Michael Gove slams heckling of schoolgirl at Labour Party conference


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Michael Gove has branded “disgraceful” the way a schoolgirl was heckled at the Labour Party conference.

The Year 11 pupil was explaining how her academy school encouraged the arts when one delegate shouted: "A lot of comprehensives do the same."

Education Secretary Mr Gove said: "Heckling a schoolgirl because she goes to an academy is disgraceful.

"But it also shows the real face of Labour - a party where aspiration and achievement gets booed."

The girl, named only as Joan, attends the Paddington Academy in London and hopes to go on study law at university.

She was speaking at the Manchester conference before shadow education secretary Stephen Twigg's keynote speech.

Mr Twigg said: "It's a privilege to do this job when you get the chance to meet young people like Joan."

Joan came to the UK as an asylum seeker and "despite all of the barriers she faced, she became a grade A student", Mr Twigg said.

Mr Gove said Labour should expel the heckler.

He said: "Stephen Twigg needs to condemn this and the culprit must be expelled from the party.

"This pupil is a credit to her school and proof that we need to expand the academies programme."

A Labour Party spokesman said: "We condemn this. No-one should be heckled at a party conference, least of all a teenage girl making her first speech.

"The debate about education should be conducted in a reasonable and civilised way."