Eastleigh Tory sparks anger over state schools
Both Labour and the Lib Dems have rounded on the Tory candidate in the Eastleigh by-election over her claim that it is impossible for state schools to educate talented children.
Maria Hutchings sparked anger after telling the Daily Mail that it was "impossible in the state system" for her son to fulfil his ambition to be a cardio-respiratory surgeon.
Labour leader Ed Miliband today described her comments as "an insult" to state schools. After spending the morning campaigning in Eastleigh, Mr Miliband tweeted
: "Comments from Maria Hutchings totally wrong. An insult to every state school in the country. And all of their pupils."
The Liberal Democrat Eastleigh Borough Council Leader, Keith House, also described her comments as an "insult" to the city's teachers and to parents, pointing out that Ofsted has rated several schools in the area as 'Excellent'.
"Although it’s down to every parent to choose the right school for their child, it’s simply not true to say that the education in Eastleigh is not good enough for our children," he said.
“Maria’s claim that it’s ‘impossible’ to get a good state education in Eastleigh is an insult to the teachers who work hard to give our children the best start, and to the parents who are glad to have such good schools that are part of the local community.”
Shadow Education Secretary Stephen Twigg also attacked Ms Hutchings over her remarks, accusing the Tory candidate of being "out of touch" with the people of the town.