Gove faces ‘cold fury’

Michael Gove must face the “cold fury” of MPs after he published an inaccurate list of school building projects.

The education secretary announced on Monday that 700 projects would not go ahead, but a list released by his department later revealed several inaccuracies, meaning many schools which had been informed their building project would go ahead were set to be disappointed.

Mr Gove apologised to the Commons on Wednesday and to council leaders on Thursday.

“It wasn’t that Michael Gove made one mistake, he’s published four different lists, every one of which has contained errors,” shadow international development secretary Douglas Alexander told Question Time last night.

“There was cold fury, not just on the Labour benches, but on the Tory benches as well about how cavalier Michael had been in providing the information that really matters to communities right across England.”

Mr Gove also came in for criticism from his own Cabinet colleagues, with Lib Dem Scottish secretary minister Michael Moore saying he had made a “major mistake”. He insisted Mr Gove had apologised “with grace” however.

“I think he did that with grace. I think he did it appropriately and he’s determined that that doesn’t happen again,” he said.

“Nobody would wish that had happened. It was a major mistake, it has been acknowledged as such. The apology has been given, it will continue to be given to the appropriate people and I think it’s a sign of the man that he’s willing to do that.”

Nicola Sturgeon, the Scottish National party’s Scottish health secretary, implied the mistake was evidence of the frantic speed at which the Tories were planning to implement cuts.

“The Tories are so desperate to prove how macho and axe wielding they are when it comes to public spending that they are not bothering – as seems to be the case with Michael Gove – to check they have got the details right,” she said.