Too common to sing for the PM?

24th September 2004 at 01:00
It is Tony Blair's habit, on the eve of the Labour party conference, to take a Sunday morning out from the political argy-bargy to go to church.

This year's event, hosted by the Christian Socialist Movement, will be at Brighton's parish church of St Peter's where our leader will be treated to a service stressing traditional Christian socialist values of "equality, redistribution, human dignity, inclusion and community".

All of which rather sticks in the craw of St Peter's choir, made up of children and adults from across the city. They have been unceremoniously booted out of the service in favour of a choir from the exclusive pound;13,000-a-year Brighton college, headed by none other than Mr Blair's own biographer Anthony Seldon.

One parent, whose state-educated child spends hours every week rehearsing for the choir, said: "Some of these people have been going to three or four practices a week only to be told that the Prime Minister will be not be listening to them. The general feeling is one of insult and disgust."

The Rev Martin Morgan, vicar of Rottingdean and local organiser of the event, was unimpressed: "Yeah, yeah, yeah. We grew up a long time ago and this is a rainbow city. We have got all sorts of people here and they can all be represented." A Brighton college spokeswoman said it would invite local state pupils to join its choir at the "rainbow" service.

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