Old David Cameron tweet resurfaces amid the RAAC concrete crisis

Old David Cameron tweet resurfaces amid the RAAC concrete crisis

Related video: Expert explains why Raac is more dangerous than standard concrete

Channel 4

It’s been more than 13 years since David Cameron became prime minister, and yet as the infamous and timeless “chaos with Ed Miliband” tweet has shown, his previous posts on Twitter/X have the potential to come back and cause some major embarrassment for the Conservatives – and now there’s a whole new tweet which hasn’t aged well.

A decade ago, then chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne delivered a speech to the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester in which he argued that “in the years running up to the [financial] crash”, the UK “should have been running a surplus”.

He told attendees on 30 September 2013: “That’s what we mean when we say they didn’t fix the roof when the sun was shining.

“Let us vow: never again.

“This time we’re going to run a surplus. This time we’re going to fix the roof when the sun is shining.”

If you’re wondering what on earth Mr Osborne was talking about back then in relation to roofs, it’s from an old proverb which essentially means addressing an issue while the conditions are good.

And Mr Cameron was certainly supportive of the comments made by his right-hand man, as he tweeted: “A great speech by George Osborne – we’re on the right track and we’ll fix the roof when the sun is shining.”

Except the saying has taken on a whole new meaning this week, as Rishi Sunak’s government continues to face criticism over its handling of the RAAC concrete crisis which is seeing school buildings shut down due to a risk of collapse.

More than 100 schools, nurses and colleges in England will be forced to shut buildings and classrooms containing the lightweight, ‘bubbly’ material, used between the 50s and mid-90s on roof panels, and sometimes walls and floors.

Gillian Keegan MP, the education secretary who was caught dropping the f-bomb in a hot mic incident on Monday, said last week: “Nothing is more important than making sure children and staff are safe in schools and colleges, which is why we are acting on new evidence about RAAC now, ahead of the start of term.

“We must take a cautious approach because that is the right thing to do for both pupils and staff.

“The plan we have set out will minimise the impact on pupil learning and provide schools with the right funding and support they need to put mitigations in place to deal with RAAC.”

And thus, the jokes in response to Mr Cameron’s past comments wrote themselves:

To make matters worse, another former PM has been caught making comments about roofs which doesn’t show them in a good light – that being the shortest-serving UK prime minister, Liz Truss.

During her catastrophic tour of BBC local radio stations in September last year, she was challenged on the worsening situation at Norfolk’s Queen Elizabeth Hospital, where the roof is “held up by … 1,500 props”.

“Can you guarantee that King’s Lynn will get a new hospital,” presenter Chris Goreham asked.

Ms Truss replied: “Well as you know, as a local MP, I’ve been lobbying hard to see improvements at Queen Elizabeth and I’ve seen for myself the very difficult situation with the roof.

“Of course, we have a new health secretary Thérèse Coffey, I do hope she’ll visit the Queen Elizabeth Hospital soon, to see the situation there and make sure that action is taken…”

Mr Goreham intervened: “She’ll be the fourth health secretary to have visited. When is it going to happen?”

Ms Truss said: “She will be the one that delivers … I’m not making promises on her behalf, but I will certainly be putting that case as the local MP.”


And Twitter/X users aren’t happy with the inaction:

To refer to another former prime minister, it sure looks like “nothing has changed”.

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