Wales politics

Huw Lewis defends education criticism from Stephen Crabb

education Image copyright PA
Image caption The new row follows a bitter battle over the state of the NHS in Wales

Labour has hit back at criticism of its record on education in Wales, saying Conservative plans for schools in England were "poxy" and "lame".

Welsh government Education Minister Huw Lewis was responding to an attack on education standards by Welsh Secretary Stephen Crabb.

Mr Crabb told the Sunday Times parents in England would have "good reason to feel very concerned" if Ed Miliband took the Welsh government's approach.

It follows a bitter row over health.

The state of the Welsh NHS has been a hot topic of debate between the Tories and Welsh Labour.

But now, Mr Lewis accused the Tories of "a base attempt to secure votes in the general election".

He added: "There is clearly no let up on the War on Wales and the order has been passed to the Secretary of State to do his bit."

Also on Sunday, Tory Education Secretary Nicky Morgan announced that she would expect every 11-year-old to know their times tables off by heart, to perform long division and complex multiplication and to be able to read a novel.

But Mr Lewis said: "I am hugely ambitious for the education system in Wales, and that is why I want to learn from the absolute best.

"Nicky Morgan's poxy programme for reform announced in the Sunday Times today - more long division and times tables - is a desperately lame response to the challenges of the future economy.

"This is 2015, not 1815."

Mrs Morgan also indicated that the Tories would protect the schools budget in England if the party wins the general election - something that could have implications for the Welsh government's budget.

Prime Minister David Cameron is expected to outline further plans in a speech on Monday.

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