools) Bill' from passing a crucial stage in the Commons.

Because ministers did not propose it, the Bill only had a limited amount of time to be debated, but was shelved after being 'talked out'.

Sam Gyimah, an education minister, spoke for seventeen minutes in a speech described by the deputy speaker as like reading a “telephone book” out loud.

He was joined by fellow Commons colleague Philip Davies, who has previously spoken for 90 minutes to stop giving carers free hospital parking, in a bid to stop today's Bill progressing.

Davies gave a 52-minute long speech and allowed questions from other Conservative MPs to take up time.

“The title gives away the principle of this Bill: compulsory emergency first aid education in state-funded secondary schools," he told MPs.

"The point I am trying to make is that I do not agree with the principle of compulsory first aid education in schools.

"Why on earth would I allow a Bill that principle of which I don’t like a second reading?”

During Davies speech, fellow Conservative MP Roger Gale called on him not to block the proposed law.

“I’d like to think that given that this is a matter of life and death my honourable friend might just allow this to have a second reading and then allow it to be dissected in a committee stage,” he said.

The debate, which ultimately ended without a vote, was proposed by Labour's Teresa Pearce - but did have cross-party support.

Pearce lamented in the aftermath, telling the Mirror: "It's puerile game-playing. What's the point of that? That's not what people elected us to do."

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