Wednesday, December 04, 2013

"The DfE are talking b*******," a senior Lib Dem source said

It's all kicking off in the Coalition.

BBC News reports:
The Liberal Democrats have accused the Department for Education of "going rogue" by briefing against Nick Clegg. 
The deputy prime minister has announced primary schools in England will get an extra £150m for new kitchens and dining rooms, to cope with the roll-out of free meals for infant pupils next year. 
This would be part-funded by an £80m education underspend, Mr Clegg said. 
But, after an education official told newspapers this was not the case, a Lib Dem spokesman accused them of "lying".
The Daily Mail adds some colour:
A DfE source said: 'There is no spare money in either the basic needs or maintenance budget to pay for Clegg's kitchens.' 
It was suggested the money would be taken from funds used to provide extra school places. 
But furious Lib Dems hit back, insisting the policy had been agreed by David Cameron and George Osborne, and Mr Gove's ministry should fall into line. 
"The DfE are talking b*******," a senior Lib Dem source said.
"Gove and the DfE had their eye on the underspend for free schools... which I think explains the slight bitterness from the DfE in some of the briefing. 
"What we are seeing from DfE is them going rogue. They are completely out of step. 
"It is time for them to stop whining and get behind a policy that they are going to have to deliver. The DfE are lying if they say there is no money."
The Mail also says that Downing Street made it clear that it was Tory Mr Gove's department that were out of line.
'The position is absolutely the one the DPM's office have set out,' the Prime Minister's official spokesman said.
David Cameron has no great interest in policy, which is why he gave Andrew Lansley his head and allowed him to implement heath reforms that were heartfelt but that no one else understood. Once Lansley threatened to become a political liability he was moved on.

I have some sympathy with Gove's views on education and the teaching unions are always angry with the government, so they tend to be discounted. But if Gove becomes unpopular with the wider electorate he may find himself leaving his current post.

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