The Tory party seems to be caught in a feedback loop of negativity. We knew the dishevelled Tories would be discombobulated by the idea of getting back to work – but even by the party’s own standards, it has been quite something. 

More than 100 schools – and potentially more in the pipeline – have been shut due to fears that the aerated concrete used in the buildings is structurally weak and unsafe. It has been known for many years that British schools built from the Sixties through to the Nineties had a lifespan of around 30-40 years. Yet, this has not been properly addressed.

Rishi Sunak was accused by a former permanent secretary of being responsible for cutting the Department for Education’s budget for fixing aging school buildings back when he was chancellor. Jonathan Slater, formerly of the department, told the BBC’s Today programme that despite warnings in 2018 that around 300-400 schools needed rebuilding every year, the government only provided money for 100 schools. This was then reduced to 50 schools after a 2020 spending review when Sunak was chancellor to then Prime Minister Boris Johnson. However, the current PM maintains that it is “utterly wrong” to lay the blame on him.

Elsewhere, Gillian Keegan had a serious hot mic moment when she was caught on camera after an ITV interview having a pop at local council authorities. The education secretary was being questioned about the government’s response to the school concrete issue and said that others “have been sat on their a***s” while she hasn’t been thanked for doing “a f***ing good job”. 

Keegan then apologised for her “choice language” and played down the “off-the-cuff” remarks. 

She may be waiting some time for that recognition.

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