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Will Nicky Morgan champion LGBT equality in schools as Education Secretary?

July 15, 2014

Michael Gove, who previously resisted updating sex education guidance in schools, has been replaced by a minister who voted against same-sex marriage – and is now responsible for the entire equalities brief and all of schools.

Last year, Nicky Morgan defended her opposition to equal marriage by saying “teachers” had concerns about the same-sex marriage act.

Commentators are already questioning David Cameron’s decision to promote Ms Morgan as Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities in his Cabinet reshuffle.

Labour MP Steve Reed said it was a “lurch to the right” by the Prime Minister.

Left-wing journalist and columnist Owen Jones also criticised the decision.

Along with LBC radio presenter Julia Hartley-Brewer.

Ms Morgan, MP for Loughborough, was previously appointed Financial Secretary to the Treasury and Minister for Women in a government reshuffle in April, sparked by the resignation of Maria Miller.

Downing Street announced today that the equalities brief had now been added to her ministerial portfolio – and that the Government Equalities Office (GEO) is moving from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS), to the Department for Education (DfE).

Noting that same-sex marriage legislation is already in place, and there is no challenge to have it reversed, Downing Street said Ms Morgan would be working on issues such as tackling homophobic bullying in schools through both roles.

Michael Gove, who has served as education secretary since May 2010, is now Chief Whip.

Unlike Ms Morgan, Mr Gove was a strong supporter of same-sex marriage, saying it would “enhance” the institution of marriage in February 2013.

He voted for the policy, Ms Morgan voted against.

During his time at the Department for Education (DfE), Mr Gove was accused by his critics of dragging his feet when it came to updating sex education guidance in schools.

Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressed his frustration at the failure of the Cabinet to agree on the need to “improve” and “modernise” the guidance in January.

Mr Gove previously warned that sex education in schools would not be modernised because “changing social mores” will only make fresh advice out of date. He also said that “the right thing to do is to trust teachers”.

Suggesting Mr Gove’s approach was misguided, Mr Clegg said that improved sex education “shouldn’t be held back by a reluctance to work with school leaders, to work with the education establishment”.

A short time later, DfE announced a review of the guidance for schools.

Last week, DfE reiterated its opposition to statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education.

Campaigners say the measure would help beef-up sex education, but the government believes existing legislation is already adequate.

 

More: conservative mp, David Cameron, Education Secretary, Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act, Michael Gove, Minister for Women and Equalities, Nick Morgan, sex education, tory mp

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