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Watch: shadow education secretary mauled over private schools

Getty: Photo by Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Labour might be ahead in the polls but it’s not all plain sailing. With an election looming later this year, members of the shadow cabinet have been reticent about setting forth their policy platforms for fear that the Tories either trash or nick their ideas. And a perfect demonstration of the perils of a flagship policy was demonstrated yesterday by Bridget Phillipson, the shadow education secretary, when she appeared on GB News.

The Sunderland MP was keen to talk up Labour’s plans to levy VAT on independent schools. Such a move, she claims, will raise between £1.3 to £1.5 billion – money that can be invested in funding further mental health support for children in state schools. But, as Camilla Tominey pointed out, there then arises the question as to what happens when independent schools close as a result of parents being unable to afford 20 per cent higher school fees? Will there be sufficient places in the state sector to cope with the additional influx?

Sadly, such detail was not forthcoming, with Phillipson breezily suggesting independent schools could easily stomach such a hike. You can watch the full exchange below:

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Steerpike is The Spectator's gossip columnist, serving up the latest tittle tattle from Westminster and beyond. Email tips to or message @MrSteerpike

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