Will there be a safe return to schools next month?
Maybe it is because it is the middle of August and there’s not a lot of other political news about but EdSec Williamson continues to struggle to get off the front pages. My Tweet above has a selection of six of them this morning.
He might have the backing of Boris but there’s another big development tomorrow with the latest English exam “results” that aren’t because of the emergency action that had to be taken to deal with the pandemic.
It’s not helped that Williamson is nicknamed “Private Pike” to some of his fellow Tory MPs who still feel bruised by the way he handled his time as Chief Whip. Also the Tories having a big majority makes it harder to keep dissenters in line. There’s no threat to the future of the government.
All this comes ahead of the start of the new academic year when the hope is that schoolchildren can return to being behind their desks.
The Guardian sums things up here:
Parents and teachers have lost faith in Gavin Williamson’s competence to lead a safe return of pupils to England’s schools within two weeks, trade unions and senior MPs from across the divide have warned. Following the education secretary’s role in the exam results fiasco, Robert Halfon, the Conservative chair of the education select committee, said the prime minister must personally lead the back-to-school campaign in order to ensure confidence.
As you might expect Williamson is the betting favourite to be the next Cabinet minister out.