The minister responsible for a new times tables check for primary school children refused to answer a multiplication sum on TV today.
Nick Gibb was asked by Good Morning Britain presenter Jeremy Kyle what the answer was to eight times nine.
But the School Standards Minister did not answer, instead telling Kyle and fellow present Kate Garraway: “I’m not going to get into this.
“I’ve learnt through bitter experience never to answer these kinds of questions on live television.”
Mr Gibb added: “I’m very tempted to, but I’m not going to.”
Garraway told Mr Gibb he was a “very successful person, who clearly can add up and do maths”, adding: “Why is it so important for an eight-year-old to do it when clearly you feel vulnerable about it and there you are, a Government minister?”
The minister responded: “No eight-year-old or nine-year-old will be doing it on live television.”
Mr Gibb was on the programme to talk about the Government’s new times table check for eight and nine-year-olds, which will be trialled by thousands of youngsters this spring.
Ministers confirmed plans to bring in the multiplication check, which will be taken by eight and nine-year-olds in England, last autumn following a review of primary school assessment.
The Department for Education (DfE) has now said it will trial the test this spring ahead of a full roll-out over the next two years.