An MP has labelled the government’s free schools programme as ‘barking mad’.

John Cryer, Labour MP for Leyton and Wanstead, told local education campaign group, Our Community, Our Schools, that in the future he suspects numerous scandals involving free schools to emerge.

In the statement published on the group’s website this week Mr Cryer wrote: “The introduction of free schools removes democratic accountability and oversight from children’s education.

“There will undoubtedly be people running free schools who have the best of intentions but the scandals we have seen so far involving a number of free schools will probably prove to be the tip of the iceberg.

“The next few years will, I suspect, see a series of exposés in the media involving financial mismanagement, inappropriate teaching and inadequate staffing – all courtesy of the taxpayer.

“Incredibly, while the government cuts vital public services there are 100 civil servants working on free schools – and that’s what they admit to.

“Frankly, the government’s free schools programme is barking mad and seems to have been dreamt up by some ideologically driven obsessive somewhere in the bowels of Conservative headquarters.”

Our Community, Our Schools spokesman Jonathan White said: “This is part of a growing public backlash against the free schools experiment and we think it's time for those who have supported these schools in Waltham Forest to think again.”

The group campaigns to keep education under local authority control.

Four new free schools in Waltham Forest were given the green light last year by Education Secretary Michael Gove.

Three are expected to open this year while one has been delayed 12 months due to difficulty locating a site.