Building Schools for the Future

Part of Oral Answers to Questions — Work and Pensions – in the House of Commons at 3:33 pm on 14th February 2011.

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Photo of Michael Gove Michael Gove The Secretary of State for Education 3:33 pm, 14th February 2011

I am grateful to the right hon. Gentleman for the way in which he responds to the judgment. He refers to an abuse of power, but he will be familiar with the fact that "abuse of power" is a judicial term that has been in use since 1603 and, in particular, has been applied in judicial review cases since 1985. It has been applied to Cabinet Ministers on both sides of the House. It is a matter of open debate that judicial review is there to ensure that decisions taken by Cabinet Ministers can be reviewed in the Court. As I said, I was delighted that in this case, on the substantive points, the judicial review found in the Government's favour.

The right hon. Gentleman asks whether all relevant submissions will be published. All relevant submissions were disclosed in the proceedings and looked at by Mr Justice Holman. He had an opportunity, unlike the right hon. Gentleman, to read the evidence and concluded that the judgment that we made was entirely rational, and he backed us on the substance.

The right hon. Gentleman asks about legal advice that referred to the fact that councils had a strong case. That legal advice, as I have informed him and other right hon. and hon. Members, referred specifically to the 32 sample schools in the 14 local authorities that we consulted. All of those sample schools went ahead. The consultation was right and proper in that respect. I am afraid that, as is so often the case, he is misinformed, jumped to a conclusion and, as a result of asking a question to which he knows the answer is not the one he anticipated, has sadly made another mistake.

The judge acted in accordance with all the evidence and found that, on the substance, the right decision was taken. An opportunity now exists for me to review the decisions in the six local authority areas. As I have said before, I intend to do so in an open-minded way and to take advantage of the judge's direction in order to hear their case.