Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kelly Could Lose Her Seat over School Row; Labour Party Fury at Her Choice of Private Education

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

Kelly Could Lose Her Seat over School Row; Labour Party Fury at Her Choice of Private Education

Article excerpt

Byline: JOE MURPHY

RUTH KELLY could lose her career because of her decision to send her son to a [pounds sterling]15,000a-year private school.

Her hopes of being selected for a neighbouring safe seat were said to have been "badly damaged" by the row.

Labour chiefs in Bolton South East - a constituency the former education secretary had been hoping to move to at the next election - met last night to consider the selection. A source said "the matter of Ruth and the private school" was to have been raised.

Ms Kelly, now Communities Secretary, faces a difficult fight to cling onto her Bolton West constituency, which she retained with a wafer-thin majority of 2,064 in 2005. In Bolton South East, retiring MP Brian Iddon has a rocksolid 11,000 majority.

Mr Iddon is said by fellow MPs to have been bitterly dismayed that Ms Kelly decided to send her son, who has dyslexia, to a private boarding school that specialises in preparing children with learning difficulties for the public school common entrance exam.

Many others MPs were angry after the Evening Standard disclosed yesterday that Ms Kelly had rejected several state schools near her home in Tower Hamlets.

Tower Hamlets schools have a higherthan-average percentage of children who do not speak English as a first language The school that Ms Kelly has chosen is in a country house in the Home Counties and has a swimming pool, tennis courts and music rooms.

Mr Iddon, a former university lecturer, said: "I don't think this will go down very well in Bolton. It's up to Ruth to defend her position." Ms Kelly faced another blow today when she came under fire from education chiefs in Tower Hamlets, where her other children go to school.

Her claim that her son has " substantial learning difficulties" was contradicted by local authority sources quoted in The Sun who claimed he had only "mild dyslexia".

The minister woke up to a series of headlines accusing her of hypocrisy, despite being given strong support from Tony Blair and MPs allied with Gordon Brown. …

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