The Department for Education are putting about a classic case of Margaret Hodge double standards this morning. Hodge has been spinning hard following today’s National Audit Office report on free schools, which it said had “achieved clear progress”. Hectoring Hodge bleats that “The Department has got to be much more rigorous about how it assesses applications for free schools and prioritises need and value for money”. For some reason she isn’t quite so negative when the free school in question is in her own constituency.
In April last year Hodge was telling local voters that, actually, she thought the government should go even further on free schools – wait for it – asking for an extra £25 million to fund a new free school in her constituency. She explained her strong support for free schools by saying “the children of the borough deserve the best possible education”. So Margaret Hodge really doesn’t like free schools, especially the cost, unless they are in her own constituency that is…
UPDATE: All kicking off between Hodge and Liz Truss. Hodge accuses Truss of “deliberate misrepresentation”, while a spokesperson for Truss hits back:
“Margaret Hodge’s comments on school places in Barking are misleading. The DfE is providing Barking with £140 million for new school places in all types of schools, not just free schools and academies. This is more than double the amount given by the previous government and is separate to the £25 million free school Margaret Hodge campaigned for in her constituency. The truth is she has been found out saying one thing to her constituents and another to the rest of the country.”