Page last updated at 20:17 GMT, Wednesday, 7 July 2010 21:17 UK

Education secretary 'sorry' over school building error

Education Secretary Michael Gove has apologised for errors in information released about a cancelled £55bn school building programme.

In a statement on 7 July 2010, Mr Gove said sorry for the way details of which projects would suffer as a result of the government's decision to axe the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme were provided to MPs on Monday.

He told Commons Speaker John Bercow: "I'm grateful to you and to the whole House for granting me the opportunity to make this statement, and once again to unreservedly apologise."

Mr Gove apologised for providing a list of affected schools to the Commons library rather than in the Commons chamber, and for "inaccurate information" on the list which meant some schools were wrongly categorised.

"In particular there were schools which were listed as proceeding, when in fact their re-build will not now go ahead," he said.

"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."

The comments led Labour MPs to shout "resign".

Shadow education minister Vernon Coaker thanked Mr Gove for "finally" apologising for the "serious errors" he had made in his statement on Monday.

"It is right that he has apologised to this House but he should also apologise to all the pupils and parents and teachers expecting new buildings who have now had them cruelly snatched away," Mr Coaker said.

"The chaos and confusion around this statement was frankly astonishing."

During his statement on Monday, Mr Gove read out details to some MPs of which schools would be axed from a list broken down by constituency.

But this infuriated many members who at first had to rely on a "bootleg" photocopy being circulated to find out if schools in their constituencies were closing. It later emerged that there were mistakes on the list.

Some 715 schools will see their rebuilding projects cancelled as a result of the government's decision to axe the Building Schools for the Future (BSF) programme.


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