Michael Gove’s opposite number, Stephen Twigg, has reportedly become one of the most high-profile casualties of Labour’s shadow Cabinet reshuffle this afternoon having lost his seat on the front bench today.
Mr Twigg was appointed as Labour’s education spokesperson back in October 2011 taking over from a short and relatively fruitless 12 month stint by Andy Burnham.
The MP for Liverpool and West Derby enjoys one of the safest seats in the country, but has struggled to make his mark against Mr Gove. Despite having worked as schools minister under Tony Blair, Mr Twiggf has faced mounting criticism for his inability to land a sizeable hit on Mr Gove, who will now face his fourth Labour education spokesman in less than three and a half years.
Mr Twigg was even the subject of a continuing twitter campaign called #GoTwiggGo, which effectively called on the politician to resign and which was led, on the whole, by NUT members. One user called The Govertaker tweeted on hearing rumours that Mr Twigg was in line to lose his position in the shadow Cabinet said: “Very pleased to hear that Twigg could be sacked from the Shadow cabinet he has failed to oppose Gove at every opportunity #GoTwiggGo”.
The 46-year-old had spent the majority of his tenure as shadow education secretary working on vocational education, focusing on what he described as the “forgotten 50 per cent” of young people who do not go to university.
Current Shadow Schools Minister Tristram Hunt is the man announced to replace Mr Twigg. As to what can be expected from Mr Hunt time will tell …
Meanwhile, one of the most eye-catching announcements from the coalition’s reshuffle did not involve a politician at all, but instead centred around the news that Dominic Cummings, Mr Gove’s special adviser and closest political confidante, was leaving his role in January. It is understood Mr Cummings is considering a number of different options, including being involved in setting up a free school.