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Listen: Angela Rayner’s disastrous turn on LBC – ‘you should have had that number!’

Last week it was Diane Abbott who was caught on the hoof by Nick Ferrari when she took to the airwaves to unveil Labour’s policing policy. Unable to give the correct figures regarding how much her party’s plan to put more police on the beat would cost, the shadow home secretary seemed woefully unprepared for office.

Today it was the turn of Angela Rayner, the shadow education secretary. Speaking on LBC, she said a Labour government would put £5.6billion into schools in the next Parliament. While Rayner ought to be congratulated for getting the funding figure right (a feat beyond Diane Abbott), she went on to exhibit a dismaying lack of knowledge regarding the specifics of the policy.

With Labour pledging to reduce class sizes to under 30, Ferrari asked how many children it would affect. It turns out that Rayner had no idea:

AR: Well, there’s differences, there’s variants in terms of class sizes over 30. There’s even some that are over 40…

NF: … what number of pupils are we talking about?

AR: Well, there’s quite a substantial number of pupils. I haven’t got the numbers on hand, Nick. But it is quite substantial.

NF: Are we talking about 50 children, 5,000 children, five million?

AR: It’s a significant number. It’s not 500 or 5000 — it’s significant.

NF: You’ve said that three times. Do you not think it would be a good idea to have a sense of how many children we’re talking about… you are the shadow education secretary.

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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