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MPs pass symbolic vote on sex and relationship education

Joe Williams July 15, 2015

MPs have passed a 10-minute-rule bill proposed by Caroline Lucas today – which includes making an inclusive SRE education mandatory in all schools.

Education Secretary Nicky Morgan told parliament last month that the government would respond to the committee’s recommendations by June 26, but has so far failed to do so and many saw Ms. Lucas’ introduction of the 10-minute rule bill as a bid to force Morgan into action.

“I know that some people fear that PSHE can expose children to sexualisation but the exact opposite is true,” argued Lucas.

“A PSHE lesson for younger children wouldn’t be exposing them to anything graphic or upsetting.

“It would work to improve children’s grasp of what it means to give and receive consent generally.”

Conveying the importance of PSHE, the only Green Party MP in Parliament said: “The idea is that this gives them the solid building blocks they need as they encounter more complicated situations as they get older.

“Good quality PSHE, which is what this is all about, would always be age-appropriate and that’s why teachers need the training statutory status would give.”

Ms Lucas’s bill has received support from across the political spectrum, with four Labour MPs, Conservative Caroline Nokes and Liberal Democrat Norman Lamb previously backing it.

More than 100 organisations have joined a PSHE Association campaign for statutory PSHE education, including Stonewall.The MP for Brighton Pavilion will introduce the 10-minute rule bill to parliament after prime minister’s questions later today (July 15) in a bid to force Morgan into action.

Opposing the bill, Philip Davies claimed it would be “tyranny”, and that sex education does not work.

The MP for Shipley in West Yorkshire, spoke against the motion, saying: “I believe in parental responsibility… the Honourable Lady [Ms Lucas] said that 85 percent of parents agree with this particular measure.

I thought she would be the person who thought the 15 percent who didn’t agree deserve to be represented and have their views heard. Clearly she now believes in the tyranny of the majority.”

He added: “There are certain things that are the responsibility of parents, and parents alone, and cannot be farmed off to the state.”

A regular voter against LGBT rights laws – and strongly opposed same-sex marriage –  he also claimed that benefits reform would do more to lower the teenage pregnancy rate than “faffing about” with educating teenagers about sex. Mr Davies also appeared to suggest that sex education was to blame for teenage rape.

Last week, former Labour politician Charles Clarke has called for mandatory worship in schools to be scrapped – and for RE to be rebranded as “moral education”.

More: 10 minute rule bill, Caroline Lucas, Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, House of Commons, Philip Davies, PSHE, sex and relationship education

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