Home Politics Education Secretary Gillian Keegan blasts ‘inverted snobbery’ for the focus on her £10k Rolex watch

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan blasts ‘inverted snobbery’ for the focus on her £10k Rolex watch

by Alexander
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Gillian Keegan defended her expensive wristbands as she attacked those who might believe her

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan today blamed “reverse snobbery” as she returned the spotlight to her £10,000 Rolex watch.

The cabinet minister defended her expensive wristbands as she attacked those who might believe she “should never have made money” and remained “working class”.

But Ms Keegan was dragged into a fresh row with unions after claiming teachers were “probably in the top 10 per cent of earners in some parts of the country”.

She was immediately questioned by her comments and told that some teachers were having to take second or third jobs because they “can’t make ends meet” amid the cost of living crisis.

Keegan, who owns properties in London, France and Spain, already came under fire last month when she suggested that nurses “normally” only use food banks if they have been thrown away or their boiler has broken.

She was accused of a “staggering lack of empathy” for those comments, which she made while wearing a Rolex watch worth £10,000.

Appearing on LBC radio this morning, the Education Secretary revealed she was “quite surprised” by the attention paid to her choice of bracelet when she made the comments.

“I was really quite surprised,” he said. ‘It’s almost like assuming you’re working class, you start working class and can’t become anything else.

“I’ve worked for 38 years, I haven’t stopped working.”

Gillian Keegan defended her expensive wristbands as she attacked those who might believe she “should never have made money” and remained “working class”.

Education Secretary Gillian Keegan

Rolex Lady-Datejust 31 Everose Watch

Pictured: The £10,000 Rolex Lady-Datejust 31 Everose believed to be owned by Ms Keegan. She used it last month when she claimed that nurses “normally” only use food banks if they’ve been abandoned or their boiler has broken.

Keegan, who left school in Merseyside at the age of 16, highlighted that the watch was a gift from her husband and family for her 50th birthday and acknowledged that she was “very lucky” to own it.

“I guess I’m never supposed to do anything for myself, I never made any money, I stayed in Knowsley,” she added.

‘I don’t know. It’s like inverted snobbery or something.

Earlier on the call-in show, Ms Keegan sparked a backlash for her comments on teacher salaries when she urged school staff not to vote to strike in the New Year.

“The average salary for a classroom teacher is £39,000,” he said.

‘My cousin has just started teaching and earns £28,000. She is 23 years old and lives in Knowsley.

‘She still lives with her mom and dad and she’s still single…she’s not married and she doesn’t live away from home.

“But the reality is it’s a good career, I’m probably in the top 10 percent of earners in some parts of the country.”

Rebecca, a teacher from Bromley, Kent, called into the program to take issue with Ms Keegan’s comments.

“The fact that teachers … you mention them as some of the highest-paid public servants in this country … I think is probably more embarrassing than something to celebrate,” he said.

‘I know how far my salary goes each month. I know many people who are forced to get second and even third jobs because they can’t make ends meet.’

Teachers’ unions NASUWT, the National Education Union and the National Association of Headteachers are voting members for the strike in England and Wales, while the Association of School and College Leaders has launched an advisory vote.

Results are expected in January and if teachers vote to strike they will join paramedics, nurses, postal and rail workers as well as Border Force staff who are leaving this month.

Labour’s shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson criticized Ms Keegan’s “shockingly out of touch comments” and claimed the Education Secretary was “clearly complacent about the ongoing teacher recruitment and retention crisis.” happening in our schools.

“Teachers are leaving the profession in droves because they are overworked and undervalued by this Conservative Government, while potential new hires are abandoning a career in our classrooms,” he added.

“The Labor Party will improve working conditions for our teaching workforce by recruiting 6,500 more teachers, funded by removing tax breaks for private schools.”

NASUWT deputy general secretary Jane Peckham pointed to new research showing teachers and social workers had suffered the worst pay growth in the UK over the past decade.

“We have calculated that the typical teacher loses more than £50,000 as a result of their salary falling to keep pace with inflation,” he said.

‘The fact is that the pay offer that has been made represents another pay cut in real terms and schools have not even received the additional funding needed to pay even this paltry amount.

“Ministers are trying to make teachers foot the bill for the cost of living crisis, but teachers have had enough, which is why members in Scotland have already voted to take strike action and we hope colleagues in England and Wales to join them when our voting closes next month.

Kevin Courtney, deputy general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “I am pleased that the Education Secretary has been able to hear the first-hand experience of teachers and what is driving members to vote ‘yes’ in the vote of the NEU on remuneration.

‘Today’s report from Public First shows that teachers have been among the hardest hit by a “lost decade” of pay growth since 2010, and this is making hiring difficult.

‘We need a fundamental rethink by the government about how they treat teachers and support staff, as well as schools. This should start with accepting that real-terms pay cuts have gone on for quite some time.

‘Right now, it is the Government’s intransigence that is causing a deepening recruitment and retention crisis. “Gillian Keegan needs to take it seriously and not dismiss it as it’s not going away.”

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