A Conservative MP says it is "criminal" to think about "destroying" private schools.

Hertsmere MP Oliver Dowden made the comments during a visit to Immanuel College in Bushey.

Mr Dowden was invited for a tour of the school, which was recently rated 'excellent' by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.

But after his visit, the MP made reference to a possible Labour policy which was proposed at the party's annual conference last month.

The policy was "a commitment to integrate all private schools into the state sector".

Mr Dowden said: "I went to an excellent state school Parmiter’s, in Garston. As your local MP I am determined to support all great schools, state and fee-paying.

"Here in Hertsmere, we are so fortunate to have a fantastic variety of schools that I have been delighted to visit and champion. Whether that is good state schools like Yavneh College, Dame Alice Owens and Hertswood Academy, or fantastic fee-paying schools like the Purcell School and Immanuel College.

"It seems to me that it is absolutely criminal for us to think about destroying a brilliant, Jewish fee-paying school like this, or schools like Haberdashers or Aldenham School.

"I am determined as Member of Parliament to campaign for all our schools, including our fee-paying schools, against retrograde policies that will destroy them.

"I will continue to champion all the schools in my constituency, and very much look forward to my upcoming visits to meet with staff and students."

Responding to Mr Dowden's remarks, Holly Kal-Weiss, Hertsmere Labour parliamentary candidate said: "It is criminal the way this government has cut school budgets. As a teacher I know first hand how hard educationalists work to achieve the best for their pupils.

"Under Labour, all schools will be well resourced so they don't have to lose teachers or shorten the school week. The Tories' attempt to scare-monger misses the point. All parents want the best for their children and all children deserve an equal opportunity for a brilliant education."