New Education Secretary Gavin Williamson: I'll drive up standards in schools
Gavin Williamson has vowed to "drive up standards" in the country's schools after he was appointed Education Secretary by new Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
The South Staffordshire MP said he was passionate about delivering improvements to the country's education system, with Mr Johnson set to arm him with a war chest of an extra £4.6 billion per year for schools by 2022.
It seals a remarkable turnaround in fortunes for Mr Williamson, who was sacked as Defence Secretary in May following allegations he leaked confidential information – a claim he denies.
Mr Williamson told the E&S: "It is a massive privilege to be doing such an amazing role in education.
"It's something that is vital to the future of our country. It is amazing responsibility of trying to make sure we get the very best for everyone in education.
"It is clear to all that the Prime Minister sees education as being at the very heart of what the Government does. To be in this role and to be able to be part of delivering that agenda is something that really excites me."
'Education has always been a passion'
He said his priority in the role was to "drive up standards", adding: "Children only have one chance in education, I want to make sure that chance works for them.
"Education has always been a massive passion of mine, from the time I first became a school governor to serving on the education committee when I was a county councillor, to having a lot of family who work in education, it has always been something close to my heart
"I hope I can do a good service to make sure the children who are going through our schools, colleges and universities get the very best."
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Mr Williamson attended his first Cabinet meeting as Defence Secretary yesterday morning and said the Prime Minister had assembled a "strong" top table that was committed to "delivering Brexit, uniting the country and defeating Jeremy Corbyn" in a General Election.
"That's what this Cabinet is built for and that's what we are going to do," he added.
Mr Williamson, who led Mr Johnson's leadership campaign in the Commons, served as Chief Whip under Theresa May before she appointed him as Defence Secretary in November 2017.
He was written off in many quarters following his sacking in May, which saw him accused of leaking details from a national security council meeting relating to Chinese tech giant Huawei’s involvement in Britain’s 5G network.
Reflecting on the last three months, he said: "It's been a busy and interesting period – I genuinely wouldn't advise it to others.
"What's really shocked me is the overwhelming support I've had from so many people across South Staffordshire and the Black Country, who have been incredibly kind during some difficult moments."
Mr Williamson was educated at a comprehensive school in Scarborough and at the University of Bradford.
He is a past governor at Saint Thomas More Catholic Primary School in Great Wyrley.