10 Jun '14

News Tristram Hunt: 'It's chaos, with free schools landing in the middle of nowhere'

The shadow education secretary is learning to use stronger language when attacking his adversary, Michael Gove. But can he persuade voters that Labour's education policies are anything other than tepid, or Tory-lite?As Labour ponders its iffy performance in recent elections and opinion polls, MPs and commentators inevitably speculate as to who could be the party's next leader. Also inevitably, the shadow education secretary, Tristram Hunt, is on several lists. Elected in 2010, elevated to the shadow cabinet only in October, and just turned 40, he could hardly be a fresher face. He also offers charm, telegenic good looks and a middle-class background.So how does he rate his prospects? He laughs. "A poll in the Mail on Sunday said I was considered more stupid and uncommunicative than any other Labour frontbencher." (In fact, the poll covered just five possible candidates and asked voters to rate them for intelligence and being "in touch".) But would he like to be leader? He shakes his head, a little irritably. "I don't want to get into it. I know the way these things are played out." Then he tells me, as he does several times more, that Ed Miliband is making "a really big critique" of "the existing model of political economy". If that seems a rather academic way of putting it, it's because Hunt has a Cambridge PhD in history and several learned books to his name including a biography of Engels, a study of the English civil war and the newly published Ten Cities That Made an Empire and he still lectures at Queen Mary, University of London. Continue reading...

Read the full story in Guardian Education
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