The wife of Jeremy Corbyn’s spin doctor works as a private tutor preparing children for selective school entrance exams, Heat Street can reveal.
Cristina Montanari, who is married to Corbyn’s hard-left communications director Seumas Milne, is understood to tutor children in the Richmond area of south west London.
She and Milne, a Marxist-sympathiser, live in a £2 million house there.
Milne has previously been criticised for sending his son and daughter to two of Britan’s best grammar schools – the Tiffin schools in Kingston, four miles away – rather than opting for one of the four comprehensives closer to his home. Both his children went on to Oxbridge and are now in their 20s.
But the revelation that Milne continues to have links to selective education via his wife will surely increase tensions between him and Corbyn, who is fiercely opposed to selective schools.
— The Labour Party (@UKLabour) September 27, 2016
Corbyn’s second marriage ended in divorce because his wife wanted to send their son to a grammar school and Corbyn did not. Labour Party policy on education mirrors his hard line and vehemently rejects current government policy of opening more grammar schools.
The Milne family are not the only high-profile example of Corbyn allies who privately take a different line to the Labour leader when it comes to education.
In August Heat Street disclosed that Corbyn’s close ally Shami Chakrabarti, for whom he recently arranged a life peerage, entered her son for the entrance exam at Eton College. Over the weekend it was reported that the boy now attends fee-paying Dulwich College.
Corbyn’s other close colleague, Diane Abbott, sent her son to fee-paying City of London School. And shadow foreign secretary, Emily Thornberry, sent her son to a selective school.
Nonetheless, all publicly claim to support Corbyn’s stance on education, generating claims that have adopted a “Do as I say and not as I do” attitude on this issue.
Milne himself went to Winchester College, one of Britain’s top public schools.
He remains on the staff of the Guardian, where he has been comment editor and a columnist, and is expected to return there whenever he stops working for Corbyn.
Heat Street contacted Milne seven times over the weekend to discuss his wife’s role as a tutor but he did not return calls.