Adonis gets job as Blair adviser

24th April 1998 at 01:00
Former Liberal Democrat Andrew Adonis has joined No 10 as an education adviser to Tony Blair.

Mr Adonis, the son of a Greek Cypriot farmer who came to Britain in the 1950s, attended a state primary school. At 12 he went on to board at a minor public school. He read modern history at Oxford and is a fellow of Nuffield College.

His background contrasts with that of his new boss David Miliband, who for the past 12 months has been the chief policy adviser on education. Mr Miliband - son of the Marxist philosopher Ralph Miliband - had a comfortable middle-class upbringing and was educated at a comprehensive.

For most of Mr Adonis's short career - he is 35 - he has been able to offer governments advice from the comfort of newspaper offices. He was education correspondent and later public policy editor at the Financial Times and was recruited by No 10 from the Observer, where he was a political columnist.

His book A Class Act (co-written with Express columnist Stephen Pollard) accuses comprehensives of entrenching class divides.

Mr Adonis's prescription for tackling social exclusion was not revealed in his newspaper columns or his book. Mr Pollard says that the book does not present solutions because the two authors could not agree.

Mr Adonis says a great social divide separates what is on offer for the under-fives. Labour's pledge of a half-day nursery place for every four-year-old appears meagre against what pre-preps in the private sector offer.

In the 1980s Mr Adonis was a Liberal Democrat councillor in Oxford. He joined the Labour party about four years ago.

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