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Jeremy Corbyn has repeatedly criticised Sir Keir Starmer in recent months when branded the Labour party’s decision to settle in court over an investigation into anti-Semitism “disappointing”. The former leader has also insisted his colleagues were “hostile” towards him from the beginning. But John McDonnell told John Pienaar on Times Radio that during Mr Starmer’s months as a leader he has “got it exactly right”.
He said: “Keir’s got this exactly right. He’s approached the Government in a constructive way and we’ve got to get through this crisis together.
“But he can’t help but point out failure after failure and people are getting pretty angry.
“He’s taking this Government on.
“What’s interesting is the Government itself has had to adopt many of the policices not just the ones we advocated for in the last general election, the investment etc but also the policies that we put to them in March to copy with this COVID crisis.
“The furlough scheme was our proposal, the support for small businesses, the self-employed – our proposals.
“I think he’s gaining the benefit of that.
“Of course with a new leader, the media will give you a much wider leeway to a large extent and of course he’s exploiting that, good for him.”
Sir Keir recently wrote in the Daily Mirror that the Conservatives’ handling of the situation “sums up their handling of this pandemic – incompetent”.
He said: “At a time of national emergency, this is no way to run a country.
“The Tories’ incompetence is holding Britain back from recovery.”
Shadow education secretary Kate Green has written to Mr Williamson with 15 questions, including asking when students will receive their new grades and whether there will still be a free appeals process.
She welcomed the Government having “finally reversed its position” after mounting calls from students, teachers and Conservative MPs.
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She added: “However, the confusion of the past few weeks, and delay in making these important decisions, mean there are now important outstanding issues on which students, parents and institutions need urgent clarity.”
Whether students who have accepted an offer based on their moderated grades can switch institutions and how universities will be supported by the move to scrap the temporary limit on places were among her queries.
She also called for Mr Williamson to confirm no universities will be “allowed to fail financially” as a result of the changes and for the Cabinet minister to set out the position for BTEC students’ grades.
In a statement, the Labour MP added: “This was a welcome and necessary change in policy, but we should never have been in this position as the government has had months to get this right.
“The delay and chaos accompanying means that students, families, and education providers have no answers to essential questions.”
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