Nick Clegg hits back at Michael Gove over 'good Nick, bad Nick' attack


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The Independent Online

Nick Clegg has hit back at Michael Gove after being accused by the Education Secretary of having a split personality over the Government’s school reforms.

On Thursday, Mr Gove accused the Liberal Democrats of  criticising his policies to pander to teachers and other lost voters. He said “Good Nick”, an angel on one of Mr Clegg’s shoulders, supports Mr Gove’s changes, while "Wicked Nick” on his other shoulder, tells him: “Some of your more radical activists dislike it, so pander to them.”

During his LBC 97.3 radio phone-in yesterday, Mr Clegg insisted that both his shoulders "speak in perfect harmony". He said: "I think parents listening to this just couldn't give a damn about what one politician says to another when it comes to the schooling of their kids. What they want is good schools. I just think parents want politicians to get the basics right in education."

The Lib Dem leader declined to say whether Mr Gove had done a good job, saying: "I think we as a government have done some really, really good things."

In his first comments on Mr Gove’s decision to dismiss the Labour peer Sally Morgan as chair of Ofsted, Mr Clegg said her successor must be appointed on merit rather than political allegiance.

“There won’t be any politicisation of Ofsted," he promised. Mr Clegg insisted he was "not worked up" about whether particular individuals stayed in roles such as heading the schools inspectorate.