Robert Halfon sacked as skills minister

Mr Halfon 'wasn't really given a reason' for his dismissal by prime minister Theresa May

Will Martin

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Robert Halfon will not be reappointed as minister for apprentices and skills.

In a shock departure, Mr Halfon announced on Twitter that he would not be returning to the brief. "The prime minister has to make these decisions," Mr Halfon said. "I wasn't really given a reason."

Mr Halfon, MP for Harlow in Essex, was made skills minister in July 2016, and was expected to work alongside former sixth-form college student Justine Greening, who was reappointed as secretary of state for education on Sunday.

Mr Harlow was the first MP to hire an apprentice in 2010.

'I'm not going to criticise the prime minister'

Mr Halfon said that one thing he would not do was criticise Theresa May about her decision, but that it was important his vision for a "ladder of opportunity" was continued.

Mr Halfon said: "One thing I'm not going to do is I'm not the kind of person to start criticising the prime minister but I do believe that we need to start offering things to young people and one of those things is apprenticeships, technical skills, and to give them that ladder. We are the party of the ladder."

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Will Martin picture

Will Martin

Will is a junior reporter at TES

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