Michael Gove admits to 'many' mistakes in government

27th November 2016 at 11:20
Michael Gove mistakes education secretary
Michael Gove regards mistakes in announcing the cancelling the Building Schools for the Future programme as being among his worst errors in government

It may come as no surprise to Michael Gove's critics in the teaching profession, but the former education secretary has admitted to having made “many” mistakes during his time as a government minister.

And it was one experience during his time at the helm of the Department for Education that he has highlighted as one of his biggest errors of all.

Asked on the The Andrew Marr Show this morning about his worst mistake, he replied: “I don’t know, there were so many.”

However, Mr Gove later identified the controversial axing of the Building Schools for the Future programme as one example. “One I did fess up to, which happened relatively early on when I was education secretary, was cancelling Building Schools for the Future," he said. "And there it was not so much that it was wrong to try and save public money, it was done in a crass and insensitive way, and it taught me a lesson.”

'You learn from your mistakes'

The Building Schools for the Future school buildings scheme, introduced by the previous Labour government, was cancelled by Mr Gove in 2010 in a bid to save money. 

However a list he read out in the House of Commons, outlining which projects were to be scrapped, subsequently turned out to contain several errors, with several school rebuilds listed as going ahead when in fact they had been cancelled.

He later told MPs: "That confusion caused members of this house and members of the public understandable distress and concern, and I wish to take full personal responsibility for that regrettable error."

Speaking to Mr Marr today, Mr Gove recalled how David Davies, the current Brexit secretary, had come up to him at the end of what had been "a very bruising experience" in the House of Commons, and told him he would be “a better minister for this, because you learn from your mistakes”.

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