PM adviser defends his Eton claim

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AN ADVISER to the Prime Minister has defended an interview in which he said Eton’s “ethos” of public service was why so many former pupils were in top positions in government.

Tory MP and Old Etonian Jesse Norman told a newspaper yesterday: “Other schools don’t have the same commitment.” Norman, who was appointed to ­David Cameron’s parliamentary board this week, clarified his comments on Twitter later, saying he was not ­attacking other schools.

“Other schools don’t have the same commitment to public service. They do ­other things,” he told the newspaper. “It’s one of the few schools where the ­pupils really do run vast chunks of the school themselves. So they don’t defer in quite the same way, they do think there’s the possibility of making change through their own actions.

“Of course, they are highly privileged – it would be absurd to deny that – but the whole point of what [Education Secretary] Michael Gove is trying to do is to recover that independent school ethos within the state system, so that people from whatever walk of life can feel that they can take a proper part to the maximum.”