Trojan Horse row: Theresa May ‘breached ministerial code’ in Michael Gove feud over extremism in Birmingham schools

The Education Secretary has apologised and Ms May's special adviser resigned

Theresa May has been accused of breaching the ministerial code in the course of her feud with Michael Gove over the handling of Islamic extremism in schools, as Labour stepped up pressure on the Cabinet after a David Cameron crackdown.

William Hague said today that the Prime Minister wanted to restore “team discipline in the Government” following the clash, which has seen Mr Gove, the Education Secretary, apologise and one of Ms May’s most senior advisers resign.

But that wasn’t enough for her Labour counterpart, the shadow Home Secretary Yvette Cooper, who called for Ms May to come out and explain her actions.

She told BBC1's Andrew Marr Show: “We've seen the Education Secretary apologise, the special adviser to the Home Secretary resign, but we've so far heard nothing from the Home Secretary even though it looks pretty clear that she has breached the ministerial code by writing and then authorising the publication of this letter.

“Well the Prime Minister's responsible for enforcing the ministerial code. He needs to act and to make sure that that happens, at the same time as making sure they also address these more important issues about what's happening in schools and communities.”

The Home Secretary's special adviser Fiona Cunningham resigned following the investigation ordered by the Prime Minister into the bitter round of briefings and counter-briefings which overshadowed the Queen's speech.

The shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, called for Ms May to explain her actions (PA) The shadow Home Secretary, Yvette Cooper, called for Ms May to explain her actions (PA) Mr Gove wrote to apologise to the Prime Minister and senior Home Office official Charles Farr “in acknowledgement of his role” in the row.

Keith Vaz, chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, said Ms May would be called before MPs to be questioned about the “unseemly” situation.

He said there was also a “strong case” to hear from Ms Cunningham herself about why she stepped down.

“Counter terrorism requires a cohesive strategy. This unseemly row obscures the pressing issue of how to combat radicalism in schools.

“Communities hold the answer and the police must go into schools to tell children of the dangers of terrorism. Theresa May must also ensure that in the future there are no potential conflicts of interests that may impact on her decision-making.”

Ms May’s letter to the Education Secretary questioned his department's response to the Islamist “Trojan horse” allegations in Birmingham schools, and was released in retaliation for comments in The Times attributed to an unnamed source - but apparently Mr Gove himself - criticising counter-terrorism chief Charles Farr's approach to preventing the spread of extremism.

The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said the Government would be 'very robust, very clear about anything that puts children in our schools at risk of extremism' (PA) The Foreign Secretary, William Hague, said the Government would be 'very robust, very clear about anything that puts children in our schools at risk of extremism' (PA) Ms Cooper said: “I think Theresa May needs to come out publicly and answer what she did to publish this letter. The ministerial code says that ministerial correspondence and cabinet committees shouldn't be published, it should be private.”

Mr Cameron was understood to have been “deeply frustrated” about the row between two of the Government’s most senior Tories.

Underlining the strength of the response from No 10, Foreign Secretary William Hague said “the Prime Minister has dealt with [it] in a very firm and clear way”.

Ofsted will release reports into 21 schools in Birmingham at the centre of allegations tomorrow, with Mr Gove expected to make a Commons statement giving his response.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Developer - HTML, CSS, Javascript

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Graduate UI Application Developer - ...

Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager - Events, Digital, Offline

£45000 - £50000 per annum: Ashdown Group: B2B Marketing Manager (Events, Digit...

Guru Careers: Senior Account Manager / SAM

£30 - 35k: Guru Careers: A Senior Account Manager / SAM is needed to join the ...

Day In a Page

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine
Letterman's final Late Show: Laughter, but no tears, as David takes his bow after 33 years

Laughter, but no tears, as Letterman takes his bow after 33 years

Veteran talkshow host steps down to plaudits from four presidents
Ivor Novello Awards 2015: Hozier wins with anti-Catholic song 'Take Me To Church' as John Whittingdale leads praise for Black Sabbath

Hozier's 'blasphemous' song takes Novello award

Singer joins Ed Sheeran and Clean Bandit in celebration of the best in British and Irish music
Tequila gold rush: The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product

Join the tequila gold rush

The spirit has gone from a cheap shot to a multi-billion pound product
12 best statement wallpapers

12 best statement wallpapers

Make an impact and transform a room with a conversation-starting pattern
Paul Scholes column: Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?

Paul Scholes column

Does David De Gea really want to leave Manchester United to fight it out for the No 1 spot at Real Madrid?
Season's finale brings the end of an era for top coaches and players across the continent

The end of an era across the continent

It's time to say farewell to Klopp, Clement, Casillas and Xavi this weekend as they move on to pastures new, reports Pete Jenson
Bin Laden documents released: Papers reveal his obsession with attacking the US and how his failure to keep up with modern jihad led to Isis

'Focus on killing American people'

Released Bin Laden documents reveal obsession with attacking United States
Life hacks: The innovations of volunteers and medical workers are helping Medécins Sans Frontières save people around the world

Medécins Sans Frontières's life hacks

The innovations of volunteers and medical workers around the world are helping the charity save people
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?

Same-sex marriage

As date looms, the Irish ask - how would God vote?
The underworld is going freelance: Why The Godfather's Mafia model is no longer viable

The Mafia is going freelance

Why the underworld model depicted in The Godfather is no longer viable