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Last Updated: Tuesday, 29 May 2007, 16:34 GMT 17:34 UK
Profile: Graham Brady
Graham Brady
Mr Brady is a staunch defender of selective education
Conservative MP Graham Brady has become the first victim of his party's row over grammar schools, by announcing his resignation from the front bench.

A former grammar school boy himself, Mr Brady, 40, has long been a staunch defender of selective education - he first got involved with the Conservative Party aged 16, when he joined a campaign to save local grammar schools.

He was the youngest Tory on the opposition benches when he was first elected as an MP in 1997, but became employment spokesman in 2000 and was promoted to schools spokesman in 2001, a position which he kept under both William Hague and Iain Duncan Smith.

In February 2000, he made an official complaint about a head teacher who used public funds to circulate anti-grammar school literature - which was upheld by then education secretary David Blunkett.

'Difficult decision'

During the latest row, he was reprimanded for releasing information to the Times newspaper which suggested areas with selective schools got better results. He was told to stick to his brief as Europe spokesman.

After resigning from the front bench, he told the BBC it was a difficult decision, but he wanted to be free to defend selective education.

He added: "Grammar schools and selective areas are exactly the motor that does drive social mobility more effectively than comprehensive areas, that's why I have to carry on speaking out."

The Altrincham and Sale West MP, who is married with two children, is the only Tory MP left in Greater Manchester .

Europe 'surrender'

Mr Brady served as Michael Howard's parliamentary private secretary and was promoted again in 2004, to become a shadow minister in the foreign affairs team.

As Europe spokesman he opposed further European integration and said in 1997 that he would never support Britain joining the European single currency.

In 2005 he accused the government of "a surrender", after Tony Blair signalled he was ready to give up part of the UK's 4bn European Union rebate.

Mr Brady is considered to be socially liberal, having supported the equalisation of the age of consent, but is economically on the right of the party.

He supported David Davis in the Tory leadership election to succeed Michael Howard.


SEE ALSO
Tory quits post over grammars row
29 May 07 |  UK Politics
Tory reprimanded over grammars
29 May 07 |  UK Politics
Tory quits post over grammars row
29 May 07 |  UK Politics

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