Conservative MP Philip Davies has single-handedly delayed regulations to make relationship education mandatory, amid a row over LGBT+ education.
On Wednesday (March 20), the MP for Shipley objected to a government motion that codifies new LGBT-inclusive guidance for relationships education in primary schools, and relationships and sex education in secondary schools.
Under Parliamentary rules, a single MP can hold up approval on the measure, stalling its passage.
Tory MP Philip Davies delays relationship education reforms
Davies, who sits on the Women and Equalities Committee despite opposing LGBT+ rights, sparked anger by voicing an objection to the regulations despite failing to attend the preceding 90 minutes of debate on the issue.
The MP has vocally opposed LGBT-inclusive education, claiming in 2017 it “introduces very young children to concepts, such as homosexuality and transgenderism, at an age where these cannot be critically assessed.”
Davies also used the floor of the House of Commons to attack a secondary school in 2009, after it held an educational LGBT History Month production of ‘Romeo and Julian’.
He claimed: “It is better for pupils to learn about Romeo and Juliet and Shakespeare, rather than politically correct Romeo and Julian.”
Supporters ‘gutted’ after Philip Davies stalls reforms
After Davies objected to the regulations, Labour’s shadow education secretary Angela Rayner tweeted: “Gutted that the motion didn’t pass unanimously tonight because one Tory, Philip Davies, who had not attended the debate, appeared at the last minute and objected to it.
“But we’ll carry on fighting and believe the House will pass it soon.”
Education minister Nick Gibb had said in the preceding debate: “One of the key elements of relationships education is ensuring that children are aware, including in primary schools, that loving families can be made up of two mothers, two fathers or one mother and one father.
“Children are being taught that other family structures are just as loving and caring as their own.”
The regulations, which Huffington Post reports will come back to Parliament next week, affirm guidance published in February that states: “We expect all pupils to have been taught LGBT content at a timely point.”
It stressed: “Schools must ensure that they comply with the relevant provisions of the Equality Act 2010, under which sexual orientation and gender reassignment are amongst the protected characteristics.”