Packed lunches for Leo Blair after his mum says school meals 'aren't terrific'

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Cherie Blair overshadowed Labour's school dinners launch as she revealed the standard of meals at her son Leo's schools were so low she was thinking about giving him packed lunches.

Cherie Blair overshadowed Labour's school dinners launch as she revealed the standard of meals at her son Leo's schools were so low she was thinking about giving him packed lunches.

Mrs Blair said she was "seriously considering" sending Leo, four, to school with a lunchbox because his school dinners were "not terrific".

Downing Street declined to discuss where Leo, who will be five next month, attends school. Mrs Blair was asked about her son's school dinners on the campaign trail as she praised a healthy eating programme at a Birmingham school.

Her comments came just hours after Margaret Hodge, the children's minister, pledged tough standards and hailed the Government's promise of a £210m rise in spending on school meals after a campaign by Jamie Oliver, the celebrity chef .

Mrs Blair spoke as she toured the Worlds End Infant and Nursery School in Quinton, Edgbaston, which offers a breakfast club and provides fruit and nuts to during breaks.

She said: "Seeing the Jamie Oliver programme you could think school dinners all over the place were bad, but that's not the case. Here is an example of what can be done to get children eating fresh and healthy food."

Mrs Hodge was with Tony Blair five miles away in Birmingham, outlining Labour's pledges on children, health and families, which include increasing money for meals and investing in school kitchens and training for staff. She praised Mr Oliver and criticised the Tories for creating a situation where "unhealthy meals and the Turkey Twizzler reigned supreme".

She said the Conservatives had produced "unappetising meals that children wouldn't eat, and [created] a vicious circle as more children switched to packed lunches, increasing the average cost of producing school meals for those who took them."

Chips and burgers will be banned from school dinners under the Conservatives in an attempt to improve school discipline, Tim Collins, the party's education spokesman, will pledge today.

"There is some very clear evidence that if you have low quality material going into children, it will actually make them hyperactive - it will make them behave very badly later in the day," he says in an interview to be broadcast tonight by the Teachers TV channel.

"We would eventually ban fast food, burgers and vending machines that sell crisps - all those sorts of things that are directly linked to poor behaviour."

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