A Humanist group has said the council’s plans to give one of two new secondary schools to the Catholic Church go against its policies on choice and diversity.

Jeremy Rodell, chairman of South West London Humanists, expressed concern over the proposals - which Richmond Council’s cabinet approved this week - saying they were about “exclusivity and privilege”.

Mr Rodell, of Morley Road, Twickenham, said the authority was following the Vatican’s Code of Canon Law, which says Catholic parents have the right to expect the state to provide for their children’s education.

But he told the cabinet meeting on Monday: “There is no right for Catholics, or any other group, to have their own school at taxpayers’ expense just because they ask for it, or because their leaders lay down laws telling them they ought to have it.

“The council’s duty is to act in the best interests of all the people of the borough, present and future, and Catholics comprise only about 10 per cent of the population.”

He stressed he was not criticising Catholics, but he did not believe the council should give one of two new schools needed by 2015 to the Catholic Church without carrying out a consultation, evaluating alternative options or considering competition from other bids.

Mr Rodell, who said his Humanist group has about 300 members, with most living in Richmond, also said he opposed school admissions policies that discriminated against children because of their parents’ religious beliefs.

Council leader Nick True said: “There are many Catholic people in this borough who are council taxpayers and are great supporters of good primary schools, outstanding performing primary schools, who when their children reach a certain age they find there is no provision for them.

“The borough is losing those pupils form the local education economy, and that’s not good for the way we look overall.”

The South West London Humanists group has launched a campaign on social networking site Facebook called "Learning together - no new faith schools for Richmond".

Visit facebook.com/jeremy.rodell#!/home.php?sk=group_179830565361576&ap=1.