Highlights of the week ending 8 July
It’s been a tumultuous week with the resignation of the Prime Minister and the sight of three Education Secretaries in as many days. The ministerial domino rally that was started by the Health Secretary, Sajid Javid, quickly found its way to the Department for Education with Nadhim Zahawi moving to the Treasury, to be replaced by Universities Minister, Michelle Donelan (Tuesday). Children’s Minister, Will Quince, School’s Minister, Robin Walker, and Skills Minister, Alex Burghart all resigned the following day (Wednesday). That same day Michelle Donelan gave her maiden appearance at the dispatch box as Secretary of State. However, when it became clear the Prime Minister was standing firm in the face of so many resignations, Donelan also resigned (Thursday), leaving DfE minister-less. James Cleverly was appointed Secretary of State, shortly before the Prime Minister announced his intention to resign.
There will now be a Conservative leadership contest, with a new leader installed at some point during the summer. That will lead to another new set of ministers in Sanctuary Buildings. For the time being there remains posts unfilled, with no Schools, Skills, or Universities Ministers. And so Cleverly’s job will be to keep things ticking over until the leadership issue is resolved. Although we are approaching summer recess, this latest Secretary of State will have exam results and university & college admissions to deal with.
The week also saw the old education ministerial team take their monthly questions from MPs, the publication of the National Student Survey, and the Festival of Education.