Private education would become "redundant" under a Labour government through the improvement of the life chances of all state school pupils, the shadow secretary of state for child poverty said today.
Speaking at Labour's annual conference in Brighton this morning, Wes Streeting said that his party would ensure that "every child" had access to "opportunities that set them up well for learning and for life".
This, he said, would the negate the benefits of an independent schools system.
Interview: 10 questions with…Wes Streeting
Mr Streeting made the comments after shadow education secretary Kate Green confirmed in her conference speech that the next Labour government would end tax breaks for private schools.
"We must go further to give every young person a brighter future," she said.
Labour plan to remove tax breaks for private schools
"That's why Labour will end tax breaks for private schools as Keir [Starmer, the Labour leader] announced at the weekend, and use that funding to equip young people with the skills they need for work and for life."
Mr Streeting, who was formerly the shadow schools minister, said today that some parents make "big financial sacrifices" to send their children to private school because they are given "the experience, the confidence and the expectation that they will become cabinet ministers, captains of industry and stars of screen and stage".
But private education would be made "redundant" under Labour, he said, because every child in the country would have access to opportunities, giving them "the security that comes with having a good career, a home of your own and a strong community where you'd want your own children to grow up".
"Kids who go to private schools are given a whole range of opportunities that set them up well for learning and for life, opportunities that are denied to too many kids in the state schools," he said.
"Under the Tories, we're going backwards. Kids' participation in music is down, competitive sport, in and out of school, down, and for theatre and drama, participation is down by almost a half.
"They wouldn't accept it for their own kids. We won't accept it for any kids. Never let anyone tell you that aspiration only belongs to the middle classes."
He added: "If there's one thing – over and above everything else – that makes the most difference to tackling poverty in our society, it's a great state education.
"It gave a boy from a council estate in Stepney the chance to become the first person in his family to graduate from university to stand here on this platform today.
"Labour, in opposition, can't lift millions of children out of poverty, but a Labour government can. So let's work together and win together to give every child the very best start in life."