Invisible Twigg Misses Labour Field Day

Earlier this morning Guido pointed out that Labour hadn’t been telling the whole story on school playing fields, but it turns out the hypocrisy doesn’t stop there. Shadow Health Secretary Andy Burnham told the New Statesman this month that it was impossible to stop the sale of playing fields:

“It would have been wrong to pass legislation which banned the selling of playing fields entirely, because that would have meant it was impossible to facilitate the development of sporting facilities…In some communities there’s a definite need for more space, but the issue is increasingly more about quality than availability.”

Guido has also come across two very interesting PQs from the invisible Stephen Twigg. The first sets out why Twigg approved the sale of dozens of playing fields while he was in charge of the brief back in 2004:

The second shows that he gave permission for schools to reduce space for children’s sport below the minimum standards, despite the fact that Twigg’s minions have since attacked the Tories for changing the law in order to do the very same: “The Secretary of State’s agreement is needed if changes to the team game playing field provision mean that a school falls, or remains, below the minimum required by the Regulations. Six applications were agreed in 2000, 25 in 2001, 11 in 2002, and 9 so far in 2003.”

The insufferable Kevin Brennan is fighting this on the airways, but for some strange reason Twigg is nowhere to be seen. Maybe the answer lies in the playing fields sold off in Twigg’s own constituency. Guido will look into that later…



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Andy Burnham, an MP at Westminster since 2001:

“I’m not a Westminster politician. Never have been.”

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