11/06/2013 09:49 BST | Updated 11/06/2013 10:16 BST

Michael Gove Tells Diane Abbott He Loves Her During GCSE Debate

Michael Gove has raised eyebrows in Parliament by declaring his love for Labour left-winger Diane Abbott.

The Education Secretary was fielding questions on his GCSE reforms when Abbott, the Hackney MP, rose to speak.

She said it was often assumed that tough traditional exams were not suitable for working class children.

"It is precisely if you don't have parents to put in a word for you in a tough jobs market..that you need the assurance of rigorous qualifications," she said.

Gove replied: "Mr Speaker, I am in love.

"The Honorable Lady is absolutely right. If I had been a member of the Labour Party, I would have voted for her as leader."

'Mr Speaker, I am in love'

Speaker John Bercow told Abbott: "I hope the Honorable Lady can recover from that."

The new GCSEs would be "more challenging, more ambitious and more rigorous", Gove told MPs.

The proposals include axing coursework in the majority of subjects, introducing end-of-course exams, curtailing re-sits and overhauling the grading system.

This could mean scrapping current A*-G grades and replacing them with a numbered system.

Shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg said: "Pupils and parents will be concerned by the uncertainty that Michael Gove has created around GCSEs."