Gillian Keegan caught saying ‘everyone sat on their asses’ over real-life crisis | Gillian Keegan

Gillian Keegan has apologized after she was caught swearing on camera while expressing frustration over the crumbling concrete crisis in schools, saying ‘everyone sat on their asses’ while she tried to solve the problem.

In a seemingly inconsiderate moment after a TV interview, the Education Secretary was filmed lamenting that no one had congratulated her for doing a “f***ing good job”.

After a series of tough questions from ITV News journalist Daniel Hewitt, Keegan said in exasperation: “Has anyone ever said, ‘You know what, you’ve done a damn good job, because everyone stood by and did nothing?’ ‘No sign of that, right?

It was unclear whether Keegan was referring to his cabinet contemporaries, his predecessors or Hewitt.

In a follow-up interview hours later, Keegan told broadcasters it was a “spontaneous remark after the interview was over”. She added: “I would like to apologize for my choice of language. It was useless.

Downing Street blamed her for the outburst, with Rishi Sunak’s spokesman saying it was “not acceptable” and it was true she later apologised. They declined to say whether the Prime Minister had ordered Keegan to apologise, but stressed he continued to have full confidence in her.

In his second interview, Keegan said his “sitting on their asses” comment wasn’t aimed at “anyone in particular.”

She took aim at her interviewer, who she said “acted like it was all my fault, and that’s what I was saying: Do you ever go into these interviews where someone says something else? that ‘you just did a terrible job’?”

It turned out she was on vacation in Spain for six days in late August. She is said to have been in contact with officials, chaired daily meetings and was back in the department when new Raac guidance was issued to schools on August 31.

Sources close to Keegan did not dispute that she had wanted to return home early, but was unable to do so due to widespread chaos at the airport.

Keegan’s handling of the crisis and the television gaffe were criticized by opposition parties. Keir Starmer said the whole situation was “devolving into a farce” and the government had “failed to prepare” properly.

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While Keegan had previously been praised for funding a deal with teachers over salaries, ending months of strike action, criticism of her response to the current crisis has been more mixed. Some conservatives say she has been complacent by repeatedly emphasizing that only a small proportion of school buildings are at risk of collapse.

She was criticized last month for suggesting that employers would not ask students about their A-levels in ten years’ time, the day students receive their results. It came amid a sharp drop in As and A*s, with critics accusing him of “adding insult to injury” on what was a heartbreaking day for many.

A former government adviser said of Keegan: “She has one of those really big personalities that can work well in certain contexts, but it’s a style that can be problematic when it collides with reality.” »

Keegan has served as Education Secretary since October and is the sixth person to hold the position since the 2019 election.

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