Court defeat for Gove in school battle

Michael Gove suffered an embarrassing defeat in the High Court yesterday over his decision to scrap much of the previous Government's school building programme.

Six councils successfully argued that the Education Secretary had broken the law by failing to consult them properly over his move to cancel much of the planned work.

Mr Justice Holman ruled that in five cases the failure was "so unfair as to amount to an abuse of power" and instructed Mr Gove to reconsider the decision in the six areas.

The move to axe much of the £55bn Building Schools for the Future (BSF) scheme has been highly contentious and provoked local protest campaigns. The challenge was brought by Waltham Forest, Luton, Nottingham, Sandwell, Kent and Newham councils.

Others local authorities were warned it was too late to mount an appeal over BSF, but the judgement could encourage those hit by other spending cuts to mount a judicial review.

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