Nick Clegg says he might send his eldest son to a private school if that is what his wife Miriam wants
- Deputy PM refuses to make children's education a 'political football'
- Son Antonio, 11, due to start secondary school in September
- Couple will only opt for state school 'if it works out' and is looking at options
By Tim Shipman, Deputy Political Editor
PUBLISHED: 09:47 EST, 24 January 2013 | UPDATED: 20:21 EST, 24 January 2013
Nick Clegg has signalled that he may send his eldest son to a private school, potentially sparking controversy about his commitment to state education.
The Deputy Prime Minister said he would put his children’s education first and would not overrule the wishes of his wife or son for ‘political reasons’.
Mr Clegg and his Spanish wife, Miriam Gonzalez Durantez, have looked around several schools, including the exclusive Catholic state school The London Oratory and a £30,000-a-year independent school.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg said he would not overrule wife Miriam or son Antonio if they chose a private school
The Lib Dem leader’s admission comes
just days after David Cameron insisted he was ‘committed’ to sending his
eldest daughter Nancy to a state school as in London ‘there’s a real
improvement taking place’.
But Mr Clegg refused to make the same pledge when quizzed about his 11-year-old son Antonio, who is due to start secondary school in September.
The Cleggs have two other sons Alberto, seven, and Miguel, three.
Speaking during his regular phone-in show on LBC Radio, Mr Clegg said of their eldest son: ‘If we can and it works out to send him to a good state school we would do so.
‘But like all parents living in London, there’s huge competition for places and we don’t yet know where and exactly at what school.
‘I never have sought to impose a decision on my wife as well as my son for political reasons.
‘They are educated at the moment in the state sector, both our oldest, and I will let you know as soon as a decision has been arrived at.’
Sources close to Mr Clegg said he recognises that the couple’s decision is ‘a matter of public interest’ and they expect to make an announcement in the next couple of months.
Mr Clegg is widely believed to defer in matters of child-rearing to his formidable wife, who ensured that they were raised as Catholics, despite Mr Clegg’s atheist convictions.
He has previously condemned the gulf in educational standards between private and state schools as ‘corrosive for our society and damaging to our economy’.
Mr Clegg used his weekly radio phone-in to insist he would not turn his children's education into a political football
Mr Clegg was educated at two
schools, Caldicott School in Farnham Royal in South Buckinghamshire - a
£5,060-a-term prep-school where he was joint Head Prefect in 1980 - and
later at Westminster School
in London, which costs over £21,000-a-year for day pupils.
His son Alberto is at primary school and Miguel is due to start school next year. Miguel and Antonio attend a Catholic primary school.He said: ‘My wife is Catholic and they’re brought up in her faith, and we’re looking, like all parents are at different options.'
The comments follow David Cameron’s remarks last week that he remained ‘committed’ to sending his eldest daughter Nancy to a state secondary school.
Mr Cameron said: ‘In London there’s a real improvement taking place. There’s a revolution taking place in all schools actually.
‘There’s a big culture change in our schools and that’s taking place in London. So I remain committed to what I’ve said in the past.’
But Mr Clegg has yet to make a decision, insisting ‘I am a father before I’m a politician’.
‘I want my child to have the best possible education, I would ever, ever begrudge any parent whether they send their children to a private or a state school, to do the best for their children, it’s the most fundamental instinct anyone has.
‘And by the way I have that raging through my veins as much as any father who wants the best for my child.
‘I’ve said it before it’s not about whether it’s private or public, in that sense you’re quite right it can be either, I just want the best for my child and that’s exactly what I think most people listening to this programme want for their children as well.’
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