Conservative fury over school site accusation

Published 1st May 2013


CONSERVATIVE councillors say they have been “besmirched” by Labour Party chiefs who claimed the new UCL Academy was placed in Swiss Cottage partly for electoral gain.

Town Hall leader Councillor Sarah Hayward and her backbench Labour colleague Councillor Awale Olad made scathing AOcomments at the last full council meeting, in which they directly linked the choice of site for the borough’s first academy school at the top of Adelaide Road, Swiss Cottage, with the Tory ambition to win parliamentary votes in  the Hampstead and Kilburn constituency.

Conservatives say the suggestion was an attack on their character with an implication they acted improperly in office.

It is understood there was briefly some talk that legal action could be taken, but it was now thought the matter could be resolved with an apology.

The accusation of opening the UCL Academy for electoral gain had not been made so openly as it was in the recent comments made by Cllr Hayward and Cllr Olad at the Town Hall’s all-member meeting.

The UCL Academy was officially opened earlier this year by Lord Andrew Adonis.

Conservative councillor Don Williams said: “They shouldn’t be trying to play games when children’s futures are at stake. I feel besmirched for no reason. It is an attack on the councillors who took decision.

“When we were in power, we always said we wanted to open two schools, one in Swiss Cottage there, and one south of Euston Road, and we took steps to do that. The accusations Labour are making are desperately trying to hide the fact they’ve not been able to get a school open.”

The row was rekindled after Labour began discussing options for a council site in Wren Street, Holborn.  The Tories and Lib Dems had previously designated it for a new school.

Labour chief Cllr Sarah Hayward said last month the Tories had placed “a school in Hampstead and Kilburn to try and fight out the parliamentary seat”.

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