Tag Archives: david laws

An interesting observation from David Laws

Biteback has recently published David Laws’ Coalition Diaries, 2012-15. They are well worth a read.  Unlike his Coalition book published last year, these contemperaneous diaries aren’t nicely organised into different subjects and you tend to get more of a flavour of the frustrations and emotions that were going on at the time.

I am wending my way through the 560 page volume and will drop you the odd snippet while I read.

John Rentoul seems to be doing the same, on Twitter. He posted an account of a meeting between the Tory Chief Whip Sir George Young and Tory Ministers which …

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LibLink: David Laws: It’s time for Theresa May to ditch grammar school plans

David Laws, our former Schools Minister now heading up the Education Policy Institute (which used to be the CentreForum think tank) has been writing for the Observer. He’s driven a coach and horses through the Government’s case for grammar schools, which he says even fails to convince Education Secretary Justine Greening.

It is one of the worst kept secrets in Westminster that education secretary Justine Greening is not the biggest supporter of the policy that is now the social mobility “flagship” of Theresa May’s government – expanding the number of grammar schools.

Greening must be aware of the clear UK and international evidence that selective education both fails to raise overall standards, and undermines the prospects of poor children. Education Policy Institute researchers last year analysed the government’s own schools data and drew two key conclusions. First, that almost no children on free school meals get into grammar schools – a risible 4,000 out of more than eight million pupils in the whole of England. Second, that although there is a small benefit for pupils who are admitted to selective schools, this is offset by the worse results for other pupils in areas with a significant number of grammar places.

He outlines how he poorest children will be the worst affected by the move to grammar schools:

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LibLink: David Laws – UK reaches socially acceptable limits of austerity

David Laws has written an article in the Financial Times, but you have to be a subscriber to read it.  We will give you a flavour of the piece here so you can decide whether to subscribe (the trial version is £1 for 4 weeks).

In May 2010, as the chief secretary in the UK’s coalition government, I warned that the choices available to us in Britain’s biggest postwar spending squeeze lay between the unpalatable and the disastrous, and that we were moving from an age of plenty to an age of austerity.

It has not been a bad prediction, by political standards.

At that time, public sector austerity was both necessary and deliverable. Necessary, because our budget deficit was an eye-watering £163bn, in excess of 10 per cent of gross domestic product. Deliverable, because the UK had only just ended an unprecedented expansion of public spending under the Blair and Brown governments.

Posted in LibLink | Also tagged | 23 Comments

David Laws and Paul Marshall boost Michael Gove’s leadership bid

I’m finally getting round to reading David Laws’ Coalition. I’m getting a very strong impression from Laws’ account of his time as Schools Minister that he found Michael Gove, and in particular his adviser Dominic Cummings, to be pretty exasperating. It was slightly surprising, therefore, to see Laws write a column for the Times (£) basically suggesting that Tory  MPs should keep in Gove in the leadership race.

He goes out of his way to back up Gove’s account of last week’s Boris-related shenanigans, when most of us think that he couldn’t just have decided on the spur of the …

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Laws: Cameron was frightened of Boris

David-LawsI just happened upon the tail end of Michael Crick’s Channel 4 programme about the relationship between Cameron and Boris. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of it. The programme contains an interview with David Laws in which he says that Cameron and Osborne were always very sensitive to what Boris was doing. Asked if he thought Cameron was frightened of Boris, David said “Yes.”

He also savaged the Prime Minister for putting the country through this referendum, taking such a huge gamble with the nation’s future,   purely to try to deal with the age-old split in his party.

Michael Crick wrote about his programme for the Radio Times site:

Some see Johnson’s declaration in favour of Brexit as another calculated move, albeit a huge gamble – one that almost matches Cameron’s big risk in holding the referendum in the first place. The friends and allies of 2005 are now seemingly adversaries to the death, as Cameron increasingly came to fear Johnson as the only man who could really destroy his leadership.

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Let’s express the passionate commitment of our united party

‘Divided parties don’t win elections.’ Those were the words of newly-elected London mayor Sadiq Khan, recorded in Saturday’s Guardian (14.05), asking his Labour Party for unity. Of course, if true the saying should equally apply to today’s Conservative Party, with its bitter infighting even at Cabinet level. Liberal Democrats can offer a saying arguably more telling – ‘A small party can help a divided major party form a governing coalition.’ A year after the Coalition Government ended, the road to 2020 may lie wide open.

We are a small party now, but we are not a minor party. Unlike other small parties we have many hundreds of councillors in England, with 45 more elected this month as our Fightback kicks in, and we have a voice and an impact beyond our eight MPs and our cohorts in the House of Lords. Liberalism has a proud history of almost 170 years of progressive service to the British people, reaching its latest peak with five years of shared power within the Coalition.

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David Laws highlights continuing threat of forced academisation

David Laws is quoted in today’s Independent. The former Schools Minister is discussing a Centre Forum analysis of the Government’s education white paper.

Centre Forum says that the Government’s alleged u-turn will just mean that the process will happen anyway as local authorities are taken out of the picture if it’s not viable to run schools if, for example, a critical mass has converted to academy status.

New analysis of the revised strategy, however, suggests this will have accumulative effect on schools – as more schools are converted, more local authorities will be taken over as a result.

In effect, 100 per cent of schools will still be converted into academies by the year 2020 as planned.

David Laws, Executive Chairman of CentreForum, who published the report, said: “Our initial analysis shows that their proposals for new ‘triggers’ that lead to forced academisation in a local authority will in all likelihood lead to thousands of schools becoming academies as a result.”

The think tank said the analysis was dependent on the Government’s definition of what constitutes as an “underperforming local authority”, however – a concept which has not yet been defined by the department.

“The definitions are vague,” the report noted, “and our own analysis has shown that relatively small changes could have implications for hundreds of schools.”

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