Burnley FC’s Clarke Carlisle in Westminster mission

CLARETS defender Clarke Carlisle has teamed up with Burnley MP Gordon Birtwistle to kick-off a new drive to improve education.

The centre-back, who recently appeared on BBC’s “Question Time”, met Mr Birtwistle and Liberal Democrat deputy leader Simon Hughes at Westminster.

Mr Hughes, who appeared on the “Question Time” Burnley panel with the footballer, has been working to improve educational advice, information and support.

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Dubbed Britain’s brainiest footballer Clarke, who has also won television’s “Countdown”, has given his own advice on the work.

Mr Birtwistle said: “It is essential that youngsters have support in later years as well and have a variety of options for when they leave school. Simon is doing a great job in his new role and I have every confidence in him that his advice to the Government on this issue will ensure the best deal for young people.

“It’s also great to see Clarke getting involved in the dialogue for widening access to education. It was great to have him come to Parliament to give us his views and I hope he will be a regular visitor while we are working on the issue of higher education.”

The Liberal Democrats have come under fire from their voters for reneging on a pre-election promise not to increase university tuition fees leading to accusations of the betrayal of young students.

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Mr Birtwistle has been speaking to Business Secretary Vince Cable about the need for more dedicated careers officers in schools.

He added that he was keen to ensure that young people from all walks of life have the opportunity to go on to higher education.

TEAMWORK: Clarets defender Clarke Carlisle with Lib-Dem MPs Gordon Birtwistle and Simon Hughes. (S)