Anger as Top Tory Says Shut Down Catholic Schools

Article excerpt

A Scottish Tory peer has been disowned by his party for demanding an end to Catholic schools.

Former Scottish Office minister Lord Mackay of Ardbrecknish sparked a row when he called for an end to segregation.

Roman Catholics branded his comments "a disgrace".

And there was an angry reaction from teachers' union the EIS and his party colleagues.

Mackay made his comments in a Lords debate on the Catholic Church's call for separate nursery schools.

Mackay branded the plan a "considerable error".

And he added: "Isn't it really time we thought seriously about ending segregation further up the school system?

"This would be particularly helpful to Glasgow City Council, who are faced with having to close schools in deprived areas rather than amalgamate denominational and non-denominational."

Catholic church spokesman Father Tom Connelly said: "I'm surprised and shocked by such disgraceful comments.

"Lord Mackay is obviously out of touch with reality. His own party have always favoured strong religious education.

"Catholic schools and other schools teaching religion are the mainstay of the culture of this country.

"We need more Catholic schools, not less."

Fred Forrester, depute general secretary of the EIS, said: "It would be seen as a breach of human rights if Catholics were denied a separate education the way things stand at the moment. …