Cherie Blair's former closest aide delivered a scathing attack on private schooling yesterday, claiming there were "two worlds'' of education with "not much cross-fertilisation''.
The comments, from Fiona Millar, who left Downing Street last week, will be interpreted as a sign that Labour is failing in its attempt to build closer links between the state and private sectors.
Ms Millar, who is the partner of Alastair Campbell, Tony Blair's former director of communications, told BBC 1's The Politics Show that those parents who chose private education for their children were "certainly depriving the state sector of very articulate voices''.
"If they had their children in state schools, they would have a stake in the improvement of the state sector - which the rest of us want to see,'' she added.
Ms Millar,is a governor of two state schools. All of ther three children to go state schools. She said the answer to the problem was to "make the state system better".