Pat Glass: 8 facts about the new shadow education secretary
Pat Glass is the new shadow education secretary. Here are some of the things we know about her.
1. Her background is in education at a council and government level. She has been a senior official in local education authorities and advised both councils and governments. Her specialist area is special educational needs.
2. She has been the MP for North West Durham since the 2010 general election. That gives her two years’ more parliamentary experience than her predecessor Lucy Powell.
3. She is the first shadow education secretary from a north east constituency in almost thirty years. Giles Radice is the last one. He held the post from 1983 to 1987.
4. She led Labour’s five MPs on the education select committee for five years. She was opposition leader on the committee under Graham Stuart’s chairship from 2010 to 2015. This is a tough job, requiring a detailed understanding of Department for Education processes and policies.
5. She was a high-profile Remain campaigner in her role as the shadow Europe minister. She was even told to stay away from the count in her constituency after she received death threats, which she said she took more seriously in the wake of the death of her colleague Jo Cox.
6. She had her very own Gordon Brown moment during the Remain campaign. Glass was forced to apologise for referring to a member of the public as a “horrible racist” while on the campaign trail in Derbyshire. Parallels have been drawn with the incident in which Gordon Brown called Labour voter Gillian Duffy a “bigoted woman” while campaigning in Rochdale in 2010.
7. She was born in Esh Winning on February 14, 1957. At the age of 59, Glass is the oldest person to ever have been appointed to the post of shadow education secretary since the role was created (as shadow education and science secretary) in 1973.
8. She is a member of the GMB union. Having worked behind the scenes, Glass’s decision to join a general trade union rather than one of the education unions is an obvious one.