Gavin Williamson defends taking holiday during A-levels crisis, saying he was 'in constant communication' with aides

George Martin
·2 mins read
Gavin Williamson photographed in his office at the Department of Education after the crisis. (Getty)
Gavin Williamson photographed in his office at the Department of Education after the crisis. (Getty)

Gavin Williamson has defended his decision to go on holiday during the A-level exams fiasco earlier this month.

The education secretary has faced searing criticism for his handling of the crisis after the government was forced to perform an embarrassing U-turn on its grading system.

Despite frantic preparations for A-level results day on 13 August, The Sunday Times reported that Williamson took a week-long holiday to the seaside town of Scarborough until 9 August.

He also allegedly cancelled a crucial meeting to make the Yorkshire getaway possible.

Students from Codsall Community High School march to Williamson's constituency office. (Getty)
Students from Codsall Community High School march to Williamson's constituency office. (Getty)

But Williamson defended the trip on social media on Sunday, claiming he was “in constant communication with the department [of education]” while visiting family.

“I cancelled our family holiday abroad this year to focus on the challenges COVID-19 created for the education sector,” he tweeted

“Over the summer, I went to see family in Scarborough for the first time since lockdown, and while there I was in constant communication with the department.”

It comes as Gillian Keegan, a Tory education minister, was also criticised on Sunday after sharing photographs of herself in France on Instagram as the results drama unfolded.

Keegan, 52, revealed on Instagram on August 6 that she was staying in Courchevel, an Alpine resort popular with the wealthy.

She posted a series of photos on her social media account over the next few days and even uploaded a photo on the day that A-level results were released.

Williamson was further criticised after he appeared to have “liked” several of Keegan’s pictures.

Labour MP Neil Coyle told the Mail on Sunday: “Gavin Williamson’s incompetence truly knows no bounds.

“Young people who have been put through hell over the last few weeks will be disgusted to learn that one of the ministers involved in this mess has been living it up on holiday in France.

“But instead of Mr Williamson recognising he needed all hands on deck as this exam disaster loomed, he not only let her swan off on holiday, he even liked her holiday snaps.”