Island ministerial visit postponed after Gove replaced as education secretary

By a County Press reporter

Wednesday, July 16, 2014


A MINISTERIAL visit to address the issue of surplus places at Isle of Wight schools has been postponed after yesterday's (Tuesday) cabinet reshuffle, in which Michael Gove was replaced as education secretary.

Lord Nash, parliamentary under secretary of state for schools, David Laws, the minister for schools, and Edward Timpson, the minister for children and families, were due to visit the Island tomorrow.

Plans for the visit had been confirmed in a letter from Mr Gove to Isle of Wight Council Conservative group education spokesman Cllr Chris Whitehouse. Cllr Whitehouse confirmed last night (Tuesday) this week's visit would now not be going ahead.

Cllr Whitehouse, who described Mr Gove's move to become government chief whip as a promotion, said: "It's a real shame the visit has been postponed, but these things happen in politics and it is quite understandable that the new secretary of state, Nicky Morgan, wants to get to grips with her policy area and have meetings with her ministerial team.

"I'm sure the change at the top won't lead to any fundamental change in policy or cause the ministers to take their eyes off our Island schools."

He welcomed the appointment of Mr Gove's replacement Nicky Morgan's and said: "Her rapid rise to the Cabinet has been well earned and I look forward to continuing to work with her to drive up standards in our Island schools.

"She is also a committed Christian, so I am confident she'll want to work with Christ the King College to achieve its full potential by helping identify and remove barriers to its further progress."


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by David Walters

17th July 2014, at 20:04:08

I think Richard Priest is happy with Cllr Whitehorse,s supportive role on the Island and his criticism of Hampshire CC, it all makes for an easy life with no opposition.

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by James McAdder

16th July 2014, at 13:52:00


Could have been interesting to see the interactions between the Ministers and Andrew Turner after he showed some real bottle and voted against the oppressive DRIP bill.

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by Peter Daws

16th July 2014, at 13:38:16

I have to admit that I find it hard to take anyone who believes in Father Christmas and fairies seriously.

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by Jonathan Young

16th July 2014, at 11:31:33

"Cllr Whitehouse, who described Mr Gove's move to become government chief whip as a promotion..." It's a funny sort of promotion which involves a £36,000 pay cut and causes Gove's journalist wife to Tweet about "a shabby day's work which Cameron will live to regret." But there, Cllr Whitehouse would describe black as a shade of white if it suited his agenda. Could I suggest that the County Press finds a more authoritative and objective source for its education stories? There is always Cllr Priest, who holds the Council portfolio. Or maybe even the Department for Education.

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by Mat Thomas

16th July 2014, at 10:40:14

The religious comments by Cllr. Whitehouse in this case will be viewed as discriminatory by many and Nicky Morgan will probably want to distance herself from them.

At the same time there is much wishful thinking here. Whitehouse does not welcome the demotional move to replace Gove and has high hopes for his bid to become Prime minister. The words he has used are an attempt to pressurise her. The island visit was seen as confrontational and unwise to proceed.

This is a setback for Whitehouse's policy ambitions for education on the IOW. Cllr Priest now has the opportunity carry out more progressive policies in education if he siezes the moment. Whitehouse has attempted unsuccessfully to sieze the initiative and act as the previous administrations monkey on the Independents' back.

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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