Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather

Ed Balls took time out from holding Michael Gove to account at the weekend to turn his ammo on Gove's deputy Sarah Teather, who has thus far escaped censure for the schools cuts - and who it now emerges lobbied her boss to give preferential treatment to schools in her Brent Central constituency and spare them the Building Schools for the Future axe.

Ed Balls took time out from holding Michael Gove to account at the weekend to turn his ammo on Gove’s deputy Sarah Teather, who has thus far escaped censure for the schools cuts – and who it now emerges lobbied her boss to give preferential treatment to schools in her Brent Central constituency and spare them the Building Schools for the Future axe.

Following the Sunday Times’s revelations yesterday that Teather had secretly met Gove to discuss the fate of two Academy building projects in her constituency – shortly before an announcement was made to give them a reprieve – Balls said:

“… it is brazen hypocrisy of Sarah Teather to expect her colleagues to face public anger about cuts to their local school building programmes, while using her position as Michael Gove’s deputy to try to protect herself in her own constituency. She seems happy to go along with the cancellation of over 700 schools in other constituencies, but only as long as hers are protected.

“Very few MPs whose constituencies have been affected were granted meetings with Michael Gove and people will understandably ask why Sarah Teather and the Conservative MP who threatened to march on Downing Street saw a number of their local schools reprieved while Labour MPs in Sandwell, one of the hardest-hit areas, were sent away from their meeting with nothing.

“Michael Gove must explain how he decided which projects would go ahead, publish all the relevant documents and explain to Parliament what criteria, if any, were used.”

In March, Teather was cleared by the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner over expense abuses on a technicality after serious questions were raised over the rental agreement Teather and the Lib Dems have in her constituency office; in January, Political Scrapbook exposed how Teather had charged £1,700 of Liberal Democrat furniture, insurance and telephone bills to expenses.

Scrapbook revealed:

Despite strict rules stating that “claims cannot relate to party political activity of any sort” bills addressed to “Lib Dems”, “Brent Liberal Democrats” and “Brent East Lib Dems” were charged to Teather’s expenses, including invoices for furniture, insurance and telephone maintenance.

The accounts for Brent Liberal Democrats show that the party pays nothing in rent, telephone, insurance and electricity charges, despite sharing such facilities with the Brent East MP.

Elsewhere, this morning’s Guardian reports the Department for Education’s own assessment which shows how the BSF cuts will hit the poorest hardest.

• The impact assessment can be downloaded in full here.

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22 Responses to “Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather”

  1. Aidan Skinner

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather: http://bit.ly/boXovw

  2. PEN

    Ed Balls attacks what he calls the “brazen hypocrisy” of Lib Den Schools Minister Sarah Teather: http://bit.ly/boXovw

  3. Shamik Das

    On @leftfootfwd this morning: Boris: Immigration cap “a shambles”: http://is.gd/f8nOs & @EdBallsMP attacks Sarah Teather: http://is.gd/f8nNo

  4. Dr Shibley Rahman

    RT @shamikdas: On @leftfootfwd this morning: Boris: Immigration cap “a shambles”: http://is.gd/f8nOs & @EdBallsMP attacks Sarah Teather: http://is.gd/f8nNo

  5. Andy Sutherland

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather: http://bit.ly/boXovw

  6. ray turner

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather: http://bit.ly/boXovw

  7. anyleftiwonder

    And she always looks like butter wouldn’t melt.

  8. TonyCross

    http://bit.ly/boXovw Spot on. Teather covers her arse. So Gove old chap how did you decide which projects to cancel. Paper-Stone-Scissors?

  9. paul barker

    The classic old smear technique, she was cleared therefore she was guilty. Not so much “Guilty till proven Innocent” as “Guilty even after proven Innocent”.

  10. X phonetically!

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather http://bit.ly/boXovw

  11. yorkierosie

    RT @TonyCross: http://bit.ly/boXovw Spot on. Teather covers her arse. So Gove old chap how did you decide which projects to cancel. Pape …

  12. Pen

    RT @TonyCross: http://bit.ly/boXovw Spot on. Teather covers her arse. So Gove old chap how did you decide which projects to cancel. Pape …

  13. emma dow

    RT @leftfootfwd: Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather: http://bit.ly/boXovw

  14. rolandhorne

    Sarah Teather getting a good dressed down today from @edballsmp http://tinyurl.com/2voeabz

  15. Mark Pack

    Shamik: Sarah Teather wasn’t cleared on “a technicality” but cleared because a series of allegations were looked into and no evidence found to support them by either the Electoral Commission or the Parliamentary Standards Commissioner – see the quotes and sources at http://www.libdemvoice.org/sour-grapes-guido-18630.html

  16. Shamik Das

    Hi Mark – thanks for commenting. If we’re gonna go down that route, why, one must ask, did Sarah make so much of the ‘Dawn Butler expenses scandal’, when, ‘officially’, she too was ‘cleared’ – the Legg report found that she had “no issues”. Officially, she too is clean…

  17. Mr. Sensible

    Teather will not be able to escape the fact that she, like her coleagues, did a complete about turn on cuts, and on the ‘Free Schools.’

  18. Mark

    Liberal Democrat MP fights for their consituency – shock, horror.

  19. Sarnie

    Good to see Sarah Teather face overdue heat. RT @leftfootfwd: Balls turns fire on “brazen hypocrisy” of teflon Teather: http://bit.ly/boXovw

  20. Mark Pack

    Shamik: What was different about Dawn Butler was that she did various things that were within the rules, but even so still reasonable to criticise – for example, the way she used expenses with a home that wasn’t in her constituency or next to Parliament but in a third location.

    Same criticism applies to other MPs who did this too, including most notoriously Malcolm Rifkind, who was a London MP but claimed travel to and from his home in Scotland.

    For both of them it may have been within the rules but they should have known better and taken better care of public funds. In Sarah Teather’s case the point is that allegations were made that weren’t true; in both Butler and Rifkind’s cases the travel claims aren’t disputed.

  21. Alec Speight

    Do NOT let her get away with this ( http://bit.ly/bPlrvp )

  22. Teflon Teather's u-turn in the sky | Left Foot Forward

    […] the election as a means of protecting Caribbean voters. As the Willesden & Brent Times reports: Sarah Teather, Lib Dem MP for Brent Central [and now an education minister], led a high profile petition […]

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