HC Deb 15 December 1987 vol 124 cc987-1038
Mr. Simon Hughes

I beg to move amendment No. 32, in page 27, line 27, after 'authority', insert 'may undertake Sex Education in the course of which an awareness of different sexual orientations may be taught but the local authority'.

Mr. Deputy Speaker (Sir Paul Dean)

With this it will be convenient to consider the following amendments: No. 33, in page 27, line 30, leave out subsection (b).

No. 34, in page 27, line 35, leave out 'either of the purposes' and insert 'the purpose'.

No. 35, in page 27, line 35, leave out 'paragraphs' and insert 'paragraph'.

No. 36, in page 27, line 36, leave out 'and (b)'.

No. 47, page 27, line 38, leave out 'treating or preventing the spread of disease' and insert 'care counselling and health education on AIDS and other diseases'. No. 37, in page 27, line 39, at end insert:— '(2A) Nothing in subsection (1) above shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of discouraging discrimination against any homosexual person, or designed to protect the civil rights of any such person.'. No. 38, in page 27, line 39, at end insert `(2A) Nothing in subsection (1) above shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of providing information, counselling or advice to any pupil at a school or other educational establishment maintained by the authority as to his personal or social development or any family relationship which can reasonably be regarded as likely to affect that development.'. No. 48, page 28, line 3, at end insert: — '(1A) Nothing in this section shall permit or encourage discrimination on the grounds of sexual orientation'.

Mr. Hughes

If I understand correctly, the Government do not intend to agree to amendment No. 32. Therefore, we shall force a Division so that hon. Members may have an opportunity to vote for the inclusion of the words in the amendment.

At this stage I shall set out our views on the other amendments which are being considered. Amendment No. 33 is substantive and amendments Nos. 34 to 36 are consequential. My hon. Friends and I support amendments Nos. 47 and 48 in the name of the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms. Ruddock) and amendments Nos. 37 and 38 which have been tabled by the official Opposition. If there are Divisions on any of those amendments, we shall support the amendments. So that hon. Members are clear, the amendment that I have moved and those that follow from it are supported by all my colleagues in the parliamentary Liberal party.

Clause 27 is a late arrival in the Bill. It came by way of a new clause tabled in Committee by the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) which was supported by other Conservative Back-Bench Members. It was accepted, with an amendment, by the Minister for Local Government. Therefore, it comes before the House for the first time as part of the Bill.

The history of the proposal is slightly longer. The derivation of the new clause was the Local Government Act 1986 (Amendment) Bill which was introduced into the other place by the noble Lord the Earl of Halsbury. It also appeared as a private Member's Bill in this House. It is interesting to recollect the view of the Government on the proposal then—which, as I think the Minister for Local Government will concede, is substantively, if not exactly, the same as clause 27.

Lord Skelmersdale gave the Government's view in response to the Earl of Halsbury's speech on Second Reading. The Bill changed the law on two matters, the second of which was the matter that concerns us now. Lord Skelmersdale said: Turning now to the second part of the prohibition we are all agreed that the most dangerous and pernicious effects of loosening sexual values are on children. Schools must approach the difficult task of teaching their pupils about sexual matters in a responsible and sensitive manner. We must ensure that children are not subject to insidious propaganda for homosexuality. Moreover, the physical and emotional dangers of promiscuity should be spelt out. Regrettably there have been instances—we have heard some referred to in this debate—of the use of unsound teaching methods and materials and the propagation of extreme and unrepresentative views of sexual ethics and mores in the main related to the presentation of homosexuality. The Bill seeks to make this illegal by prohibiting financial or other assistance being made available by local authorities for this purpose. Moreover, it refers to a very subjective word—namely, 'acceptability', a word which could occupy your Lorships, sitting in your judicial capacity, for hour after hour. In Committee the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) and I raised exactly this point with the Minister. The definition in the second provision of the Bill has no qualification and has in it several words which are not defined in the Bill. It was the view of the Government as recently as less than a year ago, on 18 December last year, in the other place that the word "acceptability", which we debated in Committee only last week, was capable of substantial debate and was very unfair.

In another place Lord Skelmersdale went on to make two points which we raised in Committee. First, he said that the amendment that the Earl of Halsbury's original Bill would have introduced was better dealt with in the context of education legislation. He made the point that the Government had just legislated in the Education (No. 2) Act 1986 to provide that sex education be taught in schools and that the arrangements for the curriculum should include the views of parents and governors. Again I quote Lord Skelmersdale: Under the new arrangements, all those responsible for the provision of sex education in county, voluntary and maintained schools will be required by law to ensure that any teaching offered is set within a clear moral context and is supportive of family life. He said later: What all this means is that the Bill of the noble Earl seeks to prevent local education authorities from encouraging the promotion of homosexuality in schools at the very time that those same authorities are about to cease to have a direct role in determining the kind of sex education to be offered in schools. He therefore made the second point which was that not only is the word "acceptability" laden with possible interpretations but that the Bill was seeking unnecessarily to legislate in the education context. I do not quote all the points that the Minister made against the Bill, but he said: Finally, on that aspect of the Bill, I should express reservations about how the wording of the Bill— with its prohibition of the promotion of homosexuality as an acceptable family relationship — might be interpreted in practice. The House will want to investigate, again in Committee, whether the meaning is clear or whether there is a risk that any teaching about homosexuality will effectively be outlawed. The Government's policy is that schools should be prepared to address the issue of homosexuality, provided they approach it in a balanced and factual manner, appropriate to the maturity of the pupils concerned. The issue cannot he ignored by schools when it is widely discussed in society and when pupils may well ask questions about it … The Government have made it quite clear that any teaching about homosexuality must never, in any sense, advocate or encourage it as a normal form of relationship. To do so would be educationally and morally indefensible. I appreciate that the noble Earl's Bill seeks to prevent only such abuses. I fear, however, that the distinction between these, and what I have described as proper teaching about homosexuality, cannot be drawn sufficiently clearly in legislation to avoid harmful misinterpretation. That is a risk we cannot take. That is what a Minister from the Department of the Environment said on 18 December 1986.

Mr. Michael Brown (Brigg and Cleethorpes)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

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Mr. Hughes

In a moment. in the Government's view, the Bill is unnecessary".—[Official Report, House of Lords, 18 December 1986, Vol. 483, c. 334–6.] He went on to say that it was not a sensible way to proceed.

Mr. Michael Brown

I sought to intervene because I wanted to ensure that the hon. Gentleman quoted the last sentence, and he has just done so.

Mr. Hughes

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for reminding me earlier that that express statement of view was confirmed by the Government during the early stages of the passage of the Bill in the other place.

On Third Reading in the other place, Baroness Hooper, speaking on behalf of the Government on 11 February 1987, said: My Lords, this gives me a convenient opportunity to remind the House of the Government's position on the Bill". At the end of her speech, she said: We do not therefore believe that the Bill is necessary or an appropriate method of dealing with this one small aspect of the problem". — [Official Report, House of Lords, 11 February 1987; Vol. 484, c. 708–9.] That is what two Ministers, from the relevant Department, said less than a year ago. They came out clearly against the Government's present position.

We are used to Government about-turns. In a short debate that we had barely an hour ago, the Under-Secretary of State for the Environment told us that, a few months ago, he had sent out a letter expressly saying that the Government would not legislate to impose competitive tendering on parish and community councils. However, tonight the Government moved an amendment expressly to include parish and community councils. Therefore, we are used to U-turns and misrepresentation from that Department of the Environment.

I have dealt with the history of this matter and the Government's sordid role, and I shall now consider the issue of substance. In Committee I made it clear that the initial part of the clause that reads: Local authorities shall not— (a) promote homosexuality or publish material for the promotion of homosexuality had the support of the Liberal party. We believe that, using the dictionary definition — there is no other definition because the Government have not supplied one—that is a proper statement on what should be the role of local authorities. Members on both sides of the Committee accepted that there is a need to qualify that statement, and that is why my hon. Friend the Member for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) and I tabled amendment No. 32.

That amendment is intended to make it expressly clear that a local authority may undertake Sex Education in the course of which an awareness of different sexual orientations may be taught. It seeks not to undermine the initial part of the clause regarding the promotion of homosexuality, but to ensure that it is natural and, indeed, perfectly proper, for education to include education about different sexual orientations that are found in any community. Indeed, it would be irresponsible to do otherwise.

The unqualified assertions in the three subsections of the clause are extremely dangerous. They represent a possible vehicle for misinterpretation that would be to the grave detriment of a non-discriminatory society or local government. My colleagues and I have two major criticisms. The first is that the original Bill and the clause are almost irrelevant to most of Britain in the sense that they are based on a few localised examples of abuse or possible abuse. The second is that the clause is damaging in its width, and the provisions that the Government intend to introduce to deal with the problem are also damaging. They are damaging to individuals who may well need the benefit of education, counselling, support and the opportunity to meet and discuss with other people their own and others' sexual orientation. They are also damaging to our pluralist society.

In Committee the hon. Member for Newport, West (Mr. Flynn) asked whether there had been any evidence or suggestion of a local authority promoting homosexuality in Wales. The Minister could give no example. To my knowledge, there is no evidence of any example in Scotland. If we are wrong, perhaps the Under-Secretary of State for Scotland will be able to correct us. However, I note that the Minister is no longer present; that shows his interest and the clause's importance to Scotland. Obviously, he does not consider that this is a matter of importance, or he would be on the Front Bench. He sat through the Committee proceedings, so presumably he could have managed to survive the final proceedings in the Chamber.

The hon. Member for Spelthorne made an appalling speech when he moved the original amendment. He chose to give examples that were not truthful and, until I questioned him in Committee, he chose to imply that a certain publication had emanated from local authorities when, by his own admission, the specific publication of which he had spoken did not. That represents an unacceptable misrepresentation. It epitomises the way in which Conservative Members have sought to raise the spectre of local authorities, especially those supported by other political parties, campaigning for the mass transformation — if that is biologically and genetically possible — of the land into a cast of rampaging homosexuals. That was the implication of the hon. Gentleman's speech.

Mr. Wilshire


Mr. Hughes

I shall give way in a moment.

The hon. Member for Spelthorne cited a second example—it has been dealt with by the hon. Member for Copeland — concerning the London borough of Ealing and a job advertisement. It concerned a worker for lesbian and gay rights, but the hon. Gentleman did not say that that advertisement had had all-party support within that borough. In the event, the post has not been filled.

Mr. Eric Forth (Mid-Worcestershire)

They are all bonkers in Ealing.

Ms. Clare Short (Birmingham, Ladywood)


Mr. Hughes

I will give way, but first I will give way to the hon. Member for Spelthorne because I have referred to him.

The speech made by the hon. Member for Spelthorne represented a grave distortion of the argument, and it is that type of prejudice that we must ensure does not occur. Such a wide, badly drafted and unqualified clause is open to such prejudice. We have seen such prejudice evidenced by Conservative Members and that prejudice is now supported by the Government, despite the fact that a year ago they recognised the folly of such a position.

Mr. Wilshire

The hon. Member has put words into my mouth. He challenged me on a dossier that I presented to the Committee. I was speaking about a book entitled "The playbook for kids about sex". I gave that example to the Committee to make the point that the book had been referred to the Director of Public Prosecutions in 1983. I was seeking not to say that it had been used in schools, but that it was available and had been challenged under existing legislation, yet the DPP had said that that legislation was not adequate to deal with the matter. That was all that I was seeking to illustrate, and the record shows that.

Mr. Hughes

No doubt the hon. Gentleman will make his own speech. However, in Committee he asked us all to consider a bundle of documents that he had produced. The Chairman of the Committee made it clear that the argument was about local government activities and that that was the only matter in order for debate in the Committee. I asked the hon. Gentleman: Is the hon. Gentleman asserting that the 'The playbook for kids about sex' is a local authority publication?" — [Official Report, Standing Committee A, 8 December 1987; c. 1202.] The hon. Gentleman replied "No, I am not." The whole argument was about publications by local authorities. The hon. Member for Spelthorne can explain his position when he comes, as he no doubt will, to his speech.

Ms. Short

I think that it is important that the hon. Gentleman spells out what he has just alleged. He suggested that the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) had attacked Ealing for having appointed a lesbian and gay rights worker. I understood the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) to say that the appointment was supported by Conservative councillors in Ealing. If so, I should like him to say that clearly and loudly in the House tonight, so that we can deal with some of the nasty games that are being played here.

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Lady is quite correct. The hon. Member for Copeland, or someone on his behalf, made the inquiries that confirmed that the Conservative party in Ealing supported the proposal.

I hope that the House does not want the role of local authorities to be to promote sexuality of any kind. Homosexuals do not happen as a result of campaigns for their promotion, just as heterosexuals are not suddenly brought into active heterosexualism by having a campaign on their behalf. I am not a biologist or scientist, but I know that that belief is founded on prejudice. If it is believed that, by allowing people to be informed of different sorts of sexuality, they are suddenly converted to those forms of sexuality—

Mr. Tony Banks

I do not know whether the hon. Gentleman heard the comment made from a sedentary position by the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth), who said that all the councillors in Ealing were bonkers — that obviously included the Conservative members of the council. It might be worth having that on the record.

Mr. Hughes

I did not hear that, but I see that the hon. Member for Mid-Worcestershire (Mr. Forth) is nodding his assent to the remark. For a moment, I thought that bonking and bonkers had to do with another activity, which might be appropriate to this debate. I do not know whether that is the first use of the word on the record, but I gather that it is in common parlance, so we should talk about it here, too.

I do not believe that homosexuals want their sexuality to be promoted any more than anyone else does. They would argue not for discrimination in their favour, but for equal treatment with everyone else. They want their sexuality to be accepted and to have equal access to jobs, housing, social and medical help, advice and particularly the sort of advice and counselling that take place during education and growing up.

8.15 pm

If the clause's aim is to protect the young, why are we not doing something about soft porn magazines, which are on sale in newsagents? Why are we not doing something about the matter raised by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Ladywood (Ms. Short) only last year—page 3 pictures in the popular newspapers? If we are trying not to promote different forms of sexuality, why do we not deal with television advertising, which often tries to sell products merely by appealing to people's sexual nature and motives? Why do the Government suddenly select this target, rather than another?

Of course, there are always people who will take advantage of positions of responsibility in a sexual context. However, that is true across the whole range of sexual activity. There is no evidence of any greater incidence of crime against young people by homosexuals than by heterosexuals. Sadly, there is always the risk that some adults will abuse their sexual adulthood in relationships with the young. But that is not a result of the promotion or advancement of arguments about homosexuality's existence. Indeed, I would argue strongly that unless awareness of homosexuality and acceptance of homosexuals is taught in school, they will be taught away from the classroon, in private, in a more harmful way.

That is why our amendments, and those tabled elsewhere, are important. I have heard informally that the Government plan to resist the amendments; but this prejudiced and bigoted late change of mind, which is presumably an effort to capitalise on a populist view and to gain the maximum political advantage from the scares and fears about AIDS and so on is something from which I hope they will resile. It is about time we had some principle on the issue, and not a sudden U-turn in the space of 12 months.

The debate about the new section, as set out in clause 27, raises many questions of definition. The Minister conceded in Committee that there was no definition in the Bill of the words "promotion", "acceptability", "pretended" or "family". Subsection (1)(b), if unamended, would read as follows: A local authority shall not — … (b) promote the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship by the publication of such material or otherwise".

Mrs. Elaine Kellett-Bowman (Lancaster)

Hear, hear.

Mr. Hughes

The hon. Member says, "Hear, hear." It is unacceptable to prevent the teaching that maintains that other people's relationships should be accepted by all civilised adults, whatever their personal views of the rightness or wrongness of those relationships.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

It depends on what one means by "civilised". I do not regard the practice of sodomy or buggery as being civilised.

Mr. Hughes

I am not asking the hon. Lady to regard those practices, or any others, as civilised. I am merely asking her to live in England in 1987 where, just as in 1887, or 1787, those practices go on. From the beginning of time there have been, are, and will be people who are homosexual, living in such relationships, sometimes with children.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman


Mr. Hughes

I defend the hon. Lady's right to think that it is disgusting, but I do not defend her right, on behalf of a minority Government, to legislate to pretend that it does not exist. If the hon. Lady made an effort to inform herself, she would realise that these things are not encouraged or discouraged by teaching that they should be accepted—just as other things that she might not like are accepted. There is theft in society: she might not like it, and it might be uncivilised. Burglary, robbery and even murder exist in society. They are uncivilised, but we must teach people that those sorts of things happen and, more importantly, that all our fellow adults should be entitled to make their own choices, provided that they do not try to intrude on the lives and lifestyles of others. That is why the definitions in the clause are extremely dangerous.

Whatever our view about the morality of different sorts of sexual behaviour, and although there might be agreement in parts of the House about the immorality of certain sexual behaviour, we should allow local authorities as the agents of Government throughout Britain to teach that homosexuality is to be accepted. That is what this clause is about. Children, as they approach school-leaving age as young adults, should be taught about the risks in sexual relations and about the medical and other dangers. Those things should be taught as a regular and normal part of their curriculum. I shall give two examples, and I invite the Minister to say on what side of the line he comes down.

The Government use the words "safe sex" in their advertising campaigns. Does a leaflet promoting safe sex for homosexuals, perhaps from the Terrence Higgins Trust, which is funded by the Government, count as promoting homosexuality? If not, where is the dividing line? What about the funding of help lines, counselling lines or centres promoted by local authorities for lesbian women or gay men? Given that local authorities have a duty to all their electors, they must have a duty to gay men and lesbian women.

It is sad that we have to have this debate. If the Government had held to their principled position of less than a year ago, we would not need to have a debate such as this because the reactionary view propounded by some Conservative Back Benchers would be resisted just as it was resisted a year ago.

However, things have changed. The tragedy is that at the last minute in Committee the Government took a new position and are now advancing a piece of legislation that they admitted was defective and that is generally regarded as dangerous. That was why in Committee I expressly said on behalf of my party that we would not support the proposition. That is why I now confirm that the amendments that I and my hon. Friends have tabled are the minimum necessary to make this legislation acceptable. It is quite wrong for local authorities to promote homosexuality, but the clause goes miles too far and should be amended to make it in any way acceptable to the House and to the country.

Mr. Michael Brown

In Committee last week, I said that it was with great reluctance that I was prepared to go along with the new clause. I endorse a great deal of what has been said by the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). The Standing Committee was bounced into accepting the new clause. The hon. Gentleman has drawn our attention to the debate that took place almost a year ago this week when the noble Lord Skelmersdale who held office in the Department of the Environment made a speech.

The point that the Minister must address is a simple one. I have a copy of the Bill that was introduced in the House of Lords and it is almost exactly identical to the Bill that is before the House. Even the wording is almost the same. I see that my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) who put her name to the new clause, is nodding assent. Therefore, we have it from my hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston that the new clause which the Government accepted last Tuesday is exactly the same as the one in the Bill about which the noble Lord Skelmersdale spoke in another place. He said: I fear, however, that the distinction between these, and what I have described as proper teaching about homosexuality, cannot be drawn sufficiently clearly in legislation to avoid harmful misinterpretation. That is a risk we cannot take. In these circumstances, in the Government's view the Bill is unnecessary." —[Official Report, House of Lords, 18 December 1986; Vol. 483, c. 336.] By accepting the new clause, the Minister is saying that he is now prepared to allow an insufficient and incorrect line to be drawn in legislation. He is prepared to risk "harmful misinterpretation" whereas his predecessor said that it was a risk that the Government were not prepared to take. The Minister's predecessor said that the Bill was unnecessary, but the Minister says that it is now necessary. What has changed in the last year? Unfortunately, what has changed is a degree of populism that is becoming a symptom of a less tolerant society.

Dame Jill Knight (Birmingham, Edgbaston)

What has changed, surely, is that the Bill as it was passed through all its stages in the other place without question. It came to the House of Commons and the Minister who was responsible for it at the time strongly supported the whole thinking behind the Bill of the need to protect children. However much my hon. Friend may think that that is not necessary, I am afraid that it is true.

Mr. Brown

My hon. Friend the Member for Edgbaston has very sincere reasons for wanting to see this legislation go through. I am merely drawing to the attention of the House the view of the Government that was reported in the House of Lords' Hansard. Again I pose the question, "What has changed?" Of course I accept that it is necessary to protect children and to ensure that irresponsible local authorities do not promote homosexuality. As the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey says, the clause has gone much further than that.

While I go along with the objections of my hon. Friend the Member for Edgnbaston, I do not accept that only those objectives will be served by the enactment of the new clause. Therefore, I shall not vote with my hon. Friends against the amendments.—[Interruption.]

Dr. John Cunningham (Copeland)

The new clause inserted in the Bill in Committee and the amendments tabled by the official Opposition—I specifically refer to amendments Nos. 37 and 38—raise fundamental issues of personal liberty and civil rights.

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

On a point of order Mr. Deputy Speaker. If people in the Strangers' Gallery continue to try to inhibit debate, I shall spy strangers.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

Order. No one interrupts debates in this Chamber, and I hope that there will be no reference to any interruptions from elsewhere.

Dr. Cunningham

I hope that that rule applies tomorrow in the poll tax debate, Mr. Deputy Speaker.

As I say, the amendments raise fundamental issues of personal liberty and civil rights. The Opposition believe in equal rights and equal treatment for all people, including homosexuals. We are not asking for—nor do gay people demand—positive rights or preferential treatment. Equal treatment, however, is central to the civil liberties of all people as citizens. The hon. Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) was right when he said that the House is really debating standards of tolerance in a civilised society. It is obvious that if Conservative Members had their way, those standards of tolerance and dignity would be eroded and downgraded. The Minister should state at the outset of his response whether the Government intend to allow on the statute book a clause which may well infringe the civil liberties of many homosexual people.

8.30 pm

The amendments seek to set out clearly the priorities of the Opposition Front Bench in relation to the new clause tabled in Committee. The amendments make it clear, first, that we do not believe that any local authority has or should have a duty to promote homosexuality, but that this restriction relates solely to the promotion of homosexuality, and not to services or information to homosexual people or those personally close to them, such as their family or friends. "Promote" should not be taken to mean only "actively encourage, help and advise people to understand the circumstances they are in". Nothing in the new clause should be allowed to prevent or hinder the discouragement of discrimination against homosexual people, or to impinge on their civil rights.

That position underlay the decision of myself and my hon. Friends on the Standing Committee not to oppose the clause, to the extent that it covered the promotion of an act, but to make it clear that we intended to seek amendments on Report, as we are now doing.

In the light of the debate that took place in Committee, the amendments are all the more important. Without them the drafting of the clause could lead to widespread misunderstanding, indeed, fear, and could cause serious damage to the rights of homosexual people. In moving the new clause, the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) said: Nothing that I seek to change by the new clause has anything to do with homosexuals: it is about the act of promoting homosexuality; nothing that I want to say seeks to speak against the freedom of adults to follow their own beliefs and morals in private; and nothing that I intend to say seeks to encourage any person or body to discriminate against homosexuals."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 8 December 1987; c. 1201.] If the hon. Gentleman believes that — I hope that he does—and if the Government believe that, they should accept amendments Nos. 37 and 38 and the hon. Member for Spelthorne should vote for them — even if the Government oppose them — if he is to stand by the intention of his words in Committee.

Amendment No. 37 would exempt from the ambit of the legislation any activity of a local authority, or funded by an authority, which is undertaken for the purpose of discouraging discrimination or desiring to protect the civil liberties of homosexual people. The problem concerns the meaning of "promotion" where a section of the population is disadvantaged in some way. The provision of information or services which contribute to the well-being of members of that section of the population are not intended to promote homosexuality, yet some could argue that they contribute indirectly to promotion in a wider sense, merely by improving the lot of the everyday lives of such people.

The hon. Member for Spelthorne denied that his clause had anything to do with homosexual people, yet implicitly he argued the contrary when, as reported in col. 1204 of the Official Report, he stated that the production of positive images of homosexuals amounted to promotion. It is generally accepted in every other civilised society that an important aspect of discouraging any form of discrimination against any individual or group is the discouragement of negative images of the people concerned.

Mr. Wilshire

Can the hon. Gentleman distinguish between negative images, positive images and neutral images? I ask him to consider that point.

Dr. Cunningham

We all know what negative images are; we have seen them thoughout history. There were negative images of Jews and immigrants. Now we have negative portrayal of homosexuality. If the hon. Gentleman does not understand that, he is really not fit to be a Member of the House.

It is generally accepted that the important aspect of discouraging any form of discrimination is the discouragement of abuse of people, denial of equality of opportunity and denial of their civil rights. The clause would appear to include the prevention of such activity. Therein lies the nub of the difficulty with the term "promotion" and the wide terms which it appears to be intended to have. It need hardly he said that the risk that such an interpretation might be adopted by the courts should give rise to serious concern, and that is the main reason for amendment No. 37. If banning promotion means or carries the risk of meaning the banning of anti-discrimination activity, it would be a serious and retrograde step against civil rights in our society, which our amendment seeks to prevent.

We can all agree with the words of Lord Skelmersdale who said last year: we are all agreed that the most dangerous and pernicious effects of loosening sexual values are on children. Schools must approach the difficult task of teaching their children about sexual matters in a responsible and sensitive manner. We must ensure that children are not subject to insidious propaganda". —[Official Report, House of Lords, 18 December 1986; Vol. 483, c. 334.] Amendment No. 38 deals with information, advice and counselling to pupils at schools and colleges. The hon. Member for Spelthorne said that the new clause seeks to prevent local authorities promoting homosexuality, from teaching children about homosexual relationships as acceptable family relationships and from helping others to do so."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A,. 8 December 1987; c. 1206.] If that is really the meaning of the new clause, it would require a local authority to advise its teachers that children seeking information, advice or counselling about their family circumstances, perhaps because a parent was homosexual, would have to be told that the life of their family was not acceptable under the law. The psychological effect of any such response on a child is difficult to imagine, but one can only think that it would be appalling.

I turn to the Government's contradictory position. The hon. Members for Brigg and Cleethorpes and for Southwark and Bermondsey have raised the point, almost in identical words to those I had written in my notes. On 18 December 1986, almost exactly one year ago, the then Under-Secretary of State for the Environment, Lord Skelmersdale, speaking for the Government in the House of Lords, said that the very use of the word "acceptability" in the Bill being debated meant that the Government could not recommend acceptance of the Bill. That is the very issue we raised in the Committee, for the obvious reasons that I have just outlined.

We must know what has made the Government change their mind. What events, influences and legal advice have brought the Government to find not only acceptable, but necessary, something that was totally unacceptable only 12 months ago? We do not have a shred of evidence from anyone to substantiate the argument for the use of the word "acceptability" in the clause, let alone any vestige of a case on which the Government could base such a volte face. We are led to the conclusion — perhaps the Minister of State can persuade us otherwise — in the absence of any evidence, that this U-turn is for the most base and contemptible politically opportunist reasons.

I do not intend to requote every word of the noble Lord Skelmersdale's speech as it has already been put on record by the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey, but he said: Moreover, it refers to a very subjective word—namely, `acceptability', a word which could occupy your Lordships, sitting in your judicial capacity, for hour after hour." — [Official Report, House of Lords, 18 December 1986; Vol. 483, c. 334.]

Mr. Simon Hughes

The hon. Gentleman will know that that comment was made a year ago. When hon. Gentlemen pressed the Minister for Local Government in Committee, he appeared to be content with a one-sentence, off-the-cuff answer about such a definition. He said: I have said that I do not believe that it is part of a local authority's duty to glorify homosexuality or to encourage youngsters to believe that it is on an equal footing with a heterosexual way of life." —[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 8 December 1987; c. 1228.] The Minister is not willing to introduce an amendment or put any definition in the Bill.

Dr. Cunningham

The hon. Gentleman is absolutely right, and I fear the worst of the Government's intentions. I hope that the Minister will accept the amendments. If he does not, he will have a difficult job to explain to the House why he will not do so.

When the right hon. Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson) spoke in the debate mentioned by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) he said that the recent provisions on sex education and a moral framework in the Education Act 1986 should be given time to work in practice, and that the code of practice under the Local Government Act 1986 should be issued first and be given time to take effect. The latter reason is almost laughable, except that these issues are not funny. Even now, seven months later, the Government have not finalised that code of practice, of which there is now a fifth draft.

Ministers should answer two questions to explain the Government's situation. What evidence do they have—which they did not have in May—that section 46 of the Education Act 1986 is not working in practice and is deficient, and what is that evidence, if there is any? Secondly, they should explain what has changed to make the code to which I have referred irrelevant to that process, and why is no time being allowed for it to operate in practice before yet more legislation is introduced? That code was introduced in previous legislation. It has never been published and given a chance to operate.

Finally, some concern has been expressed by AIDS workers that the Government's amendment on AIDS—now subsection (2)—will not be sufficiently comprehensive. It would be useful, and indeed important, for Ministers to clarify whether care and counselling services would be affected by the operation of the clause.

The exemption covers treating and preventing disease, but it is not clear whether that extends to wider care and counselling services. It must be clear that, without sympathetic advice and assistance and proper facilities for the care of infected people, efforts to arrest the spread of AIDS and improve awareness of it could be severely hampered, and that those with possible infection will be more reluctant than ever to come forward for advice and treatment. The Government would not wish—at least, I hope that they would not — to impede any assistance which local authorities or other agencies can give.

I hope that my hon. Friends will give the Minister time to respond to those points and perhaps they will question him on his answers because we are entitled to know now why the Government have accepted those proposals, and why they have put the House into this position and what they intend to do about it.

8.45 pm
Mr. Harry Greenway (Ealing, North)

I do not doubt the sincerity of the hon. Members for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) or that of other Opposition Members. I question what they said on the basis of constituency experience and personal conviction.

When Ealing council changed from Conservative to Labour in May 1986, there was a long and sustained campaign by the new council to have homosexual and lesbian relationships taught in schools as being as valid as heterosexual relationships.

Ms. Short

Where is the evidence?

Mr. Greenway

The evidence is in the rubric and the documents that were openly circulated by the council to parents and governing bodies. The council made no attempt not to be completely open in that discussion, and that was absolutely right. The evidence is there for all to see.

The parents and grandparents of children in Ealing and other people came to see me in their hundreds and thousands to express their great concern about that policy and to express their opposition to it. I decided to promote a full discussion on it, and in February of this year I arranged a conference on the family, which was addressed by Cardinal Home, Bishop Maurice Wood, an Anglican bishop, representatives from the free Churches and leaders of the Sikh, Moslem and Hindu communities. There was a section on AIDS, addressed by Dr. Pinching, to try to give the conference the fullest possible profile, and that was right. The conference became a way in which parents, responsibly and without a lot of shouting, expressed their opposition to the policy of Ealing council, and that opposition was virtually unanimous.

Children are vulnerable. I taught in schools for 23 years and saw that children are vulnerable at various ages. They are totally and continuously vulnerable between the ages of 5 and 12, and they continue to be vulnerable, sometimes to adulthood from the age of 13 years, as we know. It is essential that children are protected. I do not believe that the House would ever say that children should not be protected, and I know that Opposition Members will agree with that.

Mr. Tony Banks

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for giving way; it is very unusual. I would certainly want to be protected from him. Did he think of inviting any gay groups from Ealing to the conference, which he carefully loaded to get the version of events that he wanted, to achieve the open debate that he said he was trying to encourage?

Mr. Greenway

I did not invite gay groups, but it was open for them to attend. Indeed, I believe that some did attend, because they spoke and put their point of view. I do not object to hearing their point of view. However, the conference was essentially for parents and for the groups of people to whom I referred earlier. I am certain that all hon. Members would agree that children should be protected.

Mr. Banks

From what?

Mr. Greenway

From any insidious and dangerous influences, such as homosexuality.

Dame Jill Knight

I wonder whether during my hon. Friend's conference he heard from parents such as those who contacted me when they wished to complain about the way in which their children were being dealt with in schools promoting homosexuality. Those parents were hit, spat upon, urinated on and one, who was pregnant, was punched very hard in the stomach. I wonder whether my hon. Friend has heard similar complaints from those poor parents, whose only wish was to protect their children and complain about what was happening to them.

Mr. Greenway

My hon. Friend makes her own point. I well remember my hon. Friend the Member for Hornsey and Wood Green (Sir H. Rossi) making a vivid speech about that very subject a few months ago.

Ms. Short

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Greenway

No, I wish to make my speech.

Ms. Short


Mr. Greenway

The hon. Lady will have her opportunity.

For the past 18 months all advertisements of teaching posts in Ealing have contained invitations to men and women of any sexual orientation — to gay men and lesbian women and the rest of it—to apply for posts. My constituents find that excessive and distasteful and think that it is a misuse of public money. I share their view. Only last week I received complaints in my surgery from parents who said that a homosexual recently appointed to a school makes up his face in school in front of the children, and they object to that. One has to support them. That is wrong. I do not believe that Opposition Members would say otherwise. If they do not support it, they should stand up and say that it is wrong.

It was incorrect of the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey to say that the Ealing Conservatives supported the appointment of a lesbian and gay officer. The Ealing Conservatives believe that the gay and lesbian rights committee of Ealing council should never have existed and that it should be dissolved immediately. That committee spends money on promoting activities for homosexuals, and that must be wrong.

Ms. Short

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Greenway

I shall give an example. In September that committee promoted two meetings for homosexuals.

Ms. Short

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Greenway

No, I have already given way, and I want to be brief. That committee promoted two meetings for homosexuals and lesbians at a cost of £2,000. Only 12 people attended one of those meetings. Is that a correct use of ratepayer' money? The House should remember that Ealing ratepayers have had to pay an extra 65 per cent. to Ealing council this year and that many elderly and poor people are having to go without food to pay their rates. Their objections are massive. It is my duty to represent in the House those who object—

Ms. Short

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Greenway

For the last time.

Ms. Short

I am not sure that I completely believe the stories that the hon. Gentleman has told us. Earlier he told us that lie had been a teacher for 22 years. I ask him sincerely and honestly whether during his 22 years of teaching he was ever approached by a child who thought that he or she was a homosexual or lesbian who was disturbed and troubled by it and needed his advice and guidance. Did he ever give such guidance, and does he think that the sensible guidance that should be given in these circumstances should be made illegal by the proposals that he is supporting tonight?

Mr. Allan Rogers (Rhonda)

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Greenway

I have only just given way, but perhaps I may be allowed two in one.

Mr. Deputy Speaker

We had better have one intervention dealt with first.

Mr. Greenway

In answering the hon. Lady, I may perhaps deal with the question of the hon. Member for Rhondda (Mr. Rogers), who is always courteous in the House.

I was approached by children with all kinds of problems and I always found people to give them the counselling that they needed or coped myself, whatever it was. The hon. Lady says that I am telling stories. I am not; I am stating the facts. I have no interest in telling stories, nor do the people of Ealing. They have to deal with a fact that has hit every parent and grandparent—and many others—hard in the teeth. That has now been going on for nearly two years, and they have a strong point of view. They want the Government to do what the Bill does, which is to prohibit the teaching and promotion of homosexuality.

Mr. Allan Rogers

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Greenway

This will be the last time.

Mr. Rogers

I am listening attentively to what the hon. Gentleman is saying. He often refers to the interests of grandparents. As the father of four children and the grandparent of two, I am interested in children's safety and the pressures that they are under at school. Can the hon. Gentleman tell me precisely what he means when he says that people are teaching homosexual relationships in schools and that children need to be protected? Can he give me any instance of a child being in danger and needing protection? I seek this advice genuinely because the problem needs to be addressed seriously, but so far I have heard nothing except vague supposition.

Mr. Greenway

In Ealing the schools have been invited to put on their notice boards invitations to children to ring gay and lesbian lines. That is wrong, because it is an incitement to children.

I wish to bring my brief remarks to a close. Not many months ago Ealing council's education committee sent a letter home with children as young as five — some as young as four—in which was discussed the teaching that homosexual relationships were as valid as heterosexual relationships. Children of five, six and seven—or of any age — who carry about such material are carrying material which most of them would find offensive if they read it and which their parents certainly find infuriating. Some parents made bonfires of those letters. That is what they thought of them.

I have mentioned the churches. The Roman Catholic, Jewish, Sikh, Moslem and Hindu religions are absolutely clear in their teaching on this matter. They teach that homosexuality is wrong and it is wrong to promote homosexuality among children. Children must be protected. The Church of England—

Mr. Bruce Grocott (The Wrekin)

Tell the vicars that.

Mr. Greenway

That is a sad comment and regrettably there is a lot in it.

The Church of England has said that homosexual relationships fall short of the ideal. It must be the business of Parliament to protect our children and I will always stand by any measure that protects children. I support the Government strongly in this matter.

9 pm

Ms. Joan Ruddock (Lewisham, Deptford)

I believe that local government has no part to play in promoting any particular form of sexuality. I think that that is readily understood by councillors, local government officers and teachers. Therefore, clause 27 is unnecessary and should never have been tabled. If the word "promotion" has been or could be strictly defined, subsection (1) might have been innocuous and a mere reflection of the status quo, but it is clear from the proceedings in Committee that the Government are seeking to provide a catch-all prohibition that amounts to the denial of the reality of people's differing sexual orientation and differing social organisation.

We should not be dealing with people's personal objections to other people's lifestyles or with any distaste, however acutely that may afflict hon. Members. We are part of a legislature which is supposed—I suggest—to uphold the freedom and dignity of the individual. That is a matter of the most fundamental human rights—the rights of the individual to express within the laws of the land his or her individual sexuality and still be recognised as an equal citizen. The charge levelled against local authorities is that they have recognised the existence of a minority and have devoted a tiny part of their resources to meeting the needs of that minority.

Among those needs is the right of homosexual young people and adults to be recognised by society as they are — as human beings, with feelings, relationships and families. Recognition of lesbians and gay men is not a threat to those of us in the heterosexual majority. On the contrary, such is the all-persuasive and all-pervasive culture of heterosexuality in advertising and the media that it is homosexuals who have struggled habitually to become heterosexuals. They do not succeed, of course, but their attempt to meet society's expectations leads many, particularly the young, to despair and even to suicide attempts.

Are we now to legislate to deny young people any explanation of the existence of homosexuality among perhaps 10 per cent. of the population? Are we to deny that the child born to a homosexual mother or father—and there are many of the latter—has family relationships? That is the road to bigotry and oppression.

I want to refer briefly to the reason why I tabled amendment No. 47 which has not been selected. It refers specifically to care counselling and health education on AIDS and other diseases. As hon. Members are aware, there is no treatment for AIDS, but there is a highly respected and growing practice of care counselling which is of enormous value to those infected with the AIDS virus. Furthermore, health education and the prevention of AIDS depends on co-operation with gay and lesbian groups which, in turn, can function effectively only if funding is continued. It also depends on the distribution of explicit information which undoubtedly offends some Conservative Members.

I should have preferred the wording in amendment No. 47 to be accepted. As it has not been, I specifically ask the Minister to tell us whether he believes that the points that I have made and the provisions to which I have referred and which were mentioned by my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) are covered by the Government amendments.

Mr. Howard

I will deal with the hon. Lady's point fully in my reply. However, the answer to the specific point that she has raised is yes. We take the view that the form of the amendment that she proposed would actually be more limited in the extent to which it would enable local authorities to provide assistance in relation to such diseases than the amendment that I moved in Committee.

Ms. Ruddock

I am grateful to the Minister. I trust that he recalls that I referred specifically to the need for effective gay and lesbian organisations to collaborate in the process, and to the consequent need for their funding to be continued.

I am satisfied that amendment No. 48 is covered by those standing in the name of my hon. Friend the Member for Copeland.

Finally, let me illustrate the problems that the Government have introduced in clause 27. My constituency lies within the London borough of Lewisham, which has a thoroughgoing equal opportunities policy. In a recent newsletter, the hon. Member for Lewisham, West (Mr. Maples) stated that the borough had spent £3,500 on promoting homosexuality.

Of what, hon. Members may ask, does that promotion consist? The borough has set up a consultative working party that has not voted to spend any money. It has funded two centres, one specifically to help young people with problems over sexual roles, and the other to help any person with problems related to his or her homosexuality. Without the addition of amendments Nos. 37 and 38 to clause 27, that small amount of help would be denied to the constituents—and ratepayers—of Lewisham.

Since last week, I have received about 50 letters from my constituents, who are deeply concerned about the provisions of clause 27, and the repression and attacks that they believe will follow if the clause is passed unamended. However, there are undoubtedly many more people in my constituency who believe the ugly propaganda that has emanated from the Conservative Benches, and will not welcome what I have said. Indeed, local Conservative Members may even seek to exploit it.

I know where my duty lies tonight, and where I believe the duty of the House also lies. It is a question of fundamental civil liberties, which bears heavily upon us. I am sure that hon. Members do not need to be reminded that it is in the treatment of its minorities that the real test lies of any nation's commitment to freedom and human rights. I hope that the Government will reconsider.

Mr. Wilshire

When I arrived in the Chamber for the beginning of the debate, I was not sure whether it would be necessary for me to say anything. However, words have been put into my mouth, and motives put into my mind, by some of what has been said, and I want to put the record straight.

The hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) suggested that I had claimed that a document that I produced in Committee, purely to prove the point that existing legislation was not adequate, had been either produced or used by a local authority. The record will show that I made no such claim.

The hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) seemed to imply that my expressed belief that nothing in the new clause would be against homosexuals meant that if I said that I was against positive images of homosexuality, it followed automatically that I was in favour of negative images. I did not say that, and I do not say it now. Furthermore, the hon. Member for Copeland did not answer my question about the role of the third option — neutral presentation, and a neutral point of view.

As the mover of the clause in Committee, I felt that it was crucial for me to listen carefully to everything said here and elsewhere, and to read everything that I had been recommended to read. My postbag is particularly instructive on the matter; I have received 12 letters from individuals, two of them supportive and 10 of them against. The significant point in the 10 letters opposing the clause was that three people said that they supported an attempt to prevent the encouragement of homosexuality, which was exactly what the new clause was doing.

Ms. Mildred Gordon (Bow and Poplar)

The hon. Gentleman keeps referring to a neutral approach. The new section 2A(1)(b) set out in clause 27(1) is not a neutral approach because it prohibits the teaching in any maintained school of the acceptability of homosexuality, which must be a negative approach.

Does the hon. Gentleman accept that it is the duty of teachers to present to children the world and life as they are, and not to cover up the natural form of sexual and social life of at least 10 per cent. of the population of this country? Does he accept that, far too often, young children are presented, in school books and in pictures in school, with the vision of the normal, acceptable, happy family as comprising a married, white, middle-class man and women, with two prissy children who are clean, neat and tidy, yet the majority of children find that this does not relate to their household? Thereby, they are made to feel that they are outsiders and that they are inferior, which does great damage—[Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. May I say to the House that if we have disturbances from the Gallery I have the authority to clear it. I hope very much that that will not be necessary, but I say to the House—the whole House will know this—that the Gallery is invisible to us on the Floor, and I look for good behaviour not only in the House but in the Gallery.

Mr. Wilshire

To reply to the hon. Member for Bow and Poplar (Ms. Gordon), I consider that part of the clause to be neutral. It seeks to prevent the promotion of an activity that should not be promoted in schools.

The points that have been made and the matters that I have heard and read about can best be summarised by saying that they seek to suggest three things—first, that there is not a problem; secondly, that there should be no restraint on the presentation of factual information; and, thirdly, that the new clause is an attack on homosexuals. People who say that are wrong on each count.

People who say that there is no problem fly in the face of the evidence — I presented that evidence to the Committee and it stands on the record. People who say that there are few local authorities involved and we should not be concerned—we heard that earlier—and that if there are only one or two local authorities concerned we should ignore them are talking nonsense; one is too many, and I make no apology for being concerned about one.

The other argument that people use when saying that there is no problem is that even if these things are happening they cannot have any effect. Two central arguments are used by people promoting homosexuality: first, that people cannot be made to be homosexual and, secondly, that homosexuality cannot be changed. I have tried to look at the evidence for and against. There is a small amount of evidence to back up those claims and an equally small amount of evidence that they are not true. We should not allow to go unchallenged claims about matters that are opinions as though they are facts.

There are those who say that there should be no restraint on the promotion of homosexuality or on its factual presentation. One of the letters that I received says: If it is legal it can be promoted. We have heard claims that any restraint in this area is an attack on civil liberties. If that argument is followed, it will lead to an attitude of "anything goes" in this country. If it is right to encourage homosexuality, one might ask why it is not right to encourage racial hatred. I think that neither should be encouraged. The other argument—

9.15 pm
Mr. Tony Banks

I have listened carefully to what the hon. Gentleman has said — —[Interruption.] If lion. Gentlemen are interested, no it is not a badge of Lenin, it is a Sandinista badge — support your friendly Sandinistas.

Will the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) repeat what he said? Did he actually say that promoting racial hatred could be as justifiable as promoting homosexuality? Does he think that homosexuality and racial hatred are equivalent?

Mr. Wilshire

No, I said that it was equally wrong to promote either of them. All I was saying is that there are those who seek to adduce the argument that there should be no restraint and that anything goes. I do not believe that. I believe that both are equally wrong and wish that to be absolutely clear on the record.

The final argument advanced against the clause is that it is an attack on homosexuals. The hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) quoted what I said in Committee, and I stand by it. The clause is not a criticism of homosexuals, an attack on private behaviour or a restraint on giving people help, for whatever reason, if they require it. The hon. Member for Copeland asked me why, if I thought that, I would not vote for the amendments. The reason is simply that nothing in the clause contradicts any of the things that I said. Therefore, the amendments are not necessary.

Having listened to everything that has been said and having read everything that has been sent to me, I am absolutely clear in my mind that the things that the clause seeks to prevent are happening, that they create a problem and that there must be a limit on what people can do when they seek to encourage others to behave in a particular way. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker


Mr. Wilshire

There is absolutely no need for me to stand here and apologise for seeking to prevent local government from doing something that I know that it should not be doing. I see no need to apologise for making it less likely that people are confronted by homosexual propaganda. I see no reason to apologise for standing here and defending the family. The overwhelming majority of the people whom I represent would expect me to do no less.

Mr. Chris Smith (Islington, South and Finsbury)

I support the amendments of my hon. Friends and those tabled by the hon. Members for Roxburgh and Berwickshire (Mr. Kirkwood) and for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes). I rise also to express my horror at clause 27 and to express my profound disquiet that the House and the Government have come to such a pass that sentiments of such intolerance, which is deeply damaging to the individual liberties of millions of citizens can appear before us.

Sad to say, the Amendment Paper does not permit us to remove the clause in its entirety; would that it did. However, let us seek to amend it in the manner proposed so that at least some civilised values can be retained.

First, I should like to say something about the practical fallacies of clause 27. What on earth, for example, do its originators mean by "promoting"? I shall give four examples. James Baldwin, one of the greatest writers of this century, who died about two weeks ago, wrote two books, "Giovanni's Room" and "Another Country", which undoubtedly celebrate the fact of homosexuality and the relationships of homosexuals. They also explore the torment that is faced by many because of the social pressures that are forced upon them as homosexuals. If a local authority places those books in a public library, will it be regarded by the courts as promoting homosexuality?

Secondly, if a pub or club that caters for a principally gay clientele applies for a music licence and the local authority grants that licence, will that local authority be regarded by the courts as promoting homosexuality?

Thirdly, if concerned or worried teenagers seek help or guidance from a teacher, or, indeed, see the advertisements for Gay Switchboard or Lesbian Line which the hon. Member for Ealing, North (Mr. Greenway) is so unhappy at seeing on a school noticeboard, and seek guidance about their fears, their sexuality or what they have come to learn about their parents' sexuality, is the giving of guidance, counselling and advice to such a worried or concerned teenager to be regarded as promoting homosexuality?

Fourthly, if the London boroughs of Wandsworth and Merton, which are not controlled by the Labour party, fund, as they do respectively, the Gay Self-Defence Group and the Wimbledon Area Gay Society, are they promoting homosexuality as well?

The originators of the clause have failed to recognise that there is a crucial difference between what they say they want to prohibit and what the actual impact of the clause will or can be. They say that they want only to prohibit the act, as they put it, of encouraging people to be homosexual. It is an absurd notion in any case. We are what we are. It is impossible to force or encourage someone into a different sexuality from that which pertains to them. What is needed is not to be involved in changing, persuading, forcing, encouraging people into different sexualities. What is important is to enable people to understand the sexuality that they have, and that cannot be changed.

Furthermore, I know of no instance where an employee of a local authority has encouraged any person or child to be homosexual. I know that the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight), in a now celebrated radio discussion last week, said that she could not give any examples of such encouragement because she had not brought her file with her to the studios.

Dame Jill Knight

It might be a good thing if the hon. Gentleman spoke to one or two of his colleagues who have taken the trouble to write to me to ask for the information, which I gave them. I shall gladly give it to the hon. Gentleman now. The local authorities concerned are Haringey, Brent, Lambeth, Manchester, Ealing and there are others. There is overwhelming evidence, not least in the strong objection of parents in those local authorities, of what has been done to their children.

Mr. Smith

I am afraid that I have to repeat my question. I am seeking actual examples where employees of a local authority have encouraged any individual person or child to be homosexual. I am afraid that a generalised list of local authorities is all that we have had so far from the Conservative Benches. That sort of generalised hearsay is not sufficient to base a fundamental attack on civil liberties.

Mr. Wilshire

If an example is required, I shall repeat what I said in Committee. One of the books that was being bandied about in radio discussions was "Jenny lives with Eric and Martin". As far as I can see, there are some facts about that book which need to be repeated. First, the publishers of that book were grant-aided by the GLC, with ratepayers' money. Any hon. Member may refute that if he wishes to do so, but, as far as I can see, ratepayers' money was made available to that publisher, which I believe to be encouragement of the promotion of the book.

The other piece of evidence is that this book was stocked in an ILEA teacher centre. Presumably one only stocks books in a centre in case teachers wish to use them. Those are the two pieces of evidence.

Mr. Smith

The hon. Gentleman has shown the fallacy of his argument in what he has said, because that book was never put in front of a pupil or used in a classroom in an ILEA school.

Mr. Clive Soley (Hammersmith)

My hon. Friend was not present for the freedom of the press debate the other week in which we discussed the matters raised by him and by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight). They were known to be and had been found to be lies by newspapers. Those lies have now been picked up by certain people who have used them to create hatred and fear. Does it not bring into disrepute hon. Members who peddle those lies in that way?

Mr. Smith

My hon. Friend is right. It might help our debates on these sensitive and important matters if we based our arguments on facts rather than on general statements and assumptions which have appeared in the popular press and are immediately taken by some Conservative Members to be the truth, which they are not.

The originators of the clause have said that they wish to prevent encouragement, but they have introduced a clause which will do much more than simply prevent such encouragement, which does not in fact occur and is, in any case, impossible. The clause will do much more.

Mr. James Couchman (Gillingham)


Mr. Smith

Time is limited, so I must proceed. Any form of advice or counselling, or work for, or provision of services to, the lesbian or gay community will, in the minds of local authorities, come to be seen to be prohibited.

Mr. Couchman


Mr. Smith

I must proceed, as many of my colleagues wish to contribute to the debate. The difference between the way in which the originators of the clause say that they want it to be applied and the likely impact of the clause reveals the real motives of those who have introduced it. Those motives have now come into the open. Both in Committee and on the Floor of the House, some things have become sayable which were not sayable two or three years ago, and that worries me profoundly. That is the real tragedy of the clause and the emotions that underlie it.

I believe that there are two motives. The first is the use of anti-gay sentiment for political ends. I shall say no more about that, because it is one of the most disreputable political activities in which anyone could indulge.

Mr. Jeremy Corbyn (Islington, North)


Mr. Smith

I shall not give way to my hon. Friend.

The second motive is a desire to change the climate so that to be gay or lesbian is to feel and to be treated as a second-class citizen. The climate has changed. There is more intolerance now than there was five or 10 years ago. The House cannot have failed to notice that last Saturday there was an arson attack on the offices of the Capital Gay newspaper, or that, during that same—[Interruption.]

Mr. Tony Banks (Newham, North-West)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. I heard the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) say that it was quite right that Capital Gay should have been fire—

9.30 pm
Mr. Speaker

Order. That is not a point of order. [Interruption.] Order. Hon. Members should not behave in the House like that. [Interruption.] Order. I heard nothing — [Interruption.] Order. Was it unparliamentary?

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

I am quite prepared to affirm that it is quite right that there should be an intolerance of evil.

Mr. Speaker

Order. Let us keep the temperature of the debate down. The whole House has strong feelings both ways on these matters. I call Mr. Chris Smith.

Mr. Smith

Neither should it go unnoticed that, during the same weekend, teargas bombs were thrown into a crowded pub in Rochester. Nor should it go unnoticed that the number of queer-bashing attacks on gay men and lesbians has dramatically increased during the past year. I invite Conservative Members to condemn that sort of violence in exactly the same ringing tones in which they have condemned other forms of violence.

Mr. Wilshire

Will the hon. Gentleman give way?

Mr. Smith

I shall not give way. I must proceed.

Will Conservative Members go further—perhaps the hon. Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire) may be able to answer this question — and accept that, in a democratic society, all citizens should find equal acceptance and that second-class citizenship and second-class sexuality have no place in our sense of decent values?

There is another underlying motive behind clause 27. In some ways, it is even more disturbing. It was revealed in a letter from the hon. Member for Spelthorne to The Guardian on Saturday. He wrote: may I answer the question (`will they be populist, or principled?') posed in your leading article … My actions were motivated wholly by the principle of supporting normality. Does he for a moment realise the profoundly undemocratic and anti-libertarian nature of such a concept as promoted or encouraged normality? I thought that only Soviet-style countries went in for uniformity of that kind. How uneasily does that concept sit with the democratic values that this House, of all Houses, is supposed to uphold.

Mr. Wilshire

I shall he interested to hear how democracy or being undemocratic links with being in favour of supporting the majority. I should have thought that democracy and majority go together.

Mr. Smith

Long ago, I was taught that democracy is as much about the equal rights of minorities as it is about reflecting the decisions of a majority. Indeed, the hon. Gentleman might do well to ponder for a moment the declaration of democratic values that was issued on 8 June 1984 by the heads of state and leaders of Government of the Group of Seven major democratic industrialised countries. It was signed by President Ronald Reagan and Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. At its outset, the declaration of democratic values, rightly and fundamentally, states: We believe in a rule of law which respects and protects without fear or favour the rights and liberties of every citizen, and provides the setting in which the human spirit can develop in freedom and diversity. It is the protection of diversity that the House, our democratic values and the debate are all about. It is the protection of diversity that clause 27 and the motives that underpin it seek to undermine. I plead with Conservative Members that they should not go in for the all-too-easy, all-too-prevalent sport of gay bashing which is on the increase. Instead, they should acknowledge that true decency and morality exist in recognising and respecting the dignity of all citizens, no matter who or what they are. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Before I call the next hon. Member, I give one more warning about disturbances from the Strangers Gallery? It may not be generally known that clapping from the Strangers Gallery or even from the Benches is not permitted. If we have any further disturbances, I shall, with the deepest reluctance, clear the Strangers Gallery.

Mr. Ken Livingstone (Brent, East)

What I find particularly offensive is that an issue that affects between 2 million and 5 million citizens, depending on the number of lesbians and gay men, is being tacked on to one squalid little clause and bounced through in a Bill in the space of a few days. If Conservative Members wish to raise the rights of lesbians and gay men in society, it should he done through a major piece of legislation that is properly debated throughout the land.

Conservative Members are responding to a wave of hysteria and bigotry that has been whipped up by the popular press. It has been absolutely disgraceful. Some people have the misfortune to believe what they read in the Daily Express, the Daily Mail and The Sun. They have come to accept that in some areas children are being taught how to be lesbians. It is easy for those outside who live with the day-to-day prejudice against lesbians and gay men to laugh it off, but that pernicious lie has bitten deep into the popular conscience.

Nowhere have the hysteria and bigotry been whipped up more than on the issue of the book "Jenny lives with Eric and Martin". It filled acres of newsprint. What was the reality? One copy of one book in one teachers' centre that one teacher had taken out to read became the centre of a wave of hysteria that has turned it into a best seller. The people who published the book will probably want to make a donation to the popular press for advertising it. Should such nonsense be the basis of legislation?

We are asked to believe that when the Minister replies he will clarify what "promotion" means. That will be nice. It will also be totally irrelevant. What the Minister thinks will not matter: it is what the judges think that matters. I had the misfortune to be the leader of the GLC when the judges decided that transport legislation which had been interpreted over a decade as allowing a subsidy to be paid, should be reinterpreted to mean that the service had to be run at a profit. We should not accept that it is up to the judges to define what we mean. We have a duty as legislators to pass legislation that is not open to misinterpretation.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)


Mr. Livingstone

Let me put the reality of what we face here. I shall not give way. Conservative Members have all the time in the world to make reasoned contributions.

I have here a letter from people who are employed indirectly by the Government. They are employed on project SIGMA, which is an attempt to discover the extent of the spread of AIDS among gay and bisexual men, and which is funded by the Department of Health and Social Security and the Medical Research Council, which is also Government funded. In a letter to the leader of the Labour party and myself they say: We are specifically concerned about the … amendment to the Local Government Bill and generally alarmed by the growing atmosphere of violent anti-gay feeling of which it is a symptom and to whose exacerbation it is bound to contribute. We feel that the idea it invokes of 'promotion' is either so narrow as to render the amendment unnecessary or so wide as to make it a most potent threat to civil liberty and freedom of speech. We fear its effects on our work, our jobs and our lives. Those are the feelings of people who are working for the Government in trying to tackle the crisis of AIDS. That letter illustrates what they fear the amendment will cause.

I also wish to deal with the reality of life for lesbians and gay men and to base it upon a survey that was the subject of massive attack by many Conservative Members. That survey was the result of a grant given to the Gay Teenage Group by the GLC to examine the problems of gay teenagers in London. That group conducted a major, in-depth survey of over 400 young homosexuals between the ages of 15 and 21. Its conclusions were published, but disappeared in the wave of other press interest in the aftermath of the election in 1983. Its conclusions were horrifying. It was not propaganda, but the result of scientific analysis of what happens to young lesbians and gay men living in the city.

That survey showed that three out of five had been verbally abused, that one in five had been beaten up, that one in 12 had been sent to a psychiatrist, that one in 10 had been thrown out of their homes because of their sexuality and that one in 10 had been sent to a doctor in the hope that the doctor would cure them. However, the most horrifying statistic was that one in five of those young lesbians and gay men had attempted to commit suicide because of the anguish, loneliness and despair that they felt.

All Conservative Members must ask themselves whether the Bill will increase that despair, or reduce it. Will the amendment encourage suicide, or reduce it? Will the amendment increase fear, or attempt to reduce that fear? I do not believe that anyone can have any doubt. Even if the language of the amendment had been neutral, the speeches that have been made in support of it have made its intent quite clear. Let us consider where young people turn to for advice. We are told that Conservatives are worried about the effects on children. Society is not geared to help someone aged 13 or 14 who realises that he or she is gay or lesbian. Whom do they turn to for advice? The survey conducted by the Gay Teenage Group showed that 42 per cent. of children who turned to their parents were rejected, were told that they were suffering from some sort of disease and were virtually excluded from the family. Parents are unable to cope with that situation.

The survey revealed that at school 25 per cent. of young homosexuals felt isolated, that 21 per cent. suffered verbal abuse, that 12 per cent. were beaten up and that 7 per cent. felt ostracised. How will the amendment tackle that?

We need to ask how we are to protect chidren, but we must also ask from whom we are protecting them. I was a member of the Inner London education authority for 13 years. Every example of child abuse in our schools was reported to the chairman of the schools committee, and in every example we were dealing with a heterosexual male teacher sexually assaulting girls—[Interruption.] That is the reality that we face.

Dr. Michael Clark (Rochford)

On a point of order, Mr. Speaker. Can you advise the House whether we have to sit here trying to do our business, listening to demonstrations from the Gallery, or will you do what you said you would do and clear the Gallery if there is any further applause?

9.45 pm
Mr. Speaker

I repeat what I said a moment ago. It would be with the greatest reluctance that I cleared the Gallery, because our debates here are open to the public and should be heard. As I have already said, this debate has been conducted in very good order on the Floor of the House. Equally, those in the Gallery must conduct themselves in good order. Finally, therefore, I say that if there is another disturbance, I shall have to clear the Gallery.

Mr. Livingstone

The survey showed that children who were homosexual felt that they had had no assistance at school. So talk of promotion is nonsense.

The figures that I gave for ILEA do not stand out from others, either. The FBI conducted a major survey more than a decade ago in America. Its conclusion was that well over 90 per cent. of all forms of child abuse were of a heterosexual nature. If we are worried about children, why, I wonder, are we not making the same efforts to tackle that? Why are we pandering to popular prejudice that comes in on the back of a wave of homophobia generated by the media?

I shall take one quotation from the study by the Gay Teenage Group, which shows what the problem is for a young man who discovers that he is gay: I remember an incident in the third year when some lad asked me if I was queer. I denied it of course and I immediately withdrew into my shell even further. I tried suicide with a bottle of pills a couple of nights later. It didn't work of course. It just made me ill for about a week. Nobody realised what I'd done and I didn't tell them. That is the reality that we face.

Much of what has been said has been deeply offensive to millions of lesbians and gay men in this country. It is particularly obscene to hear their relationships dismissed as pretending. I know several lesbian mothers who have struggled to come to terms with the discovery of their lesbianism after marrying and having had children. They have had to face the problems of the divorce that follows, and have had to fight to keep their children, because they loved them. In many of those instances I have seen judges take a narrow-minded and bigoted view.

To dismiss those relationships as pretence is incredibly unhelpful to the thousands of women who struggle to continue to be able to raise and care for their children. I have no doubt that the attacks on Capital Gay was a result of the climate to which the clause contributes. If the clause is carried, it will open the way to a load of homophobia and litigious fanatics trying to prevent open and honest discussion of people's real sexuality.

If anyone feels that there is promotion, I ask him to give us examples. I am tired of debating with Conservative Members in radio and television studios and public meetings. When I ask them for examples of promotion, they always say that they have left them in the pile at home, or that they saw them in the paper. That is not an adequate basis for legislation. One does not legislate on the basis of gossip such as that—

Mr. Couchman


Mr. Livingstone

I shall not give way.

Mr. Couchman


Mr. Speaker

Order. The hon. Gentleman is not giving way.

Mr. Couchman


Mr. Livingstone

I invite the hon. Gentleman to make a speech when I have finished mine.

There may be Conservative Members who think that the fears of members of the public who have been lobbying them in the House today are unfounded. I hope that they are right. Only 51 years ago Reichsführer Himmler issued the following decree. I shall read its words, and then we shall see if Conservative Members laugh: Just as we today have gone back to the ancient German view on the question of marriages mixing different races, so too in our judgment of homosexuality — a symptom of degeneracy which could destroy our race—we must return to the guiding Nordic principle, extermination of degenerates. Many members of the public believe that the clause is one small step on a path that leads to that sort of end result.

Mr. Peter L. Pike (Burnley)

I shall be brief because last week in Committee the longer the debate went on, the more concerned I became about the new clause. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. I ask the House to give the hon. Gentleman a fair hearing.

Mr. Pike

It was quite clear that the new clause added to the Bill at that stage was wide open to a variety of interpretations and represented a dangerous direction in which to move. The words "promote" and "acceptability" are wide open to interpretation and the signs from Conservative Members about the way in which they believe the clause should be interpreted will cause genuine fear about the direction in which we are moving.

The Government gave their support to the new clause at a late stage because they overreacted to newspaper publicity about the actions of a small number of councils. In many cases those councils have been misrepresented. Even if the allegations were true, the money spent in that way is a tiny fraction of the money that is spent by local government in the areas concerned.

It is quite clear that homosexuality cannot be promoted. People do not choose to be homosexual: either they are or they are not. That is important and should be recognised by the Government. It is wrong to say that if Wandsworth council decided tomorrow to advertise in the "Wandsworth Guardian" and to put on the hoardings that one sees when one crosses Battersea bridge the slogan, "Be gay today is the better way", thousands of people in Wandsworth would accept that recommendation and become homosexual overnight. If the Government are not prepared to accept the amendments they should think again about the full implications of the wording of clause 27. Even our amendments do not remove all the fears about the way in which this clause could be interpreted.

In debate I rarely refer to letters from constituents, but I should like to quote from two letters. For obvious reasons, I shall not give the names and addresses. The first letter is from a constituent whom I know well. He holds a prominent position in the area, and in the initial part of his letter he expresses the fears about the new clause that was added to the Bill last week. He says: My brother is gay and I am familiar with the … isolation and discrimination he suffers as a result. Many local authorities fund gay helplines, centres etc. as a means of supporting, helping, reaching out to these isolated and sometimes frightened people. This work is valuable as it can bring gay people together to help themselves understand their situation and develop ways of tackling their problems. It is imperative that this work continues to support this minority. Some may feel gays are 'promoting' homosexuality. I do not believe this is the case. They are not trying to persuade anyone to become gay but they need to publicise their existence and their activities because they are trying to reach other isolated and frightened gay people. Homosexuality is a fact of life … we should support the needs of a minority struggling against oppression and discrimination … and continue to help them organise in their areas. As my hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) said, we are not talking about an insignificant number of people. We are talking about a significant percentage of the population who are homosexual and we must recognise that fact and assess it.

The second letter is from another constituent who is a college lecturer. The letter says: I am a lecturer at a local College of Further Education and am constantly promoting discussion among my students about many issues, and always strive to break down prejudices and illconceived notions. If this Bill becomes law I will be prohibited from doing what I see as a vital part of my job, as any positive statements made about lesbians or gay men could be seen to be promoting homosexuality. I would certainly be unwilling to discuss the subject if I were obliged by law to dismiss it as a deviation. As a mother of two teenage girls I would also hope that if the subject was raised in their school that it would be dealt with in a manner that did not encourage bigoted attitudes. This clause would preclude that possibility. This clause means that a substantial minority of our community will be subject to worse oppression than at present and is to my mind a significant infringement of their human rights and civil liberties. I believe that those two letters very much summarise why we should accept the amendments. I sincerely hope that the Government will think again about the way in which clause 27 may be interpreted.

The hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) referred in an intervention to the protection of our children at school. We believe that our children at school have the right to be protected, but the record clearly shows that children suffer more of a threat from heterosexual oppression at school than from homosexual oppression, whether it be lesbian or gay. Those are the facts. If we want to deal with protection of our children, it must be dealt with in another way.

It seems remarkable that the new clause should have been added to the Local Government Bill, not to an education Bill, where its implications will apply to state schools, not private schools. Does that mean that it is all right to promote homosexuality in a private school? The Government must answer that.

I hope that the Minister, who I believe is a reasonable man, will recognise that the Government have moved with haste and that they must give more consideration to the legislation. If they are not prepared to accept the amendments, I hope that the Minister will give assurances that clause 27 will be looked at very closely in the House of Lords; that when it comes back to the House we will see changes to it which will make it acceptable; and that the Government will not take such a strong line, which would be a retrograde and regrettable step.

Mr. Nicholas Bennett (Pembroke)

I should like to say a few words, which I think are in order, following the speech by the hon. Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone). I regret that he chose to raise the emotional level of the debate when we are debating something of great concern to many parents and people. For many years I, like him, was a member of the Inner London education authority, but I was also a professional teacher, and latterly an education officer. I came across examples of homosexual teachers who abused their position in schools in the London boroughs of Redbridge and Havering. I shall not give further details, but that took place. Those teachers, in the same way as heterosexual teachers who abuse children, had action taken against them by the authorities to prevent a reccurence, because a teacher is in a position of trust and every child must be protected.

There is concern that the Labour party has moved away from its position when the matter was debated in Committee, when the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) said that Labour Members would not oppose the first part of the new clause, yet now it appears that they are supporting a radical change to clause 27. I am concerned that they take that attitude when there is grave concern. It cannot be denied that ILEA has as part of its resources guide materials that are considered suitable for use in secondary schools, colleges of further education, the youth service and adult education institutes that positively encourage homosexuality. The extracts referred to from "The Milkman's on his Way" show positive support for homosexuality as a lifestyle.

We do not seek to deny that there are many homosexuals in the country. I do not want to preach, because it is invidious to do so, but an equally valid view is held by Christians, who hold to the teachings in the Old and New Testaments and believe that the homosexual act is intrinsically immoral and evil. That is a respectable view, even if Opposition Members do not accept it. We should not be browbeaten into accepting the argument that we should not seek to promote what most people believe to be the norm in our society, which is a heterosexual loving relationship. I am sorry if Opposition Members believe that the clause represents an attack on homosexuals in any way. It is intended as an attempt to ensure that what most people in this country—

It being Ten o'clock the debate stood adjourned.

Ordered, That, at this day's sitting, the Local Government Bill may be proceeded with, though opposed, until any hour.—[Mr. Dorrell.]

Bill as amended (in the Standing Committee), again considered.

Question again proposed, That the amendment be made.

Mr. Bennett

Most people in this country believe that our schools should not be used as vehicles for proselytising homosexuality. That is what the clause seeks to prevent. It is a worthy clause and I hope that, in a spirit of moderation, the House will accept it.

Mr. Howard

First, may I respond unreservedly to the invitation issued by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) to condemn the incidents of violence to which he referred. Of course those incidents were outrageous and intolerable, and of course I condemn them without qualification.

Those of us who served on the Standing Committee on the Bill will have been surprised by the difference in tone that has distinguished this debate from the discussion of the clause in Committee. It is a fact that when the matter was debated in Committee the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham), who is the Opposition spokesman, declared his intention to vote for the clause. [HON. MEMBERS: "No."] Yes, the hon. Gentleman did. The hon. Members for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and for Burnley (Mr. Pike), both of whom have denounced the clause in passionate speeches today, did not vote against it in Committee. In fact, it was accepted by the Committee without a Division. [HON. MEMBERS: "Oh."]

Dr. Cunningham

Just so that we may have on the record all the facts about what transpired in Committee, perhaps the Minister will be good enough to acknowledge that I said on behalf of the Labour party that we would table amendments to the clause on Report. That is what we have done.

Mr. Howard

I was coming to that. It is true that the hon. Gentleman said that amendments would be tabled—there is no secret about that—and we shall consider those amendments. I shall explain to the House why I shall advise my right hon. and hon. Friends not to vote for the amendments. There is an important difference between accepting a clause without Division while saying that amendments would be tabled on Report, and the kind of attitude that has been expressed on the Floor of the House this evening.

Mr. Simon Hughes

Just so that I can be very sure that the Minister does not mischievously misrepresent my view or that of my party, may I remind him of the very words with which I ended my speech and ask him to accept that that was, and remains, our position? I said: It is reasonable that we should have a clause entitled `prohibition on promoting homosexuality by teaching or by publishing material' and if the clause were limited to that I would support it. But it is not limited to that, so I shall not support it.

Mr. Howard

The hon. Gentleman has made his position clear. However, I repeat that there is a difference between a calm and rational discussion of the scope and effect of amendments which relate to the precise scope of a clause of this kind and the sort of passionate root and branch denunciation of any attempt to legislate on these matters that we have heard from the Opposition this evening.

When I began my observations in Committee I moved an amendment to the clause moved by my hon. Friend the Member for Spelthorne (Mr. Wilshire). I began by devoting myself to a speech made by the hon. Member for Bootle (Mr. Roberts). He had made a very reasonable speech, in which he said: If the new clause says that local authorities should not promote homosexuality, I shall support it … If it means that the promotion of sexuality of any kind should not be promoted in school, I shall support it."—[Official Report, Standing Committee A, 8 December 1987; c. 1207–18.] He went on to express a number of reservations about the clause. When I began my remarks I said that I hoped that I would succeed in satisfying the hon. Gentleman's reservations so that he could vote for the clause then before the Committee. I hope this evening—although I confess with somewhat less optimism than I had in Committee—by reasoned discussion of the effect of the amendments tabled to the clause, to show the House that some of the attacks on the clause and the alarms expressed in relation to it, and the fears, anxieties and reservations that have been voiced by Opposition Members, including the hon. Member for Lewisham, Deptford (Ms. Ruddock), are misplaced.

I was expressly invited by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury and one or two other Opposition Members to cite examples and I shall start with that. I had not intended to use examples, because the examples were referred to in Committee and are there for all to read. However, doubts have been expressed about whether there is any mischief that must be dealt with in legislation. I shall confine myself to two examples of material that has emanated from the London borough of Haringey.

Amongst other things, the London borough of Haringey has published a leaflet containing an approved reading list. One book on the list calls for a ban on the wearing of wedding rings by teachers and on teachers talking to their pupils about their husbands and wives. Another book entitled "Young, gay and proud" is recommended as suitable reading for children aged 13 and older. The leaflet describes it as "very helpful to everyone." It describes homosexual acts in considerable detail. It was available in Committee, and I said that I could not believe that any Member of the Committee would regard that material as suitable reading for children aged 13.

I confine myself this evening to those two examples, and I remind the House against that background of the two key elements in clause 27. First, the clause is entirely concerned with the activities of local authorities. Secondly, it is concerned with the promotion by a local authority, or by persons assisted by it, of homosexuality, and the promotion of the teaching in schools that homosexuality is acceptable as a pretended family relationship. Nothing in clause 27 will put a homosexual at a disadvantage compared with any other person.

The provisions in subsection 2A(1) (b) are concerned with the promotion by local authorities of teaching of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship, and the need for that subsection has been questioned. However, we think that it is necessary. We do not think that it is damaging. It is the influence of local authorities on what goes on in schools that has given rise to much, if not most, of the public concern about the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities, and we wish to make it clear that the promotion of teaching in schools of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship is not to be permitted.

I endeavoured to explain to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey and others the precise purpose of the subsection when the clause was first debated in Committee.

Dr. Cunningham

Will the Minister explain to the House in detail why, only a year ago, Lord Skelmersdale — on behalf of the Minister's Department — rejected such legislation precisely because of the inclusion of the word "acceptability", and why his right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson), a former Minister in the Department, was saying much the same thing on behalf of the Government? What has changed since then?

Mr. Howard

I shall deal with that point in due course, but I want now to deal with the amendment in detail.

Sir Rhodes Boyson (Brent, North)

Just before the general election there was a similar debate in the House, when I supported what is now in the Bill. My hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) was present on the Friday morning when I made it perfectly clear that my view was exactly the same as that of the Minister and other Conservative Members who are in the Chamber now.

Dr. Cunningham


Mr. Howard

I shall give way in a moment —although perhaps I should sit down so that my right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson) can give way to the hon. Gentleman.

My right hon. Friend is effectively right in what he says. However, if the hon. Member for Copeland wishes to continue with his point, I shall give way.

Dr. Cunningham

It is a matter of record in the Official Report that the right hon. Member for Brent, North, speaking for the Government of the time, said that there were reservations and that the proposals were "premature".

Sir Rhodes Boyson


Mr. Speaker

Order. I think that the Minister will have to give way to the right hon. Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson).

Mr. Howard

I give way to my right hon. Friend, but I should like then to get on with discussing the amendments.

Sir Rhodes Boyson

I am always delighted when the hon. Member for Copeland (Dr. Cunningham) has my speeches besides him. Nothing could be better reading at any time. I do not have it with me, but in the speech to which the hon. Gentleman referred I was talking about the Government's previous attitude. In May, when we debated the Local Government Act 1986 (Amendment) Bill, I defined exactly what our attitude was then. The hon. Member for Copeland is talking in the past tense. I supported what I had said, and it was put to a vote that morning.

Mr. Howard

I endeavoured to explain to the hon. Member for Southwark and Bermondsey (Mr. Hughes) and others in Committee, when the clause was first debated, that the precise purpose of the new section 2A was to put into legislative form the principle set out in the recent Department of Education and Science circular on sex education that homosexuality should not be portrayed as the norm. It is not right for pupils to be taught, in any school, that homosexuality is the norm. It is even less acceptable for local authorities to promote such teaching.

10.15 pm

Debating the section word by word, armed with a dictionary, does not help. The words comprise a coherent phrase, with several elements, and they encapsulate, in a way that the courts will be able to interpret according to the circumstances of each case, the mischief that we are addressing.

I recognise that there may be a need for teachers to touch on the subject of homosexuality in the classroom.

Mr. Buchan

Will the Minister define, for those of us who are not au fait with English educational definitions, what is meant by maintained schools? Does it exclude Eton, Harrow, Rugby or Winchester, from which Conservative Members come? [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. Will the hon. Member for Walsall, North (Mr. Winnick) allow his hon. Friend to ask his question?

Mr. Buchan

Will the Minister say, with regard to schools that come under the Education (Scotland) Act 1981, what the effect will be on Gordonstoun, which is not an unknown school for members of the royal family? Will these practices be condemned, or will they go unquestioned in those schools?

Mr. Howard

I dealt with this matter in Committee. The Bill deals with local authorities, and clause 27 deals with the actions of local authorities and local education authorities. I said that if a case were made out for it to be extended in the way that the hon. Gentleman has suggested that would be considered by the Government.

Mr. Simon Hughes

Will the Minister give way?

Mr. Howard

No, I must explain the Government's attitude to the amendments.

In the Government's view, objective discussion of homosexuality in the classroom, in the way that I suggested a short time ago, would be perfectly proper, because it is not promotion of homosexuality. Therefore, it is not necessary to qualify the prohibition in the way proposed in amendment No. 32. Nor is it necessary to make a clarification of the kind proposed by the hon. Member for Copeland in amendment No. 38. To suggest that pupils must continue to be given the advice, information and counselling that they need about homosexuality is different from being taught that homosexuality is acceptable as a pretended family relationship.

There is nothing in clause 27 that will prevent the legitimate provision of information, advice or unbiased counselling of pupils, but activities conducted by local authorities in a biased way or in a way that presents as a norm a sexual orientation that is not the norm would be stopped by clause 27. We believe that to be right.

I dealt earlier with amendment No. 47, which was proposed by the hon. Member for Deptford. Care, counselling and health education on AIDS and other diseases are part of the treatment or the prevention of the spread of disease. Therefore, I do not propose to advise my hon. Friends to accept the amendment, as it is unnecessary. As I said, it is more limited in its scope than the present provisions of the clause.

We are all against discrimination. We all want to protect civil rights. However, I ask the House to look more closely at amendment No. 37. On closer examination, it would provide a Trojan horse which, in the guise of something to which we all subscribe, would remove much of the effect of the clause proposed by my hon. Friend the Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight), which was accepted in Committee, not only by the Government, but, as I said earlier, by the Opposition. I accept that using the clause as a Trojan horse may not be the intention of the hon. Member for Copeland, but I am less sure about some of his hon. Friends.

Mr. Allan Roberts

If the Minister will not accept the amendment, will he give an assurance that the clause will not, and indeed could not, be interpreted to say that local authorities were promoting homosexuality by licensing clubs, bars or venues used mainly by gay clientele?

Mr. Howard

That was one of the questions asked by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury, who put it in the context of a music licence. Local authorities have a duty to grant music licences and to consider properly applications for music licences in accordance with the law. I am happy to give the hon. Gentleman the assurance that, in our understanding of the matter, the clause would not, in any way, affect the carrying out by local authorities of those duties.

I return to amendment No. 37, which is concerned not with discrimination by local authorities but with the attempts of local authorities to discourage discrimination by others. The amendment, therefore, becomes a busybody's charter. It deals, not with local authorities' own decisions, but with meddling with other people's conduct of their own business. More important, I draw the attention of the House to the phrase, "the doing of anything", which is a wide phrase. It can cover the promotion of homosexuality. In other words, the amendment is saying that a local authority can promote homosexuality if its purpose in doing so is to discourage discrimination or to protect civil rights.

Let us consider some of the things that some local authorities have considered doing, or might consider doing, with those intentions. We need look no further than the report of the annual conference of the Labour party in 1985. In 1985 the Labour party conference voted to call upon Labour local authorities to adopt practices and policies to prevent discrimination against lesbians and gay men What did the Labour party recommend under that heading? We need to look no further than the third item, which states: to support financially and otherwise special lesbian and gay 'phone lines, centres and youth groups". I draw the attention of the House to the last two words, "youth groups". There could be no clearer notice of what we can expect to see some local authorities continuing to do if we accept the amendment. The Labour party conference voted to support homosexual youth groups and to prevent discrimination against homosexuals. Therefore, the amendment would be a licence for local authorities to continue precisely the sort of activities against which the clause is directed. In the Government's view, if the Opposition's amendment were concerned directly with discrimination by local authorities, it would be unnecessary. As it stands, clause 27 will not provide any justification for a local authority discriminating against homosexuals. However, given the way in which the amendment is drafted, it would enable local authorities to circumvent the provisions of the clause and to permit the practices that have caused so much public concern.

My right hon. Friend the Member for Brent, North (Sir R. Boyson) has dealt with the point that was raised by the hon. Member for Copeland and my hon. Friend the Member for Brigg and Cleethorpes (Mr. Brown) about what happened a year ago. The fact is that those matters have given rise to widespread public concern. We have sought to deal with them in a way that reflects that concern, but still provides necessary safeguards. For those reasons, I advise my right hon. and hon. Friends to reject the amendments and the new clauses that have been tabled by Opposition Members.

Dr. Cunningham

The first thing that I want to do is to reject as contemptible the Minister's sickening and, I suspect, deliberate, misrepresentations of the Labour party's position. As I made clear in Committee and again tonight, it is not and never has been the responsibility or the duty of a local authority or a local education authority to promote homosexuality, and it has never been Labour party policy that they should do so, either. The Minister has now heard me say that three times—twice tonight and once in Committee—so I can only conclude that his misrepresentations of the Labour party's position is deliberate and for the basest of political motives.

Mr. Howard

I made no comment about Labour party policy. All I did was to quote a resolution which was passed by the Labour party conference in 1985. Does the hon. Gentleman deny that that resolution was passed at that conference?

Dr. Cunningham

The Minister's slick barrack-roomlawyer approach—[HON. MEMBERS: "Answer."] I shall. The Minister is not doing anything for his reputation outside the House.

The Minister is not so clever as to have noticed that we deliberately moved amendments which did not remove the part of the clause which made it clear that a local authority shall not promote homosexuality. We deliberately did not seek to change that part of the clause—that is what is so dishonest about the Minister's misrepresentation of the circumstances. We could easily have done so but we did not because that is not our policy position.

I also reject what the Minister said about the, to use his words, "Trojan horse" amendments. No such intention or decent and proper interpretation can be put on the purpose or nature of the amendments that we tabled and on which we shall vote.

I regret to say that the performance not only of the Minister but of a number of his hon. Friends has done nothing to enhance the reputation of the House —nothing at all. He knows as well as we do that we are talking about the realities of our society—not only of society outside the House, but inside the House, including the Conservative Benches. He knows that very well, and I dare say that a number of his hon. Friends feel as sick as we do at his performance.

Mr. Tony Banks

I must confess immediately that I do not think that I have ever felt so frightened in the House as I do now. [Interruption.] That is the reason. If this clause goes through, the House will have taken a dangerous step down the road of intolerance.

There is no doubt in my mind that the clause is a bigots' charter. I know that many hon. Members on both sides of the House are frightened about the implications of the clause, and many will not have the courage to stand up and say so clearly.

I am not gay, but I know one thing, and it is that, if I were, I hope that I would be able to stand up and say so without any fear of intimidation or threat, either from within the House or from outside in society generally. There are many gay hon. Members on both sides of the House who, I am afraid, do not have that courage. It is not their fault. The intimidatory nature of society prevents them from saying that homosexuality is a perfectly normal state for any human being, if that person is homosexual. That is the important point. The clause talks about promoting homosexuality. Hon. Members know that one cannot promote homosexuality. It is a way of life, and it is one that many millions of our fellow citizens actually enjoy, or try to enjoy, but they face discrimination at all levels in society. Seeing what is going on in the House tonight, they will undoubtedly be far more afraid, if the clause goes through, than they were before.

10.30 pm

I see this as unalloyed Fascism. In many ways, I perhaps feel what somebody who was aware of what was going on in Germany in the early 1930s would have felt. It is the beginning of a nasty, insidious movement with which the Tory Government are now prepared to go along.

My hon. Friend the Member for Brent, East (Mr. Livingstone) read a statement that I hope many hon. Members found chilling. Conservative Members remember exactly what the Nazis did to homosexuals. They did to them what they did to Jews, gipsies and Communists. They herded them into concentration camps and liquidated them. I am not suggesting that a majority of Conservative Members would actually want to open up concentration camps, but I suspect that a significant minority would, and that is why the clause is so dangerous.

I should like to ask the Minister one specific question. He did not actually answer any of the points made by Opposition Members. The Minister knows that, if the Bill is passed, at some stage lawyers and judges will have to interpret what "promotion" means. The Minister has not given a lead. He could give a lead. Of course, judges cannot read Hansard to see what was in a Minister's mind when he made a speech and moved a certain clause. They can interpret legislation only as it is written. The Minister knows that this is too widespread — too diffuse — to make it possible to have an intelligent interpretation of the word "promote".

Let me ask the Minister a specific question about the arts. The clause adds censorship and attacks freedom in the same way in which it attacks civil rights. For example, all gay theatre companies are touring companies. They perform in local authority theatres or local authority-funded theatres. For example, Gay Sweatshop Theatre Company is the leading gay theatre in this country. [Interruption.] That sort of babble only confirms my worst suspicions of today's Conservative party. Its members are intolerant, bigoted, and they are not even prepared to sit and listen without hissing and making animal-type noises. That is an insult to animals. [Interruption.]

Mr. Speaker

Order. This has been a long debate. I sense that the House wants to come to a conclusion.

Mr. Banks

Let me ask the Minister a question. During the past year, Gay Sweatshop has played in local authority theatres in Liverpool, Stockton, Reading, Birmingham, Camden, Oxford, Bristol, Manchester and York. What happens when its members perform in one of those theatres? Will the local authority — [Interruption.] Obviously, my comments amuse the Crawley food mountain. I hope that the hon. Member for Crawley (Mr. Soames) will listen carefully to what I say.

Will that local authority be challenged in the courts for funding a gay theatre group or allowing a gay theatre group to put on a performance in a theatre? Will the Minister make that absolutely clear?

The clause is dangerous. It is Fascist in its intent. Many Conservative Members are too stupid to realise that, too frightened to get up and say so, or too evil and should not be Members of the House.

Miss Joan Lestor (Eccles)

I want to ask the Minister a straight question; I will sit down if he will do me the courtesy of answering it. I agree with my hon. Friend the Member for Newham, North-West (Mr. Banks) that we shall have a great deal of trouble because of the word "promotion". If a teacher who is homosexual or lesbian tells the children in the class that he or she is thus, will that in the mind of the Minister be regarded as promoting homosexuality?

Hon. Members


Mr. Howard

Of course, I will answer the question. The answer is what anyone who had considered the clause carefully and thought about what it means would expect. The answer would depend on the circumstances and the context in which that was said. If Opposition Members do not see that in some circumstances and in some contexts that could amount to the promotion of homosexuality and is not something which should be dealt with in this way, that reveals more than anything else about the need for the legislation.

Miss Lestor

I am grateful to the Minister. It is because I knew that he could not say a straight yes or no that the use of the word "promotion" is so dangerous. There are Conservative Members who believe—and I have heard them say so — that people who are lesbians or homosexuals should not be allowed in our schools. That is one danger of the Bill.

Hon. Members are missing some important points. I spent 18 months when I was not a Member of the House studying child sexual abuse. During that time many adults aged 40 to 50 came to me and said that as children and young people they had been sexually abused, not by school teachers but mostly by married men hiding themselves and their inclinations within the cloak of the family. They had been abused by their fathers, uncles and near relatives. They had never told anyone before because they thought they would not be believed, because they were ashamed or because they felt degraded. Those people are now beginning to come forward. We know that one in 10 children suffer some form of sexual abuse.

Mr. Tim Devlin (Stockton, South)

We do not know that.

Miss Lestor

Just a moment. According to the MORI poll and other polls that have been done a minority of that one in 10 suffer sexual abuse within the family or from somebody known well to them. That is why we have encouraged school teachers, health visitors and others to open up the whole subject within schools and to encourage young people who are thus abused, who are confused and frightened by their experiences, and who are not sure what their sexuality is because of those experiences, to come forward and talk about it and to be counselled. We have encouraged other young people who are confused about their sexuality for different reasons also to come forward.

If the clause is passed without amendment many teachers will be worried about the role that they can adopt when dealing with young people. At some stage it is likely that someone will have to say to a young person, "You will have to accept your homosexuality. That is what you are." Teachers are nervous that they will not be allowed to say that.

We have opened up the problem of sexual abuse, we have encouraged young people to come forward at school with their problems and we have brought specialists into schools to talk to children about the subject. I believe that the word "promotion" will lead us back to the path of darkness and despair that was suffered by the 50-year-olds that I have met. I believe that the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) should be ashamed of herself for sanctioning arson—

Mrs. Kellett-Bowman

The hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) said that intolerance is growing and I said, "Quite right." I believe that intolerance of evil should grow.

Mr. Corbyn

I realise that the House is coming to the end of a long debate. However, I believe that there is an extremely serious subject and it is right that any hon. Member who wishes to make a contribution should do so. We should also seek to put forward some of the views that have been made known to us in the past few days.

My constituency has a number of lesbian and gay organisations and the local authority is prepared to put forward policies opposing any form of discrimination on the ground of sexuality. For the past five years, it has been hounded by the local and national press for that policy. My hon. Friend the Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith) — a very courageous and brave Member —came out on this subject and was hounded unmercifully by the gutter press and by political parties that are unfortunately represented on the Opposition and Government Benches. I am proud to say that, in the past five election campaigns, the people of Islington have been prepared to reject the path of bigotry. In June, my hon. Friend was re-elected with an increased majority.

Since the clause emerged — it did so suddenly last week — I have received — in common with other hon. Members, I am sure—a large number of anguished letters and distressed phone calls from people —previously frightened—who had been prepared to come out as gay and lesbian. They suddenly saw that, in the clause, the light of oppression burnt fiercely. They realised that they would be in physical danger. They have witnessed the attacks on gay book shops and gay clubs and have witnessed the degree of Fascism that is aroused by such clauses moved by Conservative Members.

It was no accident that last summer, an Asian shop in Hackney was burnt down the day after The Sun claimed that Tamils arriving in Britain were about to swamp our society. It was no accident that, given the press publicity of the past few days, a gay organisation was attacked last weekend.

During the weekend I had phone calls and letters from many people who were concerned that politicians should stand up against the filthy tide initiated by the hon. Member for Birmingham, Edgbaston (Dame J. Knight) who introduced the clause. On Sunday there was a special meeting of the London Labour party that I have the honour to serve as vice chair. I am pleased to say that that region —in the past it has attracted some odium from the press for supporting the policy of positive images regarding gay and lesbians—reiterated that policy and reaffirmed its position. It called for opposition to all that has been included in the clause.

Most Conservative Members are listening carefully to what I am saying, because they are beginning to realise that if the clause is passed unamended, we shall be introducing into our society a degree of censorship that will be a legal minefield for years to come. Such censorship will create fear in librarians, theatre managers, film directors, writers, publishers and booksellers, as well as in all sorts of other people who want the freedom to disseminate information and views. The House—a democratically elected assembly — will be giving the green light to a degree of intolerance that should not be accepted, here or anywhere else.

10.45 pm

I ask hon. Members to think for a moment before they vote. They know about the way in which the media have manipulated this issue, about the self-fulfilling prophecies and lies peddled by the Murdoch press and others, and about the fears about the alleged promotion of homosexuality in schools, of which there is not one shred of evidence. They know how, a week later, a telephone opinion poll is presented, claiming to support the views that have already been put forward by that same press. The House has a duty to protect the rights of people in our society, whatever their sexuality and opinions on these matters. If we approve the clause, we shall be doing precisely the opposite; so I appeal to the House to reject the clause, which is the start of a slippery slope to all intolerant and discriminatory atmosphere in this and so many other areas of our national and local life, and in society as a whole.

Ms. Diane Abbott (Hackney, North and Stoke Newington)

It cannot be correct or responsible for the hon. Member for Lancaster (Mrs. Kellett-Bowman) to say that it is quite right that intolerance should be growing. It can never be an appropriate attitude for hon. Members to applaud the growth of intolerance. We know whither fears and intolerance lead.

This is an illiberal, intolerant Bill. It is based on a complete misapprehension of what goes on in schools and of the policies of some local authorities. It is based, in short, on recycled Conservative election smears. It will lead to an increase in human misery. It is irresponsibly widely drafted, and will cause all sorts of problems in the interpretation for local authorities throughout the country.

The tone and attitude of Conservative Members does them no credit. The intolerance behind the Bill should give every responsible Member cause for fear and alarm. I urge every hon. Member to look to his principles and conscience and to vote down the clause by voting for the amendment.

Mr. Archy Kirkwood (Roxburgh and Berwickshire)

Like you, Mr. Speaker, some time ago, I, too, sense that the House would like to move to a resolution of the issue. I certainly do not want to detain the House, but I hope that hon. Members will allow me a few moments to identify some of the main themes of the debate over the past two and a half hours, for the benefit of those who did not hear them.

It is regrettable that a matter of this importance has come before us after only a short Committee hearing of about two hours, followed by this two-and-a-half-hour debate. As someone said earlier, there is a suspicion that the House is being bounced into coming to a conclusion on this issue, and that is a matter for regret.

This is difficult and emotional ground for the House and it is difficult to get the checks and balances right. We must, for example, be prudent about the language that we use and we must be careful to eschew bogey men, caricatures and prejudice on both sides of the argument. The debate has been important, but I am saddened at the fact that we have not had more thoughtful consideration of the underlying implications of the clause.

We are essentially discussing civil liberties and civil rights more than we are discussing any particular sexual orientation. The Government have put forward the proposition that the Bill is necessary to deal with alleged irresponsible actions by local authorities and to protect children. I hope that the Minister will look carefully at the arguments advanced by the Opposition parties. In particular, I draw his attention to the courageous and powerful speech by the hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury (Mr. Smith). His speech will repay careful study.

In particular, the Minister has not answered any of the questions that have been asked in the debate, and especially the question about why the Government have changed their position from what it was 12 months ago. The evidence is that they have changed, but the Minister gave no reason why that should have happened. The hon. Member for Islington, South and Finsbury asked about a series of examples of the kind of behaviour that may or may not be caught by the provisions of clause 27. The Minister gave no satisfactory answer to that; nor did he give a satisfactory answer to the question put to him by the hon. Member for Eccles (Miss Lestor).

The interpretation of words in the clause such as "promotion" and "pretended families" is still an outstanding question and I hope that members in the other place will look carefully at that. If the Minister had given an assurance on those important points and if Conservative Members had responded to the debate on the amendment in a more positive way, we would have been prepared to withdraw amendment No. 32. That amendment merely seeks to provide that authorities may undertake sex education in the course of which an awareness of different sexual orientations may be taught by the local authority". It is crucial that that amendment be made in order to avoid difficulties and confusion that the debate has anticipated. The Minister has given no assurances upon which we can rely. Therefore, I invite the House to vote positively in favour of amendment No. 32.

Question put, That the amendment be made:—

The House divided: Ayes 205, Noes 309.

Division No. 116] [10.52 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Fearn, Ronald
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Allen, Graham Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Alton, David Flannery, Martin
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Flynn, Paul
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Ashdown, Paddy Foster, Derek
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Foulkes, George
Ashton, Joe Fraser, John
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Fyfe, Mrs Maria
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Galbraith, Samuel
Barron, Kevin Galloway, George
Battle, John Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Beckett, Margaret Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony George, Bruce
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Bermingham, Gerald Godman, Dr Norman A.
Blair, Tony Gordon, Ms Mildred
Boateng, Paul Gould, Bryan
Boyes, Roland Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Bradley, Keith Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Bray, Dr Jeremy Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Grocott, Bruce
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Hardy, Peter
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) Harman, Ms Harriet
Buchan, Norman Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Caborn, Richard Haynes, Frank
Callaghan, Jim Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Heffer, Eric S.
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Henderson, Douglas
Carlile, Alex (Mont'g) Hinchliffe, David
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth)
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Home Robertson, John
Clay, Bob Hood, James
Clelland, David Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath)
Cohen, Harry Howells, Geraint
Cook, Frank (Stockton N) Hoyle, Doug
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Corbett, Robin Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Corbyn, Jeremy Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S)
Cousins, Jim Illsley, Eric
Cox, Tom Ingram, Adam
Cryer, Bob Janner, Greville
Cummings, J. John, Brynmor
Cunliffe, Lawrence Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W)
Cunningham, Dr John Kennedy, Charles
Dalyell, Tam Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil
Darling, Alastair Lambie, David
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) Lamond, James
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I) Leighton, Ron
Dixon, Don Lestor, Miss Joan (Eccles)
Dobson, Frank Litherland, Robert
Doran, Frank Livingstone, Ken
Eadie, Alexander Livsey, Richard
Eastham, Ken Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Evans, John (St Helens N) Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) McAllion, John
Fatchett, Derek McAvoy, Tom
McCartney, Ian Robinson, Geoffrey
Macdonald, Calum Rogers, Allan
McFall, John Rooker, Jeff
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
McKelvey, William Ruddock, Ms Joan
McLeish, Henry Sedgemore, Brian
McTaggart, Bob Sheerman, Barry
Madden, Max Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Mahon, Mrs Alice Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Marek, Dr John Short, Clare
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Skinner, Dennis
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Martin, Michael (Springburn) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Martlew, Eric Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Maxton, John Snape, Peter
Meacher, Michael Soley, Clive
Meale, Alan Spearing, Nigel
Michael, Alun Steinberg, Gerald
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Stott, Roger
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Strang, Gavin
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Straw, Jack
Moonie, Dr Lewis Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Morgan, Rhodri Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Morley, Elliott Thomas, Dafydd Elis
Morris, Rt Hon A (W'shawe) Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Mowlam, Mrs Marjorie Turner, Dennis
Mullin, Chris Vaz, Keith
Murphy, Paul Wall, Pat
Nellist, Dave Wallace, James
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Walley, Ms Joan
O'Brien, William Wareing, Robert N.
O'Neill, Martin Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Wigley, Dafydd
Parry, Robert Williams, Rt Hon A. J.
Patchett, Terry Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Pendry, Tom Wilson, Brian
Pike, Peter Winnick, David
Prescott, John Wise, Mrs Audrey
Primarolo, Ms Dawn Worthington, Anthony
Quin, Ms Joyce Wray, James
Radice, Giles Young, David (Bolton SE)
Randall, Stuart
Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn Tellers for the Ayes:
Reid, John Mr. Simon Hughes and
Richardson, Ms Jo Mr. Archy Kirkwood.
Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Adley, Robert Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Allason, Rupert Bowis, John
Amess, David Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes
Amos, Alan Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard
Arbuthnot, James Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Brazier, Julian
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Bright, Graham
Ashby, David Brooke, Hon Peter
Aspinwall, Jack Browne, John (Winchester)
Atkins, Robert Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Atkinson, David Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Budgen, Nicholas
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Burns, Simon
Baldry, Tony Burt, Alistair
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Butler, Chris
Batiste, Spencer Butterfill, John
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Carlisle, John, (Luton N)
Beggs, Roy Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln)
Bellingham, Henry Carrington, Matthew
Bendall, Vivian Carttiss, Michael
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Cash, William
Benyon, W. Channon, Rt Hon Paul
Bevan, David Gilroy Chapman, Sydney
Biffen, Rt Hon John Chope, Christopher
Blackburn, Dr John G. Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n)
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford)
Body, Sir Richard Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S)
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe)
Boswell, Tim Colvin, Michael
Bottomley, Peter Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest)
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Coombs, Simon (Swindon)
Cope, John Janman, Timothy
Cormack, Patrick Jessel, Toby
Couchman, James Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Cran, James Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Critchley, Julian Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Key, Robert
Davis, David (Boothferry) Kilfedder, James
Day, Stephen King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Devlin, Tim Kirkhope, Timothy
Dickens, Geoffrey Knapman, Roger
Dorrell, Stephen Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Dover, Den Knowles, Michael
Dunn, Bob Knox, David
Durant, Tony Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Eggar, Tim Lang, Ian
Emery, Sir Peter Latham, Michael
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Lawrence, Ivan
Fallon, Michael Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Farr, Sir John Lee, John (Pendle)
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lightbown, David
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Lilley, Peter
Fookes, Miss Janet Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Forman, Nigel Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Forth, Eric Lord, Michael
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Fox, Sir Marcus Macfarlane, Neil
Freeman, Roger MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
French, Douglas Maclean, David
Fry, Peter McLoughlin, Patrick
Gale, Roger McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Gardiner, George McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Gill, Christopher Major, Rt Hon John
Glyn, Dr Alan Malins, Humfrey
Goodhart, Sir Philip Mans, Keith
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Maples, John
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Marland, Paul
Gow, Ian Marlow, Tony
Gower, Sir Raymond Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Maude, Hon Francis
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Greenway, John (Rydale) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Gregory, Conal Mellor, David
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Grist, Ian Miller, Hal
Ground, Patrick Mills, Iain
Grylls, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Monro, Sir Hector
Hampson. Dr Keith Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hanley, Jeremy Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Hannam, John Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Morrison, Hon P (Chester)
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Moss, Malcolm
Harris, David Moynihan, Hon C.
Hawkins, Christopher Mudd, David
Hayes, Jerry Neale, Gerrard
Hayward, Robert Nelson, Anthony
Heathcoat-Amory, David Neubert, Michael
Heddle, John Newton, Tony
Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael Nicholls, Patrick
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)
Hill, James Onslow, Cranley
Hind, Kenneth Oppenheim, Phillip
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Page, Richard
Holt, Richard Paice, James
Hordern, Sir Peter Patnick, Irvine
Howard, Michael Patten, Chris (Bath)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Patten, John (Oxford W)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Pawsey, James
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Portillo, Michael
Irvine, Michael Powell, William (Corby)
Jack, Michael Price, Sir David
Jackson, Robert Raffan, Keith
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Rathbone, Tim Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Redwood, John Temple-Morris, Peter
Rhodes James, Robert Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Riddick, Graham Thorne, Neil
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Thornton, Malcolm
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Thurnham, Peter
Roberts, Wyn (Conwy) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Roe, Mrs Marion Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Rossi, Sir Hugh Tracey, Richard
Rost, Peter Tredinnick, David
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Trippier, David
Ryder, Richard Trotter, Neville
Sackville, Hon Tom Twinn, Dr Ian
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Scott, Nicholas Waddington, Rt Hon David
Shaw, David (Dover) Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey) Waldegrave, Hon William
Shelton, William (Streatham) Walden, George
Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW) Walker, Bill (T'side North)
Shepherd, Colin (Hereford) Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester)
Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge) Waller, Gary
Shersby, Michael Walters, Dennis
Sims, Roger Ward, John
Skeet, Sir Trevor Wardle, C. (Bexhill)
Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick) Warren, Kenneth
Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield) Watts, John
Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S) Wells, Bowen
Soames, Hon Nicholas Wheeler, John
Speed, Keith Whitney, Ray
Speller, Tony Widdecombe, Miss Ann
Spicer, Jim (Dorset W) Wiggin, Jerry
Spicer, Michael (S Worcs) Wilshire, David
Stanbrook, Ivor Winterton, Mrs Ann
Steen, Anthony Wolfson, Mark
Stern, Michael Wood, Timothy
Stevens, Lewis Woodcock, Mike
Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood) Yeo, Tim
Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N) Younger, Rt Hon George
Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Summerson, Hugo Tellers for the Noes:
Tapsell, Sir Peter Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Taylor, Ian (Esher) Mr. Tristan Garel-Jones.
Taylor, John M (Solihull)

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 37, in page 27, line 39, at end insert— `(2A) Nothing in sub-section (1) above shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of discouraging discrimination against any homosexual person, or designed to protect the civil rights of any such person.'. — [Dr.Cunningham.]

Question put, That the amendment be made:–

The House divided: Ayes 222, Noes 309.

Division No. 117] [11.04 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Boateng, Paul
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Boyes, Roland
Allen, Graham Bradley, Keith
Alton, David Bray, Dr Jeremy
Anderson, Donald Brown, Gordon (D'mline E)
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E)
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith)
Ashdown, Paddy Buchan, Norman
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Buckley, George
Ashton, Joe Caborn, Richard
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Callaghan, Jim
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley)
Barron, Kevin Campbell-Savours, D. N.
Battle, John Carlile, Alex (Mont'g)
Beckett, Margaret Clark, Dr David (S Shields)
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Clarke, Tom (Monklands W)
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Clay, Bob
Bermingham, Gerald Clelland, David
Blair, Tony Clwyd, Mrs Ann
Cohen, Harry Lestor, Miss Joan (Eccles)
Coleman, Donald Lewis, Terry
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Litherland, Robert
Corbett, Robin Livingstone, Ken
Corbyn, Jeremy Livsey, Richard
Cousins, Jim Lloyd, Tony (Stretford)
Cox, Tom Lofthouse, Geoffrey
Cryer, Bob Loyden, Eddie
Cummings, J. McAllion, John
Cunliffe, Lawrence McAvoy, Tom
Cunningham, Dr John McCartney, Ian
Dalyell, Tarn Macdonald, Calum
Darling, Alastair McFall, John
Davies, Ron (Caerphilly) McKay, Allen (Penistone)
Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I) McKelvey, William
Dixon, Don McLeish, Henry
Dobson, Frank McTaggart, Bob
Doran, Frank Madden, Max
Dunwoody, Hon Mrs Gwyneth Mahon, Mrs Alice
Eadie, Alexander Marek, Dr John
Eastham, Ken Marshall, David (Shettleston)
Evans, John (St Helens N) Marshall, Jim (Leicester S)
Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E) Martin, Michael (Springburn)
Ewing, Mrs Margaret (Moray) Martlew, Eric
Fatchett, Derek Maxton, John
Fearn, Ronald Meacher, Michael
Field, Frank (Birkenhead) Meale, Alan
Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n) Michael, Alun
Flannery, Martin Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley)
Flynn, Paul Millan, Rt Hon Bruce
Foot, Rt Hon Michael Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby)
Foster, Derek Moonie, Dr Lewis
Foulkes, George Morgan, Rhodri
Fraser, John Morley, Elliott
Fyfe, Mrs Maria Morris, Rt Hon A (W'shawe)
Galbraith, Samuel Morris, Rt Hon J (Aberavon)
Galloway, George Mowlam, Mrs Marjorie
Garrett, John (Norwich South) Mullin, Chris
Garrett, Ted (Wallsend) Murphy, Paul
George, Bruce Nellist, Dave
Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon
Godman, Dr Norman A. O'Brien, William
Gordon, Ms Mildred O'Neill, Martin
Gould, Bryan Orme, Rt Hon Stanley
Grant, Bernie (Tottenham) Parry, Robert
Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S) Patchett, Terry
Griffiths, Win (Bridgend) Pendry, Tom
Grocott, Bruce Pike, Peter
Hardy, Peter Powell, Ray (Ogmore)
Harman, Ms Harriet Prescott, John
Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy Primarolo, Ms Dawn
Haynes, Frank Quin, Ms Joyce
Healey, Rt Hon Denis Radice, Giles
Heffer, Eric S. Randall, Stuart
Henderson, Douglas Redmond, Martin
Hinchliffe, David Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Hogg, N. (C'nauld & Kilsyth) Reid, John
Home Robertson, John Richardson, Ms Jo
Hood, James Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Howarth, George (Knowsley N) Robinson, Geoffrey
Howell, Rt Hon D. (S'heath) Rogers, Allan
Howells, Geraint Rooker, Jeff
Hoyle, Doug Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N) Rowlands, Ted
Hughes, Roy (Newport E) Ruddock, Ms Joan
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Sedgemore, Brian
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Sheerman, Barry
Illsley, Eric Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Ingram, Adam Shore, Rt Hon Peter
Janner, Greville Short, Clare
John, Brynmor Skinner, Dennis
Jones, Barry (Alyn & Deeside) Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Jones, leuan (Ynys Môn) Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
Kennedy, Charles Snape, Peter
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Soley, Clive
Kirkwood, Archy Spearing, Nigel
Lambie, David Steel, Rt Hon David
Lamond, James Steinberg, Gerald
Leighton, Ron Stott, Roger
Strang, Gavin Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Straw, Jack Wigley, Dafydd
Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury) Williams, Rt Hon A. J.
Taylor, Matthew (Truro) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Thomas, Dafydd Elis Wilson, Brian
Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck) Winnick, David
Turner, Dennis Wise, Mrs Audrey
Vaz, Keith Worthington, Anthony
Wall, Pat Wray, James
Wallace, James Young, David (Bolton SE)
Walley, Ms Joan
Warden, Gareth (Gower) Tellers for the Ayes:
Wareing, Robert N. Mrs. Llin Golding and
Welsh, Andrew (Angus E) Mr. Frank Cook.
Adley, Robert Cope, John
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Cormack, Patrick
Allason, Rupert Couchman, James
Amess, David Cran, James
Amos, Alan Critchley, Julian
Arbuthnot, James Currie, Mrs Edwina
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g)
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Davis, David (Boothferry)
Ashby, David Day, Stephen
Aspinwall, Jack Devlin, Tim
Atkins, Robert Dickens, Geoffrey
Atkinson, David Dorrell, Stephen
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Dover, Den
Baldry, Tony Dunn, Bob
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Durant, Tony
Batiste, Spencer Eggar, Tim
Beaumont-Dark, Anthony Emery, Sir Peter
Beggs, Roy Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd)
Bellingham, Henry Fallon, Michael
Bendall, Vivian Farr, Sir John
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Fenner, Dame Peggy
Benyon, W. Field, Barry (Isle of Wight)
Bevan, David Gilroy Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey
Biffen, Rt Hon John Fookes, Miss Janet
Blackburn, Dr John G. Forman, Nigel
Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter Forth, Eric
Body, Sir Richard Fowler, Rt Hon Norman
Bonsor, Sir Nicholas Fox, Sir Marcus
Boswell, Tim Freeman, Roger
Bottomley, Peter French, Douglas
Bottomley, Mrs Virginia Fry, Peter
Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n) Gale, Roger
Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich) Gardiner, George
Bowis, John Garel-Jones, Tristan
Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes Gill, Christopher
Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard Glyn, Dr Alan
Brandon-Bravo, Martin Goodhart, Sir Philip
Brazier, Julian Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles
Bright, Graham Gorman, Mrs Teresa
Brooke, Hon Peter Gow, Ian
Browne, John (Winchester) Gower, Sir Raymond
Bruce, Ian (Dorset South) Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW)
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Greenway, Harry (Ealing N)
Budgen, Nicholas Greenway, John (Rydale)
Burns, Simon Gregory, Conal
Burt, Alistair Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N)
Butler, Chris Grist, Ian
Butterfill, John Ground, Patrick
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Grylls, Michael
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom)
Carrington, Matthew Hamilton, Neil (Tatton)
Carttiss, Michael Hampson, Dr Keith
Cash, William Hanley, Jeremy
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Hannam, John
Chapman, Sydney Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr')
Chope, Christopher Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Harris, David
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hawkins, Christopher
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hayes, Jerry
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hayward, Robert
Colvin, Michael Heathcoat-Amory, David
Coombs, Anthony (Wyre F'rest) Heddle, John
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE) Nicholson, David (Taunton)
Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L. Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W)
Hill, James Onslow, Cranley
Hind, Kenneth Oppenheim, Phillip
Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm) Page, Richard
Holt, Richard Paice, James
Hordern, Sir Peter Patnick, Irvine
Howard, Michael Patten, Chris (Bath)
Howarth, Alan (Strat'd-on-A) Patten, John (Oxford W)
Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd) Pawsey, James
Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford) Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth
Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W) Porter, Barry (Wirral S)
Hunt, David (Wirral W) Porter, David (Waveney)
Hunt, John (Ravensbourne) Portillo, Michael
Irvine, Michael Powell, William (Corby)
Jack, Michael Price, Sir David
Jackson, Robert Raffan, Keith
Janman, Timothy Raison, Rt Hon Timothy
Jessel, Toby Rathbone, Tim
Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey Redwood, John
Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N) Rhodes James, Robert
Jones, Robert B (Herts W) Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon
Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine Riddick, Graham
Key, Robert Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas
Kilfedder, James Ridsdale, Sir Julian
King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield) Roberts, Wyn (Conwy)
Kirkhope, Timothy Roe, Mrs Marion
Knapman, Roger Rossi, Sir Hugh
Knight, Greg (Derby North) Rost, Peter
Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston) Rumbold, Mrs Angela
Knowles, Michael Sackville, Hon Tom
Knox, David Sainsbury, Hon Tim
Lamont, Rt Hon Norman Scott, Nicholas
Lang, Ian Shaw, David (Dover)
Latham, Michael Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Lawrence, Ivan Shelton, William (Streatham)
Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Lee, John (Pendle) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Lightbown, David Shersby, Michael
Lilley, Peter Sims, Roger
Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant) Skeet, Sir Trevor
Lloyd, Peter (Fareham) Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Lord, Michael Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Lyell, Sir Nicholas Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Macfarlane, Neil Soames, Hon Nicholas
MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire) Speed, Keith
Maclean. David Speller, Tony
McLoughlin, Patrick Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)
McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest) Stanbrook, Ivor
Major, Rt Hon John Steen, Anthony
Malins, Humfrey Stern, Michael
Mans, Keith Stevens, Lewis
Maples, John Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Marland, Paul Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Marlow, Tony Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Martin, David (Portsmouth S) Summerson, Hugo
Maude, Hon Francis Tapsell, Sir Peter
Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Mellor, David Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Meyer, Sir Anthony Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Miller, Hal Temple-Morris, Peter
Mills, Iain Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling) Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Mitchell, David (Hants NW) Thorne, Neil
Monro, Sir Hector Thornton, Malcolm
Montgomery, Sir Fergus Thurnham, Peter
Morris, M (N'hampton S) Townend, John (Bridlington)
Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Morrison, Hon P (Chester) Tracey, Richard
Moss, Malcolm Tredinnick, David
Moynihan, Hon C. Trippier, David
Mudd, David Trotter, Neville
Neale, Gerrard Twinn, Dr Ian
Nelson, Anthony Vaughan, Sir Gerard
Neubert, Michael Waddington, Rt Hon David
Newton, Tony Wakeham, Rt Hon John
Nicholls, Patrick Waldegrave, Hon William
Walden, George Wiggin, Jerry
Walker, Bill (Tside North) Wilshire, David
Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester) Winterton, Mrs Ann
Waller, Gary Wolfson, Mark
Walters, Dennis Wood, Timothy
Ward, John Woodcock, Mike
Wardle, C. (Bexhill) Yeo, Tim
Warren, Kenneth Younger, Rt Hon George
Watts, John
Wells, Bowen Tellers for the Noes:
Wheeler, John Mr. Robert Boscawen and
Whitney, Ray Mr. Richard Ryder.
Widdecombe, Miss Ann

Question accordingly negatived.

Amendment proposed: No. 38, in page 27, line 39, at end insert— '(2A) Nothing in subsection (1) above shall be taken to prohibit the doing of anything for the purpose of providing information, counselling or advice to any pupil at a school or other educational establishment maintained by the authority as to his personal or social development or any family relationship which can reasonably be regarded as likely to affect that development.'.—[Dr. Cunningham.]

Question put, That the amendment he made:—

The House divided: Ayes 208, Noes 306.

Division No. 118] [11.13 pm
Abbott, Ms Diane Davies, Ron (Caerphilly)
Adams, Allen (Paisley N) Davis, Terry (B'ham Hodge H'I)
Allen, Graham Dixon, Don
Alton, David Dobson, Frank
Archer, Rt Hon Peter Doran, Frank
Armstrong, Ms Hilary Eadie, Alexander
Ashdown, Paddy Eastham, Ken
Ashley, Rt Hon Jack Evans, John (St Helens N)
Ashton, Joe Ewing, Harry (Falkirk E)
Banks, Tony (Newham NW) Fatchett, Derek
Barnes, Harry (Derbyshire NE) Fearn, Ronald
Barron, Kevin Field, Frank (Birkenhead)
Battle, John Fields, Terry (L'pool B G'n)
Beckett, Margaret Flannery, Martin
Benn, Rt Hon Tony Flynn, Paul
Bennett, A. F. (D'nt'n & R'dish) Foot, Rt Hon Michael
Bermingham, Gerald Foster, Derek
Blair, Tony Foulkes, George
Boateng, Paul Fraser, John
Boyes, Roland Fyfe, Mrs Maria
Bradley, Keith Galbraith, Samuel
Bray, Dr Jeremy Galloway, George
Brown, Gordon (D'mline E) Garrett, John (Norwich South)
Brown, Nicholas (Newcastle E) Garrett, Ted (Wallsend)
Brown, Ron (Edinburgh Leith) George, Bruce
Buchan, Norman Gilbert, Rt Hon Dr John
Buckley, George Godman, Dr Norman A.
Caborn, Richard Gordon, Ms Mildred
Callaghan, Jim Gould, Bryan
Campbell, Ron (Blyth Valley) Grant, Bernie (Tottenham)
Campbell-Savours, D. N. Griffiths, Nigel (Edinburgh S)
Carl Me, Alex (Mont'g) Griffiths, Win (Bridgend)
Clark, Dr David (S Shields) Grocott, Bruce
Clarke, Tom (Monklands W) Hardy, Peter
Clay, Bob Harman, Ms Harriet
Clelland, David Hattersley, Rt Hon Roy
Clwyd, Mrs Ann Haynes, Frank
Cohen, Harry Healey, Rt Hon Denis
Cook, Robin (Livingston) Heffer, Eric S.
Corbett, Robin Henderson, Douglas
Corbyn, Jeremy Hinchliffe, David
Cousins, Jim Home Robertson, John
Cox, Tom Hood, James
Cryer, Bob Howarth, George (Knowsley N)
Cummings, J. Howell, Rt Hon D. (S' heath)
Cunliffe, Lawrence Howells, Geraint
Cunningham, Dr John Hoyle, Doug
Dalyell, Tarn Hughes, Robert (Aberdeen N)
Darling, Alastair Hughes, Roy (Newport E)
Hughes, Sean (Knowsley S) Pendry, Tom
Hughes, Simon (Southwark) Pike, Peter
Illsley, Eric Primarolo, Ms Dawn
Ingram, Adam Quin, Ms Joyce
Janner, Greville Radice, Giles
Jones, Martyn (Clwyd S W) Randall, Stuart
Kennedy, Charles Redmond, Martin
Kinnock, Rt Hon Neil Rees, Rt Hon Merlyn
Kirkwood, Archy Reid, John
Lambie, David Richardson, Ms Jo
Lamond, James Roberts, Allan (Bootle)
Leighton, Ron Robinson, Geoffrey
Lestor, Miss Joan (Eccles) Rogers, Allan
Lewis, Terry Rooker, Jeff
Litherland, Robert Ross, Ernie (Dundee W)
Livingstone, Ken Ruddock, Ms Joan
Livsey, Richard Sedgemore, Brian
Lloyd, Tony (Stretford) Sheerman, Barry
Lofthouse, Geoffrey Sheldon, Rt Hon Robert
Loyden, Eddie Shore, Rt Hon Peter
McAllion, John Short, Clare
McAvoy, Tom Skinner, Dennis
McCartney, Ian Smith, Andrew (Oxford E)
Macdonald, Calum Smith, C. (Isl'ton & F'bury)
McFall, John Smith, Rt Hon J. (Monk'ds E)
McKay, Allen (Penistone) Snape, Peter
McKelvey, William Soley, Clive
McLeish, Henry Spearing, Nigel
McTaggart, Bob Steel, Rt Hon David
Madden, Max Steinberg, Gerald
Mahon, Mrs Alice Stott, Roger
Marek, Dr John Strang, Gavin
Marshall, David (Shettleston) Straw, Jack
Marshall, Jim (Leicester S) Taylor, Mrs Ann (Dewsbury)
Martin, Michael (Springburn) Taylor, Matthew (Truro)
Martlew, Eric Thomas, Dafydd Elis
Maxton, John Thompson, Jack (Wansbeck)
Meacher, Michael Turner, Dennis
Meale, Alan Vaz, Keith
Michael, Alun Wall, Pat
Michie, Bill (Sheffield Heeley) Wallace, James
Millan, Rt Hon Bruce Walley, Ms Joan
Mitchell, Austin (G't Grimsby) Wareing, Robert N.
Moonie, Dr Lewis Welsh, Michael (Doncaster N)
Morgan, Rhodri Wigley, Dafydd
Morley, Elliott Williams, Rt Hon A. J.
Morris, Rt Hon A (W'shawe) Williams, Alan W. (Carm'then)
Mowlam, Mrs Marjorie Wilson, Brian
Mullin, Chris Winnick, David
Murphy, Paul Wise, Mrs Audrey
Nellist, Dave Worthington, Anthony
Oakes, Rt Hon Gordon Wray, James
O'Brien, William Young, David (Bolton SE)
O'Neill, Martin
Orme, Rt Hon Stanley Tellers for the Ayes:
Parry, Robert Mrs Llin Golding and
Patchett, Terry Mr. Frank Cook.
Adley, Robert Benyon, W.
Alison, Rt Hon Michael Bevan, David Gilroy
Allason, Rupert Biffen, Rt Hon John
Amess, David Blackburn, Dr John G.
Amos, Alan Blaker, Rt Hon Sir Peter
Arbuthnot, James Body, Sir Richard
Arnold, Jacques (Gravesham) Bonsor, Sir Nicholas
Arnold, Tom (Hazel Grove) Boswell, Tim
Ashby, David Bottomley, Peter
Aspinwall, Jack Bottomley, Mrs Virginia
Atkins, Robert Bowden, A (Brighton K'pto'n)
Atkinson, David Bowden, Gerald (Dulwich)
Baker, Rt Hon K. (Mole Valley) Bowis, John
Baker, Nicholas (Dorset N) Boyson, Rt Hon Dr Sir Rhodes
Baldry, Tony Braine, Rt Hon Sir Bernard
Banks, Robert (Harrogate) Brandon-Bravo, Martin
Batiste, Spencer Brazier, Julian
Beggs, Roy Bright, Graham
Bellingham, Henry Brooke, Hon Peter
Bendall, Vivian Browne, John (Winchester)
Bennett, Nicholas (Pembroke) Bruce, Ian (Dorset South)
Buchanan-Smith, Rt Hon Alick Heathcoat-Amory, David
Budgen, Nicholas Heddle, John
Burns, Simon Heseltine, Rt Hon Michael
Burt, Alistair Hicks, Robert (Cornwall SE)
Butler, Chris Higgins, Rt Hon Terence L.
Butterfill, John Hill, James
Carlisle, John, (Luton N) Hind, Kenneth
Carlisle, Kenneth (Lincoln) Hogg, Hon Douglas (Gr'th'm)
Carrington, Matthew Holt, Richard
Carttiss, Michael Hordern, Sir Peter
Cash, William Howard, Michael
Channon, Rt Hon Paul Howarth, G. (Cannock & B'wd)
Chope, Christopher Howell, Rt Hon David (G'dford)
Clark, Hon Alan (Plym'th S'n) Hughes, Robert G. (Harrow W)
Clark, Dr Michael (Rochford) Hunt, David (Wirral W)
Clark, Sir W. (Croydon S) Hunt, John (Ravensbourne)
Clarke, Rt Hon K. (Rushcliffe) Hurd, Rt Hon Douglas
Colvin, Michael Irvine, Michael
Coombs, Simon (Swindon) Jack, Michael
Cope, John Jackson, Robert
Cormack, Patrick Janman, Timothy
Couchman, James Jessel, Toby
Cran, James Johnson Smith, Sir Geoffrey
Critchley, Julian Jones, Gwilym (Cardiff N)
Currie, Mrs Edwina Jones, Robert B (Herts W)
Davies, Q. (Stamf'd & Spald'g) Kellett-Bowman, Mrs Elaine
Davis, David (Boothferry) Key, Robert
Day, Stephen Kilfedder, James
Devlin, Tim King, Roger (B'ham N'thfield)
Dickens, Geoffrey Kirkhope, Timothy
Dorrell, Stephen Knapman, Roger
Douglas-Hamilton, Lord James Knight, Greg (Derby North)
Dover, Den Knight, Dame Jill (Edgbaston)
Dunn, Bob Knowles, Michael
Durant, Tony Knox, David
Eggar, Tim Lamont, Rt Hon Norman
Emery, Sir Peter Lang, Ian
Evans, David (Welwyn Hatf'd) Latham, Michael
Fallon, Michael Lawrence, Ivan
Farr, Sir John Lawson, Rt Hon Nigel
Fenner, Dame Peggy Lee, John (Pendle)
Field, Barry (Isle of Wight) Lennox-Boyd, Hon Mark
Finsberg, Sir Geoffrey Lightbown, David
Fookes, Miss Janet Lilley, Peter
Forman, Nigel Lloyd, Sir Ian (Havant)
Forth, Eric Lloyd, Peter (Fareham)
Fowler, Rt Hon Norman Lord, Michael
Fox, Sir Marcus Lyell, Sir Nicholas
Freeman, Roger Macfarlane, Neil
French, Douglas MacKay, Andrew (E Berkshire)
Fry, Peter Maclean, David
Gale, Roger McLoughlin, Patrick
Gardiner, George McNair-Wilson, M. (Newbury)
Garel-Jones, Tristan McNair-Wilson, P. (New Forest)
Gill, Christopher Major, Rt Hon John
Glyn, Dr Alan Malins, Humfrey
Goodhart, Sir Philip Mans, Keith
Goodson-Wickes, Dr Charles Maples, John
Gorman, Mrs Teresa Marland, Paul
Gow, Ian Marlow, Tony
Gower, Sir Raymond Martin, David (Portsmouth S)
Grant, Sir Anthony (CambsSW) Maude, Hon Francis
Greenway, Harry (Ealing N) Maxwell-Hyslop, Robin
Greenway, John (Rydale) Mayhew, Rt Hon Sir Patrick
Gregory, Conal Mellor, David
Griffiths, Peter (Portsmouth N) Meyer, Sir Anthony
Grist, Ian Miller, Hal
Ground, Patrick Mills, Iain
Grylls, Michael Mitchell, Andrew (Gedling)
Hamilton, Hon A. (Epsom) Mitchell, David (Hants NW)
Hamilton, Neil (Tatton) Monro, Sir Hector
Hampson, Dr Keith Montgomery, Sir Fergus
Hanley, Jeremy Morris, M (N'hampton S)
Hannam, John Morrison, Hon C. (Devizes)
Hargreaves, A. (B'ham H'll Gr') Morrison, Hon P (Chester)
Hargreaves, Ken (Hyndburn) Moss, Malcolm
Harris, David Moynihan, Hon C.
Hawkins, Christopher Mudd, David
Hayes, Jerry Neale, Gerrard
Hayward, Robert Nelson, Anthony
Neubert, Michael Shaw, Sir Giles (Pudsey)
Newton, Tony Shelton, William (Streatham)
Nicholls, Patrick Shephard, Mrs G. (Norfolk SW)
Nicholson, David (Taunton) Shepherd, Colin (Hereford)
Nicholson, Miss E. (Devon W) Shepherd, Richard (Aldridge)
Onslow, Cranley Shersby, Michael
Oppenheim, Phillip Sims, Roger
Page, Richard Skeet, Sir Trevor
Paice, James Smith, Sir Dudley (Warwick)
Patnick, Irvine Smith, Tim (Beaconsfield)
Patten, Chris (Bath) Smyth, Rev Martin (Belfast S)
Patten, John (Oxford W) Soames, Hon Nicholas
Pawsey, James Speed, Keith
Peacock, Mrs Elizabeth Speller, Tony
Porter, Barry (Wirral S) Spicer, Jim (Dorset W)
Porter, David (Waveney) Spicer, Michael (S Worcs)
Portillo, Michael Stanbrook, Ivor
Powell, William (Corby) Steen, Anthony
Price, Sir David Stern, Michael
Raffan, Keith Stevens, Lewis
Raison, Rt Hon Timothy Stewart, Andrew (Sherwood)
Rathbone, Tim Stewart, Ian (Hertfordshire N)
Redwood, John Stradling Thomas, Sir John
Rhodes James, Robert Summerson, Hugo
Rhys Williams, Sir Brandon Tapsell, Sir Peter
Riddick, Graham Taylor, Ian (Esher)
Ridley, Rt Hon Nicholas Taylor, John M (Solihull)
Ridsdale, Sir Julian Taylor, Teddy (S'end E)
Roe, Mrs Marion Tebbit, Rt Hon Norman
Rossi, Sir Hugh Temple-Morris, Peter
Rost, Peter Thompson, D. (Calder Valley)
Rumbold, Mrs Angela Thompson, Patrick (Norwich N)
Ryder, Richard Thorne, Neil
Sackville, Hon Tom Thornton, Malcolm
Sainsbury, Hon Tim Thurnham, Peter
Scott, Nicholas Townend, John (Bridlington)
Shaw, David (Dover) Townsend, Cyril D. (B'heath)
Tracey, Richard Watts, John
Tredinnick, David Wells, Bowen
Trippier, David Wheeler, John
Trotter, Neville Whitney, Ray
Twinn, Dr Ian Widdecombe, Miss Ann
Vaughan, Sir Gerard Wiggin, Jerry
Waddington, Rt Hon David Wilshire, David
Wakeham, Rt Hon John Winterton, Mrs Ann
Waldegrave, Hon William Wolfson, Mark
Walden, George Wood, Timothy
Walker, Bill (T'side North) Woodcock, Mike
Walker, Rt Hon P. (W'cester) Yeo, Tim
Waller, Gary Younger, Rt Hon George
Walters, Dennis
Ward, John Tellers for the Noes:
Wardle, C. (Bexhill) Mr. Robert Boscawen,
Warren, Kenneth Mr. Alan Howarth.

Question accordingly negatived.

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