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A former Labour Education Minister, Lord Adonis, warned against giving ground to Labour critics of the Coalition Government’s “free schools” because they would seize on any concession and “move in for the kill”

Lord Adonis said opponents of the schools such as the journalist Fiona Millar, partner of Tony Blair’s former spin doctor, Alistair Campbell “would stick pins in their eyes” sooner than agree with any aspect of the flagship policy, which switches power from town halls to parents.


When Toby Young asked Andrew Adonis if rather than dealing with his opponents agressively he should enter talks with people such as Fiona Millar, who, like her partner, is a strong supporters of comprehensives. Young reported that Adonis gave him a withering look of contempt and said “they are not interested in constructive dialogue”

“Don’t you get it? If you extend any sort of olive branch they’ll see it a s a sign of weakness and move in for the kill. I dealt with the same people – the Socialist Workers Party, the Anti-Academies Alliance,the NUT – for most of my ministerial career and they would rather stick pins in their eyes than admit they have common ground with someone like you. Their attitude to free schools is the same as to academies: they wont’ rest until every last one has been razed to the ground”

Lord Adonis, former Labour Education Secretary speaking to Toby Young