UK News

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan says sorry and admits she is ‘frustrated’ after No10 rebukes her for hot mic moment snapping at ITV crew grilling her over concrete chaos engulfing schools

Gillian Keegan issued a grovelling apology today after an extraordinary foul-mouthed rant while she was being grilled about the concrete crisis on TV.

The Education Secretary said sorry for her ‘choice language’ after being caught on camera venting her frustration during an an interview with ITV News.

In a clip posted on the X social media site, Ms Keegan seemed unruffled and thanked the journalist as they wrapped up the questioning.

But the footage kept rolling as the clearly angry minister remarked: ‘Does anyone ever say, you know what you’ve done a f***ing good job because everyone else has sat on their a** and done nothing? No signs of that, no?’

It is unclear who Ms Keegan was criticising for ‘sitting on their a**’. She took over as Education Secretary from Kit Malthouse in October last year, which was long after concerns had first been raised about Raac.

Rishi Sunak has been under fire for curbing spending on upgrading school buildings, while Ms Keegan also hit out at Labour for failing to take action when it was in power before 2010. 

No10 distanced itself from Ms Keegan’s eruption, branding it ‘wrong’ – and she later recorded another interview apologising.

She said she had been referring to ‘no-one in particular’ with the jibe about others being lazy, and was ‘frustrated’ at the journalist ‘making out it was all my fault’, as well as at schools being slow to supply information about Raac. 

‘I would like to apologise for my choice language, it was unnecessary,’ she said.

‘I apologise for the language, but it is something that I am very keen to make progress on.’

Gillian Keegan was caught on camera venting her frustration as she finished giving an interview to ITV News

A taped off section inside Parks Primary School in Leicester which has been affected by the Raac crisis

A taped off section inside Parks Primary School in Leicester which has been affected by the Raac crisis 

The TV crew seemed slightly taken aback by her outburst, as she stared at the reporter. 

Typically comments made before an interview starts and after it finishes are regarded as off the record.

However, ITV pointed out on X that Ms Keegan was still wearing her mic and they were about to film extra shots when the exchanges happened this morning. 

‘In the moments after the main body of the interview had finished, and as the camera repositioned for extra shots, Keegan – still wearing her mic – criticised others and claimed the govt has gone ‘over and above’ in addressing concerns relating to Raac,’ ITV said. 

Ms Keegan has endured a painful day as she toured studios trying to put the government’s case about the developing shambles.

She was accused of going missing after the crisis dramatically escalated on Thursday night, sending schools minister Nick Gibb out for the morning broadcast round the following day.

And Chancellor Jeremy Hunt was the one facing a quiz on the Sunday politics shows. Ms Keegan is due to make a statement to the Commons this afternoon as it returns from the summer break. 

How and when did evidence come to light on the concrete scandal?

• 1950s up to the mid-1990s – RAAC, a lightweight building material, is used

• 1995 – The Times newspaper reports the first warnings about RAAC cracking in roofs came in

• 2018 – The Department for Education (DfE) considers RAAC as a potential issue

• June 2023 – Problems were highlighted in a report by the National Audit Office (NAO)

• Summer 2023 – Schools minister Nick Gibb says fresh evidence came to light

• August 31, 2023 – Parents are informed some schools will be forced to close

More than 100 schools are having to fully or partially shut after alarm was raised about RAAC in buildings – a lightweight type of concrete that was used from the 1950s to the 1990s, but it is now believed can collapse without warning.

Thousands of children in England are facing the prospect of online lessons as they return for the start of the new academic year today. 

Ms Keegan looked visibly uncomfortable as she was grilled by Good Morning Britain host Susanna Reid in another interview.

Sitting alongside fellow presenter Ed Balls – a former secretary of state for education – Ms Reid said: ‘This is a mess, isn’t it?’

Ms Keegan tried to explain that three ‘incidents’ occurred – some not in schools – where in one a roof panel had fallen at a ‘non-critical’ site towards the end of August.

‘I didn’t want to risk this happening anywhere,’ she said. ‘So I change the guidance on non-critical roofs to say we had to do the same with critical ones, which is prop them up or get temporary accommodation in place.

‘I do understand that for parents and the headteachers who are affected that was last minute, but you can only act on the evidence when it emerges.’

Interrupting her, Ms Reid pointed to an ITV investigation in March where it was found 68 schools were aware it had RAAC  – a lightweight form of concrete used between the 1950s and 1990s – and could be at risk with more than 1,500 in the dark, with 2,000 still to have an inspection.

Ms Reid said: ‘That was back in March, we are now in September and you won’t know the full scale of this until the end of the year. Daniel [Hewitt, ITV reporter] said at the time in March that he had not had an interview with the Department for Education.

‘We bid for an interview with you or one of your ministers back in March and could not get anywhere with this. It seems remarkable that now the first day of term we are in the situation we are in when you knew the full scale of this back in March.’

Ms Keegan’s rant was branded a ‘staggering display of arrogance’ and an ‘insult to families’ by Labour.

Shadow Schools Minister Stephen Morgan blasted the Education Secretary following her furious rant today, recorded by a film crew.

Speaking to MailOnline, Portsmouth South MP Mr Morgan said: ‘This extraordinary outburst is an insult to frightened families who still don’t know whether their children’s schools are safe – and an admission that the Conservatives have done nothing to address a problem that they have known about for years.

‘The Education Secretary has displayed staggering arrogance for saying she deserves a pat on the back for the chaos that is gripping our schools on her watch.

‘Families, school leaders and school staff deserve an immediate apology for these appalling comments.’

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan was grilled by Good Morning Britain's Susan Reid over the crumbling concrete crisis that has impacted schools

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan was grilled by Good Morning Britain’s Susan Reid over the crumbling concrete crisis that has impacted schools

Gillian Keegan’s history of bloopers 

Gillian Keegan is seen as one of the most engaging ministers in TV interviews – but she can end up in hot water.

The MP, who left school at 16 and did an apprenticeship before forging a successful business career, can sometimes be too direct for her own good. 

As she toured studios to talk about the pay dispute with teachers, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that she was wearing a £10,000 Rolex.

She retorted that the criticism was an example of class prejudice. 

As she toured studios to talk about the pay dispute with teachers, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that she was wearing a £10,000 Rolex

As she toured studios to talk about the pay dispute with teachers, eagle-eyed viewers noticed that she was wearing a £10,000 Rolex

In August 2020 then-skills minister Ms Keegan came under fire for going on holiday during GCSE and A-Level results.

She said the exams were not her direct responsibility, and although she was meant to be the minister on duty she had received special permission to work remotely. 

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button

Adblocker Detected

Hello! We hope you're having a great time exploring our website. If you could kindly disable your adblocker, it would mean the world to us and help us buy a cup of coffee. Thank you!