SKETCH: Gove Slaughters Metrosexual Tristram

Tristram Hunt was granted an Urgent Question based on something he’d read in the Observer. A row in the Coalition. An incipient split. It must have seemed a good idea but it all blew up in his lovely face.

He really does have the most brilliant name, with the luxurious extra R. Handsome, hereditary, metrosexual. There’s no-one else on the Labour front bench you can imagine in bed with Liz Hurley, Graham Norton and the winner of the Eurovision Song Contest.

It was Gove’s only mistake to suggest that he’s had “more contorted positions on Free Schools than an Indian sex manual.” That’s the fellow’s strong point! Pointing that out draws attention to Gove’s factory inspector look c. 1955.

Listening to Hunt, we heard, or half-heard him saying that the Coalition had “raided the schools budget to pay for pet political projects in expensive, under-performing, half-empty Free Schools.”

Are any of those accusations correct? They’re so highly educated, the minister and his shadow, you don’t know what to believe.

Expensive. Underperforming. Half-empty.

Gove said that Free Schools were half the cost of schools under Labour, that they were three times over-subscribed, they were academically above the national average and that 85 per cent of them were being opened in areas of greatest need.

Hunt quoted an NAO report which said two-thirds of places had been created outside areas of high and severe need.

You need an Oxford education to make contradictory statements that are correct. You have to assume their propositions were couched in terms that would stand up in court.

Hunt sat down to Tory jeers of “Is that it?

Labour critics got pummeled with spending figures. Labour had spent £25m in Eltham and Tories were spending £125m. Or £17m in Croydon compared with £142m now. And £25m in Lewisham under Labour where Tories were putting in £78m.

It was a bit of a slaughter, in fact. If Tristram was trying to show “spending was out of control” he’d have been better off in bed with Liz and Co.

The only really surprising contribution came from Ian Austin – sometime “boot boy of Gordon Brown”, as Cameron once called him. He told the House about a Free School in his constituency so popular that parents couldn’t get their children in to it. You may have expected him to demand it be closed, the staff prosecuted and the children taken into care.

No, he argued to give them the financial freedom to borrow in the market to create extra capacity and service the debt with their increased per capita revenues.

There’s probably no chance of Ian Austin being made shadow Education secretary, but it might be worth having a word with Liz.

Tip offs: 0709 284 0531

GuidoFawkes Quote of the Day

Lord Ashcroft’s focus group is asked where each party leader would be most likely to go on holiday:

David Cameron: “Monaco”

Nigel Farage: “Blighty”

Nick Clegg: “Caribbean”

Ed Miliband: “The Moon, his own little world”

Top Posts This Week

Guidogram: Sign up

Subscribe to the most succinct 7 days a week daily email read by thousands of Westminster insiders.


Cassetteboy’s February Mash-Up Cassetteboy’s February Mash-Up
Buzzfeed Bias Buzzfeed Bias
Campbell Sells His Sol Campbell Sells His Sol
Jowell Jobs Hypocrisy Jowell Jobs Hypocrisy
Miliband’s Nick Clegg Moment Miliband’s Nick Clegg Moment
Green Party take cash from Tax Efficient Westwood Green Party take cash from Tax Efficient Westwood

65% of UK Laws Made in Brussels 65% of UK Laws Made in Brussels
Tory Spex Scandal Tory Spex Scandal
House of Cards Fever House of Cards Fever
Today’s Cartoon Today’s Cartoon
Jenny Humiliates Natalie Jenny Humiliates Natalie
Senator Disproves climate change by lobbing snowball Senator Disproves climate change by lobbing snowball
GCHQ take tips from horror movie GCHQ take tips from horror movie
Happy International Polar Bear Day! Happy International Polar Bear Day!
Met Police Accuse Guido of “Collusion” With Press Gazette Met Police Accuse Guido of “Collusion” With Press Gazette
Miliband Speaks on #TheDress Miliband Speaks on #TheDress
Future of Journalism Update Future of Journalism Update
Hacked Off Rally Was Deeply Unpleasant Hacked Off Rally Was Deeply Unpleasant

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,811 other followers