Twice Sacked Sir Gavin Deserves Knighthood, Education Secretary Says

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Williamson and Zahawi (Photo: PA)
Williamson and Zahawi (Photo: PA)

Sir Gavin Williamson’s successor defended his knighthood today, saying he “deserves” the honour.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi cited Williamson’s work on skills and new technical qualifications called T-levels when quizzed about the gong.

Williamson’s knighthood was a surprise after he was twice sacked as a cabinet minister and oversaw the exams fiasco during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Zahawi told Sky’s Sophy Ridge On Sunday programme: “I’m going to say something to you which isn’t universally popular, I know, but being in a department, and you see this on my lapel here, it’s T-Levels, the Skills White Paper and the Skills Bill which is about to receive royal assent was Gavin Williamson’s work.

“When I was in the department under Theresa May, skills was considered the Cinderella part of the department.

“Gavin Williamson’s work on skills, T-Levels, the lifelong learning entitlement will transform the fortunes of young people in our country who may not want to go to university. For that alone I think he deserves that knighthood.”

Zahawi also declined to criticise Sir Gavin for cancelling exams during the pandemic, saying he had “very little choice”.

But Zahawi added: “The closure of schools, when I reflect on that, was a mistake and I’m on the record as saying that, and I will do everything in my power never again to close schools, and the Prime Minister absolutely agrees with me.”

T-levels are aimed at training workers in skills wanted by employers and are contained in the Skills and Post-16 Education Bill, which has yet to clear Parliament.

This article originally appeared on HuffPost UK and has been updated.

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