PM challenged over ‘failing to condemn’ in LGBT+ education row

In the wake of Housing Diversity Day, Theresa May is challenged at PMQs over LGBT+ education.

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Theresa May’s record on LGBT+ support was challenged in the Commons today (20th March).

Labour MP Lloyd Russell-Moyle referenced May’s opposition to repealing Section 28 – that he said led to LGBT+ people like himself being stigmatised in schools – in urging the PM to reject comments made by Leader of the House Andrea Leadsom.

Earlier in the day, Leadsom had said in a radio interview that parents should be able to choose when their children are “exposed” to LGBT+ education.

Yesterday (19th May), the sector marked Housing Diversity day, with 24housing outlining findings from the Human City Institute report on the extent to which the sector has progressed on LGBTQ+ over the last two decades.

The report revealed that lower satisfaction rates with social landlord services are prevalent among LGBTQ+ groups.

At PMQs (20th March), May told Russell-Moyle she would send him a written explanation of the government’s policy on LGBT+ education.

Leadsom came under fire after she told LBC that families should be able to withdraw children from lessons about LGBT+ relationships “up to a certain age”.

She has since denied claims that she opposes LGBT+ education in schools.

But Leadsom said she was a “massive supporter” of Conservative Party efforts to achieve equality for LGBT+ communities, saying that all children must be given the lessons at a certain point “in order to have an equal society”.

“It is absolutely vital that children do grow up understanding the society that they live in and that they grow up tolerant and seeking equality and respecting differences,” she said.

During PMQ’s, Russell-Moyle said: “I know the Prime Minister campaigned to keep Section 28, which banned LGBT+ people being talked about positively in schools, and led to millions of young people growing up in fear of being LGBT.

“I thought the Prime Minister had seen the error of her ways, but this morning the Leader of the House said on radio that parents should decide when [children] are exposed to LGBT+ education.

“This is Conservative party dog-whistle politics. Will the Prime Minister condemn the Leader of the House, condemn bigots that don’t want LGBT+ people to be heard in schools, and will she support Ofsted with good LGBT+ education in our schools?”

Lib Dem education spokesperson Layla Moran also echoed that Leadsom should “apologise immediately”, calling her choice of language “unacceptable”.

“What she refers to as being ‘exposed to that information’ is in fact children being educated. Which is exactly what our schools are there to do, and are being taught to understand and be respectful of all individuals, families and relationships,” Moran said.

“Andrea Leadsom’s comment comes across as nothing short of bigoted and offensive.”

Leadsom’s interview comes amid a row about LGBT+ lessons for children, with several schools in Birmingham having stopped teaching pupils about gay rights following complaints from parents.

At one school, 600 children were reportedly taken out of school for a day in protest over the classes, with parents arguing the curriculum “promotes” same-sex relationships.

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