‘Regret’ over free school comments

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Labour’s new Shadow Education Secretary has expressed regret for dismissing the Conservatives’ flagship free schools policy as a “vanity project for yummy mummies”.

Tristram Hunt, who was one of the big winners in Ed Miliband’s shadow cabinet reshuffle, confirmed that a Labour government would not close down any of the free schools established by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

The TV historian said he welcomed parents who wanted to become actively involved in their children’s education and promised to put “rocket boosters” under Labour’s plans for parent-led academies.

Asked in a newspaper interview about his previous dismissal of free schools, Mr Hunt said: “I regret those comments because I think any parents, be they yummy mummies or faddy daddies, involved in the education of their children is great.”

Mr Hunt said that there could be no return to the days when all state schools were run by local authorities and that he would happily send his own children to a free school.

“What I am saying is if you want to do that when we are in government we will be on your side.”