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This week we look at an exclusive transcript from the records of the soon-to-be minister for further education, higher education and skills, the MP Gordon Marsden.

Scene: It is June 2019, a few weeks after the Labour government has entered office. The minister is sitting at his desk in the newly formed department of life-long learning and re-education. He looks in the drawer, there is a note that says, “Good luck, I’m afraid there is no money, love Jo”. The minister closes the drawer.

Enter Sir Humphrey (permanent secretary) and Bernard (the minister’s principal private secretary).

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