The education secretary Justine Greening has quit government after being moved from her post in today’s cabinet reshuffle.
She is understood to have made the decision after refusing a transfer over to the Department for Work and Pensions.
Ms Greening hinted afterwards on Twitter that a dispute over social mobility, presumably with Prime Minister Theresa May, was behind her departure.
Honour & privilege to serve in Govt since 2010. Social mobility matters to me & our country more than my ministerial career. I’ll continue to do everything I can to create a country that has equality of opportunity for young people & I’ll keep working hard as MP for Putney.
— Justine Greening (@JustineGreening) January 8, 2018
The MP for Putney, who has taken a close interest in technical education, had served in the role since July 2016, when she was drafted in by newly-appointed PM Theresa May.
News of her departure provoked many supportive messages from senior FE and wider education and political figures, including chief executive of the Association of Colleges David Hughes, and even shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.
— David Hughes (@AoCDavidH) January 8, 2018
I understand that @JustineGreening has resigned as Secretary of State for Education. Whilst l did not agree with her on a range of issues in our respective roles Justine always treated me with respect and dignity. I wish her well in the future in whatever path she chooses to take
— Angela Rayner (@AngelaRayner) January 8, 2018
Ms Greening has been a leading government voice on how the “gold standard” T-level qualifications should look, and on the need to get more employers actively involved with technical and vocational education reforms.
At the recent Skills Summit in London in December, in which Greening played a leading role, she used her speech to unveil a long-awaited T-levels consultation, and urged businesses and training providers to share views on how they should support the “skills revolution”.
She also ruled out T-levels at level two and would not budge on mandatory three-month work placements, no matter what emerges from a new public consultation.
She previously announced the first three T-levels in October, the same month she enthusiastically backed the further roll-out of degree apprenticeships at Conservative Party conference.
First elected to parliament in 2005, Greening joined the Conservative front bench as shadow minister for London in 2009.
Following the formation of the coalition government in May 2010, Greening, a former accountant, became economic secretary to the treasury.
She then entered the cabinet in October 2011 as transport secretary, a role she held until September the following year when she became international development secretary.
Greening replaced Nicky Morgan as both education secretary and minister for women and equalities on July 14 2016 after Theresa May won the Conservative Party leadership election and became prime minister.
See below for more tweets:
Very sorry to see @JustineGreening leave DfE & Govt. Clear she has a driving commitment to social mobility.
— Stephen Evans (@Stephen_EvansUK) January 8, 2018
Sorry to see @JustineGreening leave government – she brought her non-nonsense, northern accountant’s eye to every brief and is a real role model for LGBT+ Conservatives.
— Ruth Davidson (@RuthDavidsonMSP) January 8, 2018
— Heidi Allen (@heidiallen75) January 8, 2018