Plan to end ban on new grammar schools faces cross party opposition

Potential plans to lift the ban on opening new grammar schools in England are likely to face cross party opposition in both the House of Lords and the House of Commons.

The ban was introduced by Tony Blair’s Labour government in 1998, but the Sunday Telegraph reported that Prime Minister Theresa May planned to launch a new generation of grammar school by scrapping the ban.

No official plans have been confirmed, but the Sunday Telegraph said they are expected to be announced by the end of the year.

However, the plans could struggle to come to fruition as Ministers on all sides of the political spectrum have come out opposing lifting the ban.

Liberal Democrat leader Tim Farron has said that his party will work to block any attempt to lift the ban, claiming that grammar schools are not ‘drivers of social mobility’.

Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson has also come forward to say that the party would oppose a move, with leadership contender Owen Smith promising to ‘fight tooth and nail’ against any plans to lift them.

While Conservative grassroots, along with a number of cabinet ministers, support the move, chair of the Education Select Committee and Conservative MP Neil Carmichael has also voice opposition to lifting the ban.

Speaking to Radio 4’s Westminster Hour, Carmichael said: “We have serious issues about social mobility, in particular white working-class young people, and I don’t think that having more grammar schools is going to help them.

“I think that the creaming off of the best is actually detrimental to the interests of the most.”

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