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Timeline: May and Gove's row over Birmingham schools

The row between Theresa May and Michael Gove over the handling of the allegations of an Islamist plot to takeover the running of Birmingham schools has led to the resignation of a close aide to the Home Secretary and an apology from the Education Secretary.

Here are some of the key developments in the feud between the Cabinet colleagues:

  • November 2013: Mr Gove and Mrs May's dispute began when the Education Secretary called for the definition of extremism to be broadened so more hardline organisations were covered. Mrs May refused, leaving Mr Gove taking his argument to the Prime Minister.
  • June 4 2014: On the day of the Queen's Speech, The Times reveals the extent of the row between the ministers. Mrs May questioned whether Mr Gove's department knew about the allegations in 2010 and asked: "If so, why did nobody act?" The duo issue a joint statement in a bid to dampen the story.
  • June 5 2014: David Cameron vows to "get to the bottom" of the spat.
  • June 6 2014: It emerges Cabinet Secretary Sir Jeremy Heywood is investigating the row for the PM.
  • June 7 2014: Mrs May's special adviser Fiona Cunningham quits over comments in The Times and Mr Gove writes a letter of apology.

De Piero: Departed Theresa May aide 'hung out to dry'

Labour's shadow minister for women and equalities has criticised David Cameron after Home Office adviser Fiona Cunningham resigned over a row about alleged Islamist radicalism in schools.

Gloria De Piero questioned why Michael Gove had apparently not been punished for "unauthorised comments" to newspapers, while the young aide had resigned.


Cooper questions May over leaked letter

Shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper has questioned whether Theresa May authorised the leaking of a letter she wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The private letter appeared in the media and seemed to show Ms May questioning Mr Gove's handling of alleged extremism in some Birmingham schools.

Aide resignation follows 'unauthorised' press comments

Downing Street says the resignation of the Home Secretary's aide Fiona Cunningham follows "unauthorised comments" made to a newspaper during a row over alleged extremism in Birmingham schools.

"In relation to unauthorised comments to the media about the Government's approach to tackling extremism and the improper release of correspondence between Ministers, the Prime Minister has received the Cabinet Secretary's review establishing the facts behind these events.

"In acknowledgement of his role, today, the Secretary of State for Education has written separately to Charles Farr and the Prime Minister apologising for the original comments made to the Times newspaper.

"In addition, in relation to further comments to the Times, Fiona Cunningham has today resigned."

Gove apologises as Home Office adviser resigns

Fiona Cunningham has resigned following amid an investigation into the row.

Education Secretary Michael Gove has apologised to Home Office counter-terror chief Charles Farr and to David Cameron over his row with Home Secretary Theresa May, whose special adviser Fiona Cunningham has resigned, Downing Street said.

Gove set to face awkward questions

Michael Gove has said he will not be standing down. Credit: Tim Goode/EMPICS Entertainment

Falling out with the Home Secretary was not exactly what you would call a good start to this new parliamentary session for Michael Gove

And next week there may be some very awkward questions for the Education Secretary when those reports are published into alleged Islamification in some Birmingham schools.

Nevertheless, he does have a lot of support from the Prime Minister, who is seen as a very close ally of Mr Gove, and I do not think there is any suggestion at the moment that his job is on the line.


Government defends 'unfit' school inspections

The Department for Education has defended school inspections criteria against criticism from the opposition after students were allegedly exposed to extremism in Birmingham.

A spokeswoman for the department said: "All schools, including academies and free schools, are required to offer a broad and balanced curriculum.

"Ofsted's inspectors already consider how this is delivered and pupils' social, cultural, and moral development when deciding a school's rating."

Gove denies he's stepping down over 'Trojan schools'

Education secretary Michael Gove was asked if he had considered his position today, in the wake of a report into an educational trusts failure to protect pupils from risks of extremism.

The minister replied to ITV News Political correspondent Libby Wiener by saying "No."

The Policy Exchange event, in which Gove spoke of his plans to end illiteracy within a generation, was quickly wrapped up after the question regarding his position was asked.

Labour: Ofsted inspection criteria 'not fit for purpose'

Labour's shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt said the current inspection criteria was "not fit for purpose" and should be extended to ensure problems like the concerns around protecting children from extremism do not emerge again. Speaking to Radio 4's Today programme, he said:

I don't think the inspection criteria is fit for purpose, in the kind of schooling we want. We want a much broader criteria to ensure that we don't have these problems arise.

He also called for a local oversight of schools, with directors on the ground in charge of driving school standards in a bid to avoid the problems affecting schools in Birmingham.

You can't run all these schools from behind a desk in Whitehall so we need local systems of oversight and accountability.

We need a local director of school standards so we don't end up like the kind of situation we're seeing in Birmingham which is of national significance.

Labour: State schools need 'balanced' curriculum

Labour has called for a new inspection requirement for state schools to deliver a "broad and balanced" curriculum, in the wake of claims that Islamist extremists attempted to influence teaching in a set of schools in Birmingham.

Shadow education secretary Tristram Hunt accused Michael Gove of allowing education to be "skewed", school staff subjected to gender discrimination and children exposed to extremist views in Birmingham, and called on him to come to the Commons on Monday to explain his actions to MPs.

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