New Confusion over Tory Education Policy Twists; POLITICS
Byline: By Jonathan Walker Political Editor
Conservative education policy was thrown into confusion as shadow Education Secretary David Willetts said the party would support more grammar schools in authorities such as Birmingham.
Mr Willetts denied the comments contradicted earlier statements, which seemed to rule out extending selective education.
But he said the party would back new grammar schools in education authorities where they already existed, if pupil numbers grew.
It followed comments by frontbencher Dominic Grieve, who said new selective state schools should be opened in his Buckinghamshire constituency if they were needed.
Buckinghamshire, like Birmingham, is one of the few education authorities which still has grammars.
Mr Grieve, the shadow Attorney General, made the comments in an article for his local newspaper.
He said: "We must also ensure that if further grammar or secondary schools are needed they can be supplied within the county."
Mr Willetts insisted Mr Grieve's comments were in line with party policy, and denied the policy had changed.
He said: "I do understand that in parts of the country where they've got grammar schools, as demography changes, so they will come forward with how their grammar school system needs to change. …