Categorized | News, Press Release

Gove under legal pressure over axeing school building programme

In the wake of the High Court ruling against Michael Gove in relation to Building Schools for the Future, Andy Burnham MP, Labour’s Shadow Education Secretary, is calling for an independent inquiry into the Secretary of State’s actions and the decision-making process.

Andy Burnham MP said:
“Michael Gove’s competence and judgement have all been fundamentally called into question by this ruling. A High Court judge has described the actions of a Cabinet Minister as ‘so unfair as to amount to an abuse of power’. That is an extremely serious statement. It raises the question of whether the public can have confidence that Mr Gove is discharging his duties fairly and properly.
“This is why we urgently now need an independent inquiry into Michael Gove’s handling of this whole sorry saga. The communities most affected by these decisions deserve nothing less. All relevant paperwork should be disclosed so that people can see what advice was given by civil servants and how these decisions were taken.
“Public money has been wasted because of the shambolic handling of this matter. We hear reports that Michael Gove overruled civil servants who warned that errors were likely and ignored legal advice – this is no way to run a Department of State.
“The inquiry needs to address a number of important questions:
–       If and when Michael Gove received legal advice on the risk of judicial review and what action he took on the back of that advice? What advice did civil servants provide to Ministers on the back of the legal advice and was it followed?
–       What other advice Michael Gove received from civil servants on BSF and whether it was followed? In particular, did he or the Department receive advice that it should consult with affected parties before cancelling any projects? What was the advice on consultation from Partnerships for Schools?
–  How much has been spent by the Department for Education in fighting these legal challenges?

“Communities are increasingly fighting back against this Tory-led Government’s high-handed actions. As with school sport, Bookstart and today school building and forests – Ministers are being forced to listen.
“Today’s ruling will give further hope to those seeking a Judicial Review against Michael Gove’s unfair axeing of the Education Maintenance Allowance, again with no warning and no consultation.
“Of course there is a need to find savings in public services, but this Government is cutting too far and too fast and forcing the most deprived to bear the heaviest burden.”

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I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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