Gavin Williamson may have been fired from the government but he has not been forgotten.
Lisa Nandy praised Nadim Zahavi on BBC Question Time on Thursday, saying that “no one could be worse” than her predecessor.
Zahavi was vaccine minister until Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s cabinet reshuffle last month, when he was promoted to education secretary, while Gavin Williamson was ousted.
Speaking to Jahvi, the shadow foreign secretary Nandi said: “You are new to the post of Education Secretary, and I am very glad to see you in that job, not least because you cannot be worse than your predecessor. “
Question Time host Fiona Bruce said: “Oh my god, that’s such a faint praise.”
Nandi continued, “But if you want to uplift this country, you have invested in its people.
“And when you’re spending more of the summer holidays eating out to help our kids catch up on their education after the worst global pandemic in a century, you really have to wonder where your priorities are. We need to see real action, not just more slogans of this government.”
Williamson became particularly infamous during his time as Secretary of Education, although he had already developed a certain reputation during his tenure as Secretary of Defense and Chief Whip.
He was particularly known for PR gaffes – and had recently forgotten his own A-levels while on the radio – but had become particularly unpopular when he took over the education sector during the pandemic.
In August last year, the exam season was in chaos as students were unable to sit for their general assessment due to the lockdown. Thousands missed university places before the then-education secretary backed out and accepted teachers’ grades for pupils.
Last December, he got into a futile battle with a council after he advised schools to close early for Christmas – even though Covid cases were on the rise at the time – and threatened legal action.
Williamson also faced accusations of racism after confusing footballer and child anti-poverty campaigner Marcus Rashford with rugby player Maro Etoje.