Jo Johnson: PM's ex-aide 'so wrong' about Justine Greening

The new education secretary has a heavy in tray

Jo Johnson: PM's ex-aide 'so wrong' about Justine Greening

Prime Minister Theresa May has appointed a new Education Secretary who is supportive of faith schools after a Cabinet reshuffle led to the removal of his predecessor Justine Greening.

Hinds has been MP for East Hampshire since 2010 after replacing Michael Mates in the seat.

She had been offered the role after being replaced as Education Secretary by Damian Hinds in a cabinet reshuffle.

In November a year ago the bishops urged the Catholic community to petition Justine Greening to lift the "unfair" cap, after the Government stalled on making a decision concerning its withdrawal.

He does not speak for the Prime Minister, he does not speak for the Government'.

He denied allegations he had "orchestrated" Ms Greening's dismissal, but made no secret of his disdain for her record, accusing her of succumbing to a change-resistant educational establishment which he termed "the blob".

The cap effectively forces oversubscribed Catholic schools to turn away Catholic children once the threshold is reached and is therefore contrary to Canon Law, the Church argues. He is a long-time supporter of faith schools.

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The Bishop of East Anglia was particularly vocal, asking Catholics to write to their local MP as well as the Education Secretary.

Mr Johnson was appointed universities minister in May 2015 while Ms Greening became education secretary in July 2016.

It was understood that both officials in the Department for Education and the Prime Minister herself wanted to remove the cap that means 50 per cent of places at new faith schools must be given irrespective of faith.

Pressures over school funding and decisions about university tuition fees - which were widely credited for the rise in support for Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, after he promised to ditch them before the 2017 General Election which wiped out the Conservative's majority in Parliament.

The National Secular Society responded to his promotion by saying: 'This appointment could be bad news for inclusive education and social cohesion'.

The father of three came to prominence serving as a member of the Education Select Committee after entering the House of Commons almost eight years ago, and also chaired the All Party Parliamentary Groups for Social Mobility and Credit Unions.

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