Left-wing MP's son `to attend grammar'

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The Independent Online
JEREMY CORBYN, a leading Labour left-winger, was facing severe embarrassment last night when it emerged that his eldest son has been enrolled at a grammar school instead of his local comprehensive.

The disclosure will be a huge humiliation for the MP for Islington North who has been an outspoken campaigner against "elitist schools". Under Tony Blair's leadership, the Labour Party has made clear its support of parental choice.

Mr Corbyn's 11-year-old son Benjamin was due to attend a comprehensive school near his home in Islington, north London but, after passing the 11-plus exam, will instead be studying at the Queen Elizabeth School in Barnet, several miles further north, on the borders of Hertfordshire. Claudia Corbyn, who separated from her husband two years ago, indicated last night that the couple had polarised views on selection. "We were placed in an almost impossible position because Islington has serious difficulties with its schools. I had to make the decision as a mother and a parent. It comes to a point where you have to decide something and I was in a position where I had no choice," she was reported as saying.

Mr Corbyn, 49, was reported as stressing that his son's school choice was a private matter. But the choice of school is bound to be seized on by the Government's political opponents as further proof that Labour has abandoned its traditional principles on education.

Earlier this year, Mr Blair infuriated teachers when he said that some inner-city schools were so bad that he did not blame parents for "making other arrangements" for their children's education.

Mr Blair also lived in Islington when he opted to send two of his own children to schools across London: the London Oratory in Hammersmith and the nearby Sacred Heart girls' school. Mr Blair also backed Harriet Harman, who sent her son to St Olave's grammar school in Bromley rather than to the comprehensive to near her south London home.