What was announced: ‘Two pupils from every sixth form and college in the country will be able to visit Auschwitz and learn about the Holocaust thanks to £4.65 million of funding’ (DCSF press release, 4 February 2008)
Ed Balls pounced on it and press released:
In fact schools would have to find £100 to fund every sixth-former’s trip (Times, 4 February 2008)
“This is a truly disgraceful remark by David Cameron and he should apologise immediately for the offence he has caused. Anyone who has seen the horrors of Auschwitz at first hand knows what a life-changing experience it is. To call the announcement I made of £4.65 million to fund visits by school children over the next three years a ‘gimmick’ just beggars belief. In trying to make this issue into a matter of party politics, David Cameron has shown once again that he not only lacks judgement but also a basic sense of decency.”
Aside from the fact that it is not a remark by Dave, but in the notes of a CCHQ briefing, there is obvious irony in Blinky criticising the Tories for “trying to make this into a matter of party politics” in a Labour Party press release.
The Tories now say that they support the educational Auschwitz trips and that they would fully fund them via the Lottery fund. Whatever the substance of the matter, somebody is going to get a bollocking for the original press release…