After news emerged on Thursday that a Labour government led by Jeremy Corbyn would slap VAT on private school fees to pay for free meals for all primary school pupils, a Question Time audience member said parents who work hard to educate their children privately should not suffer.
The audience member told the panel: “I know some people who send their kids to private school… I know they work really hard to put that money together and give their kids the best education.
Diane Abbott was called out by the audience member over privately educating her son
“I mean, Diane knows how expensive it is to send your kids through private education!”
The shadow home secretary looked sheepish as the claims were met by cheers and applause from the Gillingham audience.
The audience member continued: “Just loading the taxes on those people probably means they won’t be able to [afford] it, [and their children] will go back into the state sector.
The audience member said taxing private school fees could put pressure on the state system
“You want the best for your kids, and they work hard to try and achieve that – just as Diane did.”
The Labour MP responded by claiming she’d have been “happy to pay more” for her son’s private education if it resulted in a scheme like the one proposed by her party.
Twitter users were quick to respond to Diane Abbott's comments
She added: “The thing about free school meals… is it helps working families who are just getting by but are not eligible for free school meals because they’re not on benefits.”
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Viewers quickly took to social media to lambast the Labour MP.
One user wrote: “Whenever I see Diane Abbott MP I think of her sending her son to a private school while wanting denying that right to the rest of us.”
Another added: “I’d be happy to pay VAT on school fees if I had your salary, Diane Abbott.”