LAST week, the Government finally managed to pass the legislation to stop small boats carrying illegal migrants from crossing the Channel, with Labour fighting the legislation tooth and nail in both the House of Commons and House of Lords to the very last, with Labour peers in the Lords sitting well past midnight on many occasions during the passage of the bill in an attempt to thwart it, and keep the boats coming.

Some on the political left may have thought they were acting kindly by letting these illegal crossings continue, if so, such feelings are deeply misplaced.

It was very depressing to see Labour put such efforts into preventing new laws coming into force to stop illegal migration across the Channel, which only helps the drug dealers, gang masters and modern slavers who profit from this evil trade in human misery.

The residents of Leigh have warmly welcomed the genuine refugees from Ukraine, but there is a strong feeling among the general public that unlike the Ukrainians, those crossing the channel from France, a safe western democracy, were simply trying to get into the country to work illegally and were not genuine cases.

I welcome the passage of this legislation, and I firmly hope that this will be the beginning of the end for the people smuggling gang masters and modern slavers, whose evil business model deserves to be well and truly smashed.

Another welcome announcement last week from the Government came on the subject of tackling poor quality degrees, which for too long have left a large number of young people with mountains of debt, but no prospect of a job.

I strongly welcome this move. Many young people will benefit much more from apprenticeships or degree level equivalent practical courses such as those offered by our excellent local Wigan and Leigh College, now part of the Greater Manchester Institute of Technology, from which the borough has seen £13 million of new investment in education at that institute alone.

Whilst many young people do well at University, it is wrong to send too many there with the expectation of a good job at the end, only for them to discover that, after acquiring significant debt, employers do not consider their degree of any worth.

The age of substandard degrees ushered in by Tony Blair when he set an artificial target of 50 per cent of young people going to university regardless of any other consideration must come to an end, and not a moment too soon.

Education must always improve the job prospects of young people, both here in Leigh, and across the nation. They deserve nothing less.