Current Affairs

Ruth Kelly loses privacy case

PinkNews Staff Writer March 26, 2007
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The cabinet minister responsible for gay rights has had a complaint about the Daily Mirror’s coverage of her child’s education rejected.

Ruth Kelly, the Communities Secretary, decided to send one of her sons to a private school because he has learning difficulties.

The 38-year-old, who has four children, was heavily criticised for the decision.

As Education Secretary she had supervised the closure of many special schools, and argued that most children with special educational needs would be better served in mainstream schools.

The Mail on Sunday reported in January that a Cabinet minister was sending their child to a private school.

The next day, the Daily Mirror revealed that it was Ms Kelly who was sending her dyslexic son to a £15,000-a-year private school, but did not name her son.

She defended her choice, saying:

“I, like any mother, want to do the right thing for my son. I appreciate that some will disagree with my decision. I understand why, but we all face difficult choices as parents.”

Ms Kelly complained to the Press Complaints Commission, saying her son’s privacy had been breached.

Today the PCC ruled that the Mirror had acted correctly in revealing her identity but not the identity of the child.

“The fact that a Cabinet Minister, who had previously been Secretary of State for Education and Skills, had elected to remove her child from the state system to be enrolled in a private school raised important issues for public debate,” the PCC said.

“Even if government policy included an acceptance of private schooling for those with special needs, the fact that the complainant did not feel that the current state system could meet her child’s requirements raised questions about the nature of publicly-funded schooling and its ability to cater for children

with special needs.”

All of Ms Kelly’s children other attend state schools and she has said she intends to return her dyslexic son to the state system when he reaches secondary level.

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