Government minister Jo Johnson has publicly denounced a No.10 former aide who attacked Justine Greening for blocking radical education reforms.
Boris Johnson’s brother hit out after Theresa May’s former chief of staff Nick Timothy claimed Greening was “unpopular with officials, she frustrated reformers, and she exasperated the Prime Minister”.
Greening was fired as Education Secretary this week and left the government after refusing a new post of Work and Pensions Secretary.
Johnson, who was himself moved to the Transport department from his post as universities minister in the reshuffle, tweeted that Timothy was ‘so wrong’ with his claims that Greening had undermined reforms of higher education.
In his column in the Daily Telegraph, May’s former aide was withering about the sacked minister, claiming that she opposed plans to cut student tuition fees.
Greening had privately made her opposition clear last year to even freezing the fees, a move she believed would benefit the better off most, and wanted to invest instead in maintenance grants to help poorer students.
But Johnson took the unprecedented step, for a sitting minister, of publicly attacking the PM’s ex chief-of-staff.
Timothy himself hit back with a tweet of his own suggesting Johnson had missed his point.
Timothy quit No.10 last year along with fellow chief of staff Fiona Hill after he was widely blamed for the disastrous social care policy in the Tory manifesto that was swiftly labelled a ‘dementia tax’ by Labour.
Greening irritated the former aide by also obstructing his plans to expand grammar schools and failing to push on the Free Schools programme installed by Michael Gove.
However many of Greening’s supporters say that she prevented even greater damage to the Tories’ image on education with her tough stances.
In her tense two-hour meeting with May on Monday, she is said to have claimed she was being scapegoated for the strong parental backlash in the general election against the schools cuts planned by the Treasury and approved by No.10.