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Shirley Williams

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Shirley Williams has been a towering figure in British politics for over 40 years. Now Baroness Williams, her views continue to challenge.

Secretary of state for education in the Callaghan government of the 1970s, she was at the helm when comprehensive schools really began to take off. "If we hadn't had the comprehensive revolution this country... we would not have anything like the skill base or the intellectual base it has today," she says.

In an illuminating discussion, she reveals she feels the present government exerts a "degree of centralised control, which I really do think actually quenches the fires of aspiration, idealism and vision".

She describes the prime minister as having been "his own education secretary".

As a supporter of the Tomlinson report, she tells the late Ted Wragg, she would have left government if she'd been forced to turn down Tomlinson's recommendations.

Part of the series: Ted Wragg Meets...

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