The shadow education secretary eventually said there are 'brilliant teachers who are nuns doing a fantastic job'

Labour’s education spokesman Tristram Hunt refused several times to say that nuns can be good teachers in a television interview.

Mr Hunt, who was on The Andrew Marr Show on BBC One on Sunday morning, eventually said that nuns can do a “fantastic job” as teachers.

The interview took place days after Mr Hunt caused controversy in another television appearance, on BBC One’s Question Time, when he seemed to denigrate the ability of nuns who work as teachers during an exchange with former Catholic Herald editor, Cristina Odone.

Speaking on the programme, Ms Odone said: “The most inspiring teachers I’ve ever encountered were not out of teacher training college. You know what, they taught values, not British values, they taught real values.”

The Labour MP replied, “These were nuns. These were all nuns, weren’t they?”, adding that there is a “difference between having a state education system, qualified teachers” and nuns.

Yesterday, Mr Hunt was asked repeatedly asked by Andrew Marr whether nuns can be good teachers. He avoided answering the question directly, until finally responding.

“I am sure there are brilliant teachers who are nuns who are doing a fantastic job,” he said.