Tristram Hunt, a British Labour Party politician, historian and broadcast journalist who serves as the Member of the Parliament for Stoke-on-Trent Central in Staffordshire, stated that he did not mean any offense nuns after implying that nuns do not make good teachers during BBC’S Question Time. He clashed with journalist and former Catholic Herald editor Cristina Odone, who disagreed with him that all teachers should be certified.
Her argument was that some of her best teachers when she was at school had not received teacher training. Much to Odone’s outrage, Hunt responded to her argument,
“These were nuns. These were all nuns, weren’t they? This, this is, I mean, I know about your religious schooling and, there’s a difference I think between a state education system, having a qualified teachers in the classroom …”
His remarks have caused offense among viewers who saw his response to Odone’s education as audacious.
Ms Odone told the Catholic Herald that his comments were “arrogant and ignorant.”
The Labour politician’s comments prompted a storm on Twitter, with a number of Conservative MPs accusing him of ‘sneering’.
Hunt responded to the comments on Twitter.
“On BBC QT I was trying to make a generalized point about the use of unqualified teachers in school. I obviously meant no offense to nuns.”
Ms. Odone retorted that she knew more about her education than Mr. Hunt, also adding that she had been to a Catholic school, a state school and a private school.
“The best teachers did not come out of teacher training college.”
She also expressed her fears to the Catholic Herald:
“Why is it acceptable to denigrate anything Catholic but bleat tolerance about every religion? To know he and Labour stand a chance at the next election makes me fear for the 7,000 brilliant faith schools in this country.”
Former Prime Minister spin doctor Damian McBride, who worked for Catholic charity Cafod, tweeted the following:
“Oh Hunty. My mum spent most of her career teaching in a ‘convent’ school, working alongside nuns. They gave incredible educations.”
Conservative MP Conor Burns also posted on Twitter:
“Absolutely shocking, sneering comments by Tristram Hunt about Catholic schools and nuns. I was educated by Brothers. Gave lives of service.”
Fellow Tory backbencher Nadine Dorries accused Hunt of “sneering down his nose” at Ms. Odone “because she is a Catholic”, also added that he was “bang out of order.”
She also posted on Twitter:
“If Labour Party had any chance of holding onto its Catholic Glasgow seats, it lost it last night with Tristram Hunt’s remarks.”
Conservative leader in Scotland Ruth Davidson said that the Labour frontbencher had made a “gross misjudgment.”