Opposition leader Andrew RT Davies has claimed that Leighton Andrews had to resign after first campaigning against a reduction in services at the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and then urging Rhondda Cynon Taff Council to look again at plans to close a school in his constituency.
After the failure of Carwyn Jones to endorse his Education Minister’s position during my questions to him today, it was inevitable that he had to go. The actions of the Education Minister - both over the Royal Glamorgan Hospital and now school closures - called into question not only the Education Minister’s judgement, but that of the First Minister himself.
Plaid Cymru's education spokesperson Simon Thomas had already called for the Education Minister to lose his role in deciding appeals against school closures on the grounds he had damaged his impartiality.
The Education Minister’s long-held position on school surplus places has been undermined by his actions and this undermines the Welsh Government as a whole. [His resignation] is the correct decision to take when collective cabinet responsibility has been abdicated and you find yourself arguing against your own policies.
A Welsh teaching union leader has expressed shock at Leighton Andrews' resignation and concern at the need to find an able successor at a time when Welsh education's performance is about to be tested both by pupils' exam results and by the international PISA comparisons of schools' achievements.
We are shocked by the sudden resignation of Leighton Andrews as Education Minister. Although we have not always seen eye to eye with him over education issues no one could doubt his commitment to improve the performance of the Welsh education system. Wales is now at a critical point on the path of reform and renewal. It is vital that Mr Andrews' successor is both credible, and more importantly, competent. With PISA looming, and GCSES and A level results pending, we need someone who commands the confidence of the profession and parents.
The Conservative Wales Office minister Stephen Crabb has posted on twitter his reaction to Leighton Andrews' resignation.
Leighton Andrews has been one of the most effective and committed Ministers in the Welsh Labour Government and it’s a matter of great regret that he has felt it necessary to resign due to a conflict between his role as Education Minister in the Assembly Government and as a constituency AM. However, I know Leighton will continue to represent his Rhondda constituents robustly and passionately and will remain an excellent advocate for Welsh Labour values in the National Assembly.**
Former Welsh Secretary Peter Hain describes the resignation of Leighton Andrews as 'catastrophic for Welsh Labour.' Fellow Welsh Labour MP Wayne David also tweeted that he was 'flabbergasted.' Even Conservative MP Alun Cairns paid tribute to Mr Andrews.
Leighton Andrews resigning is catastrophic for Welsh Labour incredibly able and dynamic Education Minister refused to accept low standards
Am flabbergasted! @leightonandrews has resigned as Welsh Education Minister. "Apparent conflict" re his educ policy and ints of local school
Leighton Andrews' resignation feels like a water-shed moment for Labour almost up there with Alun Michael's 12 years ago.
very sorry to see @leightonandrews resign as Welsh Education Minister - he has been a strong voice for Wales in the education debate
Leighton Andrews, Minister for Education and Skills has made a great contribution to the higher education sector. We wish him well for the future and looking forward to working with his successor.
Thank you for your letter. It is with great regret that I accept your resignation. I recognise very well that there is sometimes tension between the role of a Government Minister and the demands of a constituency Assembly Member. The Ministerial code aims to define the boundaries between the two roles and, on this occasion, I believe those roles were confused. It is for that reason, and that reason alone, that I accept your resignation as Education Minister.
As a Minister you have played a vital part in delivering the agenda of this government and the previous administration. I am enormously grateful for your contribution. As Education Minister you have promoted a dynamic education agenda with a high emphasis on standards and achievement. The impact of your approach has been to emphasise that second best can never be good enough for our children and young people. You have every reason to take pride in your achievements in Government and I share that pride wholeheartedly with you.
As I said at our meeting, I have high regard for your skills and abilities and I very much hope that you may be able to serve the Welsh Government again in the future. I am grateful for the continuing support you have offered to the Welsh Government.
It has been a great privilege to serve in your Cabinets since your appointment as First Minister in December 2009 ... I have also been pleased to have had the opportunity to convene the Yes for Wales campaign on your behalf in 2011 and to contribute to the successful campaign which led to your election victory in May 2011 and to a Labour Government.
I am proud of the steps which we have taken which will strengthen the education system, including our new literacy and numeracy framework, the Schools Standards Act, the creation of a smaller number of stronger higher education institutions and our new higher education policy, the Welsh Language strategy and the steps we are taking to establish Qualifications Wales as the core of a modern qualifications system for Wales.
As you know, I have [been] and remain a passionate advocate of my Rhondda constituency. I regret that my commitment to my constituents may have led me to an apparent conflict which has led to difficulty for your government. I therefore feel that I have no option but to offer you my resignation today. Your government will of course have my consistent and continuing support.
With best wishes
Leighton Andrews AM
Minister for Education and Skills
The Education Minister, Leighton Andrews has resigned from the Welsh Government. He's told the First Minister that an apparent conflict over his commitment to his constituents has led to difficulty for the government which has left him with no option but to resign.