Hundreds of local parents and their and sons are greatly relieved at the crucial role the Mayor of London Boris Johnson has played in enabling Fulham Boys School to open in September. While the council had scuppered the planned site, and broken their pledge to offer a viable alternative, Boris has come to the rescue.
Yet the Labour London Assembly member Jennette Arnold has attacked the Mayor’s intervention. She says it “stinks of hypocrisy”.
“The newly elected Council in Hammersmith and Fulham decided to review this decision, making the future of Fulham Boys uncertain and resulting in the Department for Education withdrawing its funding for the school. When I asked him to intervene to save Sulivan Primary School at Mayor’s Question Time in October 2013, the Mayor refused to do so, stating: “I will not take responsibility because I do not have the statutory power to do so.”
But the Mayor did not have the power to block the merger of Sulivan and New King’s primary schools. Even if he had he might well have concluded that such merger – with an academy under the sponsorship of the Thomas’s Day Schools Trust – would have been great news for the children at both schools – as well as freeing up a site for the Fulham Boys School.
But, in any case, he did the power to block the Sulivan/New King’s merger. On the other hand he is in a position to help with offering alternative sites for FBS.
Miss Arnold’s comments have cause considerable anger among the Fulham Boys Schools parents. They reflect the views of the Labour MP for Hammersmith, and former Latymer Upper school pupil, Andrew Sluaghter who has attacked FBS as “yet another free school”. However the Labour council has pretended to be supportive of Boris allowing the school to open.
To clarify the Labour Party’s position I emailed the Leader of the Labour Group on the London Assembly, Len Duvall, to ask if the Labour Group endrosed Miss Arnold’s highly offensive remarks.
Mr Duvall replied:
“Jennette’s criticism is justified in our eyes.”
So there we have it. Labour in their true colours. The enemies of choice. The enemies of innovation. The enemies of promise.