They recognised that Mr Williamson would not be able to get away with phoney platitudes – or escape scrutiny about his own record and his suitability for high office.
Nevertheless, it is further evidence about how Ministers are failing the national interest by shunning scrutiny so frequently from Boris Johnson’s non-appearance before MPs over the lockdown decision; Health Secretary Matt Hancock ignoring correspondence on care homes to Mr Williamson now snubbing Britain’s most trusted newspaper.
And, more importantly, it leaves families no wiser about whether the Education Secretary is comfortable with Chancellor Rishi Sunak vetoing his department’s plan for catch-up funding for schools – the issue that prompted Sir Kevan Collins to quit as Education Recovery Commissioner.
This is a defining test of the London Government’s supposed levelling-up agenda. The children who need extra assistance are this country’s future. And Mr Williamson is supposed to be responsible for their education.
In that spirit, perhaps he’d like to explain why he was absent from key meetings when the Chancellor and Prime Minister discussed catch-up policy; why he did not resign in solidarity with Sir Kevan and whether his belief “that there will be more to come” in terms of funding is, in fact, another admission of failure to add to countless other policy blunders.
For, if Mr Williamson cannot provide adequate answers, it merely becomes even more baffling that such a weak Minister remains in office, ostensibly overseeing the most important domestic policy of all, when he is certainly not in power.
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