Nicky Morgan came to parliament today to praise Michael Gove, not to bury him: ‘It is a privilege,’ she said, ‘to follow him in this role.’
Her first outing as Education Secretary was an unqualified success. She plodded amiably where Michael Gove had dazzled; but, nonetheless, she was effective.
The Opposition launched a well-orchestrated attack on the issue of childcare costs and availability. Morgan repelled it with ease using a selection of statistics, studies and policy initiatives. She also sought to empathise with working parents. In response to a question about the availability of childcare from Labour’s Jamie Reed, Morgan said: ‘As a working parent, I sympathise’, and she went on to mount a defence of the government’s policy in this area, citing evidence that there are 100,000 more childcare places available than there were in 2009.