Lib Dems can introduce statutory sex education by voting for October’s bill, says Caroline Lucas
Green MP Caroline Lucas is calling on the Liberal Democrats to support a bill for Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education.
The MP for Brighton Pavilion welcomed yesterday’s decision by the Lib Dems to back PSHE.
It will receive its second reading on 24 October. The bill could theoretically pass to committee stage if Labour and Lib Dem MPs voted for it on mass – even with Tory opposition.
“It’s great news that the Liberal Democrats have voiced their support for statutory sex and relationships education in schools,” Ms Lucas told PinkNews.co.uk
“I hope their calls will now translate into practical support for my Private Members Bill, so we can properly debate the issue in Parliament.”
Ms Lucas continued: “While I’m very happy to see increased backing on the issue, the calls need to go further. It’s really important that sex and relationships education (SRE) sits within a broader context of Personal, Social, Health and Economic Education – including education on ending violence against women and girls.
“It’s also hugely important that teachers receive continued support and guidance on best practice for delivering and inspecting PSHE and SRE education.”
Labour has already promised to make PSHE statutory if it wins the 2015 general election.
Speaking to PinkNews in February, Labour leader Ed Miliband said: “Making sex education in schools compulsory is the right thing to do, it’s the right thing for our young people, it’s the right thing for our country, and we should have the courage of our convictions.”
Seema Malhotra, Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, said: “Time and again the Lib Dems say one thing and do another.
“If Lib Dem MPs had backed Labour’s legislative amendments, this would already be a reality for our young people. We have campaigned for this for years and they have repeatedly voted against it.”
Lib Dem Schools Minister David Laws said: “It is vitally important that children learn all the life skills they need when they are at school, and Liberal Democrats believe that this should include learning financial literacy, citizenship and age-appropriate sex and relationship education.
“We have long made the case, both inside and outside government, for updated sex and relationship education to be taught in all schools, including academies and free schools, but it is not something the Conservatives are open to.
“We believe that by educating children about sex and relationships in an appropriate way, we can help them to make informed choices in their personal lives.”
The leader of the Conservative Party remains opposed to statutory PSHE.
However, several Tory parliamentarians, including the Conservative peer Lord Fowler, MP Michael Fabricant, and Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Health Select Committee, have expressed their support for the policy in recent days.