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Rhondda MP says girls should be allowed to go to Eton in ‘socialist’ call

06 Dec 2020 3 minute read
Chris Bryant. Official portrait of Chris Bryant – UK Parliament (CC BY 3.0).

Rhondda’s Labour MP has asked for girls to be allowed to go to Eton.

Chris Bryant said that as a “proud socialist” he wanted girls to be let into the all-boys private school.

The school, near Windsor in Berkshire, has recently been embroiled in a bitter row following the sacking of teacher Will Knowland, following the publishing of a video on YouTube where he argued that the patriarchy results from biological differences.

The fee-paying school costs £42,000 a year, and has produced 20 of the UK’s Prime Ministers, including the incumbent Boris Johnson, and David Cameron.

Mr Bryant said: “I’m proud to be a socialist. I believe we were all created equal. I don’t believe that poverty is a mysterious dispensation that descends like manna from heaven. It has human causes and it must be susceptible to human remedies.

“And if we are going to talk about inequality, wouldn’t it be good for us to recognise that we shouldn’t judge people according to the colour of their skin, their gender, their sexuality, what accent they speak through, or indeed what school they went to.

“And in that light, wouldn’t it be a good idea if girls as well as boys were allowed to go to Eton?”


‘Works well’

Jacob Rees-Mogg, the Leader of the House, and himself an Old Etonian, dismissed the idea.

He said: “Everybody is equal before God, and if we are equal before God and every soul is valued by God equally, then that must also be true between us all individually, and that I think is a point of agreement between me as a conservative and the honourable gentleman as a proud socialist.

“I think he is entitled to be proud of being a socialist and I am entitled to think that socialism is a disagreeable word. I think that is part of freedom of speech.

“As regards to girls going to Eton, much as I might like my own daughter to go there, I think it works very well as it is, thank you very much.”

The Education Secretary Gavin Williamson, who is responsible for the education system in England has said that he is “very much in favour” of the independent boys’ boarding school starting to teach girls. He also said that it was a matter for the school to set its own admission criteria.

Eton has said that it has no plans to go co-educational.

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