‘This is a LIE!’ Angela Rayner lashes out at Nadhim Zahawi in staggering ITV Peston row

Peston quizzes Nadhim Zahawi on lengthening the school day

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The deputy Labour leader hit out at Mr Zahawi on Twitter following his appearance on ITV’s Peston where he was asked about the fallout from the resignation of ‘education recovery’ tsar Kevan Collins. He said: “The biggest part of the recommendation is lengthening the school day.” Peston asked: “Is that going to happen?”

He replied: “Well, that’s going to be reviewed. That requires teaching unions to agree to it, it requires us to review it, and of course spending review, and making sure that we are able to.”

Peston said: “So it’s Rishi Sunak’s fault, is what you’re saying.”

He replied: “No it’s not, we’ve got to review and see whether… At the moment, the same people who are attacking us, saying why didn’t you go that far, are the teaching unions who resisted the idea of extending the school day in the first place.

“I’d like to see them, I’d like to see the Labour Party say, ‘Actually you know what, that is the right thing to do, we’ll support it,’ then we’ll review it, and of course it’ll be reviewed in time for the spending review.”

A furious Angela Rayner later wrote on Twitter: “Well this is a lie.

“Sir Kevan Collins has got nothing to do with trade unions, and why do Tory Ministers always try to attack unions to distract from their own failures? Wrong, tedious and ignorant.

“The government should be working with trade unions not attacking them on TV.”

It comes as Sir Kevan quit after just four months in the role as catch-up tsar as he warned the Government’s package “falls far short of what is needed” to meet the scale of the challenge.

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The fall-out over the extra funding for tuition and teacher training has prompted criticism and calls for the Education Secretary to step down.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said it “tops off a truly awful day for the Government and a deeply disappointing one for all those working in schools”.

He added: “It is completely understandable why Sir Kevan chose not to become a pawn in whatever game the Government is playing.”

Daisy Cooper, the Liberal Democrats’ education spokeswoman, said the Government’s “pitiful” catch-up fund offer was “an insult” to Sir Kevan.


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She said: “Our children deserve better than this useless Education Secretary. Time and time again he keeps getting it wrong. It really is the last straw – the Education Secretary has to go.”

Number 10 has said it will “continue to focus on education recovery and making sure no child is left behind with their learning”.

In a statement on Wednesday evening, Sir Kevan said: “A half-hearted approach risks failing hundreds of thousands of pupils.

“The support announced by Government so far does not come close to meeting the scale of the challenge and is why I have no option but to resign from my post.”

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