Labour MP challenged on opposition to grammars

    CANTERBURY’S newly elected Labour MP Rosie Duffield has been criticised over her vocal opposition to Kent’s grammar schools after it was revealed both of her children attended one.
    She described grammars as ‘unequal’ and ‘damaging’ and called the 11-plus a ‘horrible, divisive, stressful thing’ during election hustings. She then campaigned on a platform to prevent any expansion of the system.
    However, it emerged she also told a Canterbury Christ Church University hustings in May that both her sons had gone to grammar school. One enjoyed it while the other had not.
    Her position was challenged last week by Daniel Hamilton, tipped as a future Conservative candidate for her constituency, in an open letter. He wrote: “At the general election, you fought on a manifesto which pledged not to ‘waste money on inefficient… vanity projects’ such as grammar schools.
    “While local candidates often differ with the views of their leadership, at a hustings back in May you personally described grammar schools as ‘unequal’ and ‘damaging’.
    “You refused to support the expansion of local grammar schools – a move which will increase pressure for places at excellent schools such as Simon Langton Boys.”
    Ms Duffield defended her position, responding: “I stood on the Labour manifesto of no new grammar schools… Parents do not, on the whole, support selection at the age of 11. As you will be aware, in some Kent grammar schools one in three children come directly from private primary schools.”