Eastleigh by-election: Tory candidate in state school "insult"

Maria Hutchings seems to suggest higly intelligent children don't get "the right sort of education" at state-run schools

The Tory candidate in the Eastleigh by-election has caused controversy by saying she couldn't get the "right sort of education" for her "very gifted" son in a state school.

According to the Daily Mirror, Maria Hutchings, who is vying to replace the disgraced Chris Huhne in the Hampshire seat, said yesterday:  "William (her son) is very gifted which gives us another interesting challenge in finding the right sort of education for him - impossible in the state system.

"He wants to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon."

In response, Labour leader Ed Miliband tweeted: "Comments from Maria Hutchings totally wrong. An insult to every state school in the country. And all of their pupils."

The most recent Ofsted reports for Thornden, Wildern and Toynbee high schools- all in Eastleigh- have called them "outstanding".

One of Hutchings' opponents in the contest is author and satirist John O'Farrell, who announced he was standing for Labour earlier this week.

After the remarks, O'Farrell said: "Ten years ago, when I was concerned about the lack of suitable local schools, I organised with other parents to set up a new non-selective state school.

"My own children went there and I served as chair of governors for eight years. Maria Hutchings claims to 'get things done', but in actual fact the opposite is true," he told the Daily Mirror. "All she's shown is that she's just as out of touch as the rest of the Conservative party, whether on education, tax cuts for millionaires or trebling tuition fees."

A Conservative party spokesman said: "Maria Hutchings wants all children to get the best possible education. That's why she's backing Michael Gove's reforms to bring back rigour to the state education system after 13 years of Labour.

"Maria has campaigned tirelessly to help parents of children with special educational needs get the best education for them."

The by-election, which will take place on February 28, was triggered when former Liberal Democrat Environment Secretary Huhne resigned in disgrace. He has pleaded guilty to perverting the course of justice.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Spanish Speaking

£17000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - German Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Administrator - Japanese Speaking

£17000 - £23000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are fluent in Japanese a...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer - Immediate Start

£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test