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Hague's grammar champion

TORY leader William Hague has put the defence of selection at the top of his education agenda.

Mr Hague, who likes to emphasise his own comprehensive-school education, has brought Graham Brady, a staunch supporter of grammar schools, into the party's front-bench team.

Graham Brady, MP for Altrincham and Sale West, will be the party's "grammar schools spokesman". He will also take responsibility for employment. John Hayes, currently employment spokesman, will switch to take the remainder of the schools portfolio, replacing Hertsmere MP James Clappison who has moved to a junior Treasury post.

Mr Brady is a stalwart defender of the selective system. His constituency contains four grammars including Altrincham grammar, his former school.

He moves to his ew post from the whips' office.

Aged 33, Mr Brady is the youngest Conservative MP. One of the few new Tory MPs elected in 1997, he was also parliamentary private secretary to party chairman Michael Ancram.

He has been a member of the education and employment select committee and secretary of the Conservative backbench education and employment committee since 1997.

Mr Brady, who was born in Salford and educated at Altrincham grammar, studied law at Durham University. He and his journalist wife have two children.

Before his election he worked in public relations. He said: "I have always had a very strong interest in education and employment policy ... and am very much looking forward to building on my involvement through my new appointment."

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