Ed Balls savaged Michael Gove on Monday for suggesting that only 45 pupils on free school meals went to Oxbridge – “You keep refusing to listen! I think he should do his homework a little bit better…” he spat across the Dispatch box. His humiliating climb down came only hours later. Thankfully Michael Fabricant, like many others, wishes to savour a rare moment where Balls concedes one of his many dubious lines was, in fact, wrong:
CORRECTION BY THE RIGHT HON MEMBER FOR NORMANTON
That this House notes that following remarks made by the Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, the right hon. Member for Normanton in Oral Questions in the House on 8 March 2010, Official Report, column 6, where he contested figures provided by the hon. Member for Surrey Heath, concerning the number of students entitled to free school meals being admitted to the universities of Oxford and Cambridge, the right hon. Member in a letter dated 9 March 2010 to the hon. Member now says that `following our exchange in the House yesterday I have had an opportunity to look in detail at the figures you quoted and I can confirm that they are, on this occasion, correct’.
The correction should have been to the House to the first place rather than in a face-saving private letter.