07 July 2022

School is out at Department for Education with no ministers in post

07 July 2022

The Department for Education has no ministers in the run-up to GCSE and A-level results after Michelle Donelan quit as education secretary after less than 36 hours in the role.

In her letter of resignation, prompted by the scandal over former deputy chief whip Chris Pincher, she said that she was “very worried about the prospect of no ministers in the Department as we approach results’ day”, and that the “impact on students is real”.

She added that nonetheless she had pleaded with prime minister Boris Johnson on Wednesday to do the “right thing” for the country and resign, and that both the country and the Conservative Party were “more important than any one person”.

“In life we must always do what we believe is right,” she said in her letter to Mr Johnson.

“Above all I am here to serve the British public.

“I see no way that you can continue in post, but without a formal mechanism to remove you it seems that the only way that this is only possible is for those of us who remain in Cabinet to force your hand,” she said.

Michelle Donelan during her brief tenure as education secretary (Stefan Rousseau/PA) (PA Wire)

Ms Donelan said that Mr Johnson had put colleagues in an “impossible position” and that as someone who “values integrity above all else” she had no other choice but to leave post.

Caroline Johnson, vice-chairwoman of the party and a member of the Commons’ education select committee, has also left her post on Thursday morning, writing to Mr Johnson that the “cumulative effect of your errors of judgement and domestic actions have squandered the goodwill of our great party”.

On Thursday morning, Chancellor Nadhim Zahawi urged Mr Johnson to resign in the wake of the Pincher scandal which has caused multiple resignations across government.

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