Labour conference

Labour accused of hypocrisy after vote to abolish private schools

Corbyn in Penicuik

Jeremy Corbyn may be forced to accept new policy (pic: Terry Murden)

Labour activists voted in favour of abolishing private schools in England, which is likely to commit the party to including it in the next general election manifesto.

Private schools would have their charitable status removed and see their endowments, investments and properties redistributed to the state sector.

The move at the party’s annual conference in Brighton will prompt accusations of hypocrisy given that a number of senior party figures, including Diane Abbott and Shami Chakrabarti, have educated children privately and former leader Tony Blair attended Fettes in Edinburgh. Current leader Jeremy Corbyn went to a private prep school.

Scottish Labour is likely to campaign for a similar policy north of the border. The party’s Scotland Office spokesman Paul Sweeney said in June that “all private schools should be brought, en masse, into the state sector.”

Ms Abbott, the shadow home secretary, said before the vote took place today that she would back the policy if it was adopted by the party. 

“As you well know, I sent my son to private school some years ago but if the party takes that position I would support it,” she told Sky News

Told that many people would view that as hypocrisy, Ms Abbott said: ‘I did what I did and I talked about it at the time and you can’t keep rehearsing those arguments.’ 

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