Rishi Sunak will tackle the PMQ test on the crisis in schools

Rishi Sunak will face Sir Keir Starmer at Prime Minister's Questions for the first time in seven weeks as he faces pressure to reveal what he knew about the crumbling concrete in schools crisis.

The Conservative Party leader has been embroiled in controversy after one of his ministers suggested Mr Sunak approve the rebuilding of 50 schools a year when he was chancellor, rejecting an application for 200 to be given the same treatment.

Concerns about reinforced autoclaved aerated concrete (Raac) have prompted the partial or full closure of more than 100 schools in England.

Mr Sunak is likely to be fired up by the Labor leader over the funding available to tackle the class's flawed concrete when the two face off on Wednesday for the first time since Parliament returned from its summer break.

Labor has already signaled it will try to use an arcane parliamentary mechanism to find out what the prime minister knew about the crisis during his tenure at the Treasury.



Again this week, the Education Secretary has to answer serious questions about her behaviour

Shadow Education Secretary Bridget Phillipson

Mr Sunak faced accusations that he halved the school rebuilding program when he was chancellor, providing funding for 100 crumbling schools to be replaced a year when, according to former Department for Education (DfE) permanent secretary Jonathan Slater, 400 needed renovations.

The Prime Minister rejected the attack on his file at the Ministry of Finance.

Elsewhere, shadow education secretary Bridget Phillipson said Education Secretary Gillian Keegan has “serious questions to answer” after it emerged a company with which the senior Tory's husband has links was awarded a £1m IT contract from a fund earmarked for rebuilding schools.

As reported by the Daily Mirror, which broke the news of the contract, Michael Keegan states on his LinkedIn social media page that he is a non-executive director at technology company Centerprise.

The company was one of six suppliers awarded contracts earlier this year to replace the server infrastructure, with the money coming from the DfE's school regeneration scheme fund.

Ms Phillipson said: “This appears to be a blatant conflict of interest and will raise eyebrows that the Keegans appear to have won from a shrinking pot of money to rebuild the school.”

There is no suggestion of wrongdoing by Mr and Mrs Keegan.

A DfE spokeswoman said: “Ministers had no involvement in the procurement process for these contracts, which were awarded in accordance with existing government commercial procedures.”

It comes after Ms Keegan was forced to apologize after lashing out at those she said “sat on their asses and did nothing” about Raat in an outburst of swearing on Monday.

Labor will try to increase Mr Sunak's control over the Raats crisis with plans to use a humbling speaking motion, a mechanism to demand documents from government agencies.

They are calling for publication of the evidence sent by the DfE to No 10 and the Treasury regarding advice on the construction problem.

As part of the move, he will also push to see all relevant correspondence before the 2020 and 2021 spending reviews and the spring and autumn 2022 statements to show what advice Mr Sunak was given as chancellor about the need to replace Raac.

Ms Phillipson said: “Today, we are giving Conservative MPs a choice: vote with Labor and give parents the right to know who is responsible for this mess, or vote to hide the true scale of this crisis and the Prime Minister's failure to keep our children safe.”

Ms Keegan, who has come under fire for her handling of the crisis, defended the Prime Minister's previous actions to protect the safety of school buildings.

He said: “As chancellor, the Prime Minister introduced the school rebuilding programs – delivering 500 schools over the next decade.

“Furthermore, the Conservatives have invested £15 billion in schools since 2015.

“Additionally, capital spending this year will be nearly 29% higher in real terms than last year.”

He continued: “An independent review found that Labour's school funding program was poorly targeted and complex.

“He did nothing to fix schools in bad shape, especially those affected by Raats. Instead, the Labour-led Welsh Government has sat on its hands and failed to act on schools in Wales.”