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Baroness Blatch: My Lords, I know that noble Lords are anxious to get away and I shall be brief, but the noble Lord almost accused me of being dishonest about the material in my reference to Taking Sex Seriously. So if noble Lords will forgive me, perhaps I may read a lesson plan for 11-plus children. The objective of the lesson plan is:

The time required is one hour. The materials required are:

    "Lots of strips of card or paper (size about 8 inches by 4 inches). Marker pens. Bluetack".

The literacy level is expected to be medium. The plan states:

    "Explain the purpose of the exercise.

    "Ask people to move into groups of three and give them a bundle of strips of card or paper.

    "Ask them to think about all the different sexual activities two people can do together. Ask them to write each one on a separate strip of card large enough so that it can be seen if put up on the wall. Tell them they can put down whatever they think of and that it is best if they do it in a specific way. E.g. rather than just 'oral sex' they might put 'sucking a man's penis' or 'licking a woman's clitoris'. (Some examples of sexual activities are given below. You"—

the teacher—

    "may need to give a few examples to get the group thinking on the right lines".

I stand here as a mother and simply say that for 11 pluses in schools that is outrageous.

I have been staggered at the aggressive reluctance to trust parents. I have moved away from pontificating from on high about what thou shalt and shalt not do. Parents are best placed to know what is right for their children. I was also staggered at a point made earlier: that teachers would be appalled to put that trust in the hands of parents. All good teachers—most of them are good teachers—would welcome that partnership with parents, which would be strengthened by my amendments.

So much has been said that misinterprets what my amendments are about. They are not about keeping Section 28 in disguise. I expect Section 28 to be repealed. The aims of my amendment are simple: that in the light of the repeal of Section 28, the protection of children from the worst form of sex education should be strengthened, so that power is wrested from the Secretary of State and placed in the hands of parents.

I respect parents. They are best placed and the best people to make the judgments. I trust them to know what is best for their children. Tonight, I shall support them and ask other noble Lords to do the same. I beg to test the opinion of the House.

10 Jul 2003 : Column 525

6.12 p.m.

On Question, Whether the said amendment (No. 20) shall be agreed to?

Their Lordships divided: Contents, 130; Not-Contents, 180.

Division No. 3


Ackner, L.
Ahmed, L.
Ampthill, L.
Anelay of St Johns, B.
Astor of Hever, L.
Attlee, E.
Bagri, L.
Bell, L.
Black of Crossharbour, L.
Blackwell, L.
Blaker, L.
Blatch, B. [Teller]
Boothroyd, B.
Bridgeman, V.
Bridges, L.
Brigstocke, B.
Brookman, L.
Brooks of Tremorfa, L.
Burnham, L.
Byford, B.
Carlisle of Bucklow, L.
Carnegy of Lour, B.
Chalfont, L.
Chan, L.
Cope of Berkeley, L.
Cox, B.
Cumberlege, B.
Davies of Coity, L.
Denham, L.
Dixon, L.
Dixon-Smith, L.
Donoughue, L.
Eden of Winton, L.
Elles, B.
Elliott of Morpeth, L.
Elton, L.
Erroll, E.
Evans of Parkside, L.
Feldman, L.
Ferrers, E.
Freeman, L.
Gardner of Parkes, B.
Geddes, L.
Glentoran, L.
Goschen, V.
Griffiths of Fforestfach, L.
Hanham, B.
Hanningfield, L.
Harris of Peckham, L.
Hooper, B.
Howell of Guildford, L.
Howie of Troon, L.
Hylton, L.
Inge, L.
James of Holland Park, B.
Jellicoe, E.
Jenkin of Roding, L.
Kimball, L.
Kingsland, L.
Laird, L.
Lamont of Lerwick, L.
Lane of Horsell, L.
Lewis of Newnham, L.
Liverpool, E.
Lofthouse of Pontefract, L.
Luke, L.
Lyell, L.
McColl of Dulwich, L.
McFarlane of Llandaff, B.
MacGregor of Pulham Market, L.
Maginnis of Drumglass, L.
Manchester, Bp.
Marlesford, L.
Miller of Hendon, B.
Molyneaux of Killead, L.
Monson, L.
Montrose, D.
Moore of Wolvercote, L.
Moran, L.
Mowbray and Stourton, L.
Murton of Lindisfarne, L.
Naseby, L.
Neill of Bladen, L.
Newton of Braintree, L.
Norfolk, D.
Northbourne, L.
Northbrook, L.
Northesk, E.
O'Cathain, B.
Oppenheim-Barnes, B.
Palmer, L. [Teller]
Palumbo, L.
Pearson of Rannoch, L.
Peel, E.
Pilkington of Oxenford, L.
Platt of Writtle, B.
Plumb, L.
Plummer of St. Marylebone, L.
Pym, L.
Quinton, L.
Reay, L.
Renton, L.
Roberts of Conwy, L.
Sanderson of Bowden, L.
Seccombe, B.
Sharples, B.
Shaw of Northstead, L.
Simon, V.
Simon of Glaisdale, L.
Skelmersdale, L.
Slim, V.
Soulsby of Swaffham Prior, L.
Stewartby, L.
Stoddart of Swindon, L.
Strabolgi, L.
Strange, B.
Strathclyde, L.
Swinfen, L.
Tebbit, L.
Thatcher, B.
Tombs, L.
Trumpington, B.
Vivian, L.
Wade of Chorlton, L.
Walker of Worcester, L.
Walpole, L.
Weatherill, L.
Wilcox, B.
Williamson of Horton, L.
Wolfson, L.


Acton, L.
Addington, L.
Adebowale, L.
Alderdice, L.
Alli, L.
Amos, B.
Andrews, B.
Archer of Sandwell, L.
Ashley of Stoke, L.
Ashton of Upholland, B.
Avebury, L.
Barker, B. [Teller]
Bassam of Brighton, L.
Beaumont of Whitley, L.
Berkeley, L.
Bernstein of Craigweil, L.
Biffen, L.
Billingham, B.
Birt, L.
Blackstone, B.
Borrie, L.
Bragg, L.
Brett, L.
Brittan of Spennithorne, L.
Brooke of Alverthorpe, L.
Burlison, L.
Burns, L.
Campbell of Alloway, L.
Campbell-Savours, L.
Carter, L.
Chandos, V.
Christopher, L.
Clark of Windermere, L.
Clement-Jones, L.
Clinton-Davis, L.
Cohen of Pimlico, B.
Condon, L.
Cooke of Thorndon, L.
Corbett of Castle Vale, L.
Craigavon, V.
Crawley, B.
Darcy de Knayth, B.
David, B.
Davies of Oldham, L.
Dean of Thornton-le-Fylde, B.
Desai, L.
Dholakia, L.
Dormand of Easington, L.
Dubs, L.
Elder, L.
Elis-Thomas, L.
Evans of Temple Guiting, L.
Falconer of Thoroton, L. (Lord Chancellor)
Falkender, B.
Falkland, V.
Farrington of Ribbleton, B.
Faulkner of Worcester, L.
Filkin, L.
Finlay of Llandaff, B.
Flather, B.
Freyberg, L.
Gale, B.
Gavron, L.
Gibson of Market Rasen, B.
Goldsmith, L.
Goodhart, L.
Goudie, B.
Gould of Potternewton, B. [Teller]
Graham of Edmonton, L.
Greaves, L.
Greengross, B.
Grenfell, L.
Grocott, L.
Hamwee, B.
Hannay of Chiswick, L.
Harris of Haringey, L.
Harris of Richmond, B.
Harrison, L.
Haskel, L.
Hayman, B.
Howarth of Breckland, B.
Howells of St. Davids, B.
Hoyle, L.
Hughes of Woodside, L.
Hunt of Chesterton, L.
Hunt of Kings Heath, L.
Irvine of Lairg, L.
Jacobs, L.
Janner of Braunstone, L.
Jay of Paddington, B.
Jeger, B.
Joffe, L.
Judd, L.
Kennedy of The Shaws, B.
King of West Bromwich, L.
Layard, L.
Lea of Crondall, L.
Linklater of Butterstone, B.
Lipsey, L.
Listowel, E.
Livsey of Talgarth, L.
Lockwood, B.
Ludford, B.
Macdonald of Tradeston, L.
McIntosh of Haringey, L.
McIntosh of Hudnall, B.
MacKenzie of Culkein, L.
McNally, L.
Maddock, B.
Marsh, L.
Massey of Darwen, B.
Mayhew of Twysden, L.
Miller of Chilthorne Domer, B.
Mishcon, L.
Morgan, L.
Morgan of Huyton, B.
Morris of Manchester, L.
Newby, L.
Newcastle, Bp.
Nicol, B.
Northover, B.
Norton of Louth, L.
Oakeshott of Seagrove Bay, L.
Ouseley, L.
Pendry, L.
Peston, L.
Pitkeathley, B.
Plant of Highfield, L.
Prashar, B.
Prys-Davies, L.
Radice, L.
Ramsay of Cartvale, B.
Razzall, L.
Rea, L.
Redesdale, L.
Rendell of Babergh, B.
Rennard, L.
Richardson of Calow, B.
Rodgers of Quarry Bank, L.
Rogers of Riverside, L.
Roll of Ipsden, L.
Rooker, L.
Russell, E.
Russell-Johnston, L.
Sainsbury of Turville, L.
St John of Fawsley, L.
Sandberg, L.
Sandwich, E.
Sawyer, L.
Scott of Needham Market, B.
Sharp of Guildford, B.
Sheldon, L.
Shutt of Greetland, L.
Smith of Clifton, L.
Stallard, L.
Stern, B.
Stone of Blackheath, L.
Taverne, L.
Temple-Morris, L.
Thomas of Gresford, L.
Thomas of Walliswood, B.
Thornton, B.
Tope, L.
Tordoff, L.
Turner of Camden, B.
Wallace of Saltaire, L.
Walmsley, B.
Warnock, B.
Warwick of Undercliffe, B.
Watson of Invergowrie, L.
Watson of Richmond, L.
Wedderburn of Charlton, L.
Whitaker, B.
Whitty, L.
Wigoder, L.
Williams of Crosby, B.
Williams of Elvel, L.
Williams of Mostyn, L. (Lord President of the Council)
Woolmer of Leeds, L.
Young of Old Scone, B.

Resolved in the negative, and amendment disagreed to accordingly.

10 Jul 2003 : Column 527

6.25 p.m.

Lord Mishcon moved Amendment No. 21:

    Page 74, line 31, at end insert—

    "(2) For the avoidance of doubt, it is hereby declared that nothing in this section affects the duties and powers of the Secretary of State to make rules and issue guidance in connection with sex education under section 148 of the Learning and Skills Act 2000 (c. 21) amending the Education Act 1996 (c. 56)."

The noble Lord said: It appears that the melodrama is over and a rather insignificant act follows.

I move the amendment for two reasons. The first is because there ought to be no controversy on the subject of education and children, and I wish the Bill to become one with reasoning behind it. Secondly, I hope that a resolution will be passed that finds favour in another place. That will accomplish two things. First, we will have escaped—if that is the appropriate word—the hammer of the Parliament Acts being invoked. Secondly, we will have achieved something by way of guidance to teachers in our schools.

Many of us remember the debates on this matter in the past. I believe I am right in saying that the bishops took a prominent part in trying to see whether a Bill could be enacted that would favour guidance being given to teachers in terms acceptable to everyone. I shall read exactly what transpired after that. Then, no doubt to your Lordships' pleasure, I shall sit down.

The Bill that followed from some of our discussions was the Learning and Skills Bill. Anyone who was seeking to know what happened with regard to our discussions on the matter of Section 28 would look up the Act under which it was being dealt—the Local Government Act 1988—and would find the word "repealed". That means that a number of people would not know what had happened and would think that Parliament had decided, after all, that what was behind that section was not the policy of Parliament. Parliament wanted clarity of view and that clarity was,

10 Jul 2003 : Column 528

"We have repealed it because we do not agree with what it says". In those circumstances, this fact was passed as an Act:

    "The Secretary of State must issue guidance designed to secure that when sex education is given to pupils at maintained schools— (a) they learn the nature of marriage and the importance for family life and the bringing up of children".

It continues:

    "(b) they are protected from teaching and materials which are inappropriate having regard to the age and the religious and cultural background of the pupils concerned.

    1(B) In discharging their functions under subsection (1) governing bodies and head teachers must have regard to the Secretary of State's guidance".

I should have thought that following on the vote which has just taken place—and indeed even if it had had a different result—that would be acceptable to the House and, one would hope, also to another place. Then we would have a clear view as to what Parliament had intended. I beg to move.

6.30 p.m.

Lord Rooker: My Lords, Amendment No. 21, moved by my noble friend, seeks to provide an assurance that the repeal of Section 28, to which the House has just agreed, will not affect the duties and powers of the Secretary of State for Education to issue guidance in respect of sex education. I can without any qualification give my noble friend that assurance. Therefore, we do not believe it necessary to put the words on the statue book.

The Education Act 1996 as amended by the Learning and Skills Act 2000 clearly sets out the duties of the Secretary of State to issue guidance designed to secure that, where sex education is given to pupils in maintained schools, they learn the nature of marriage and its importance for family life and they are protected from teaching and materials which are inappropriate. Those arrangements will be entirely unaffected by the repeal of Section 28. No changes are made to the Education Act as a result of the amendments associated with repeal of Section 28 that will in any way affect the role, powers or duties of the Secretary of State for Education. There is no doubt on that score. Therefore, we do not believe that any confirmation of it is required on the face of the legislation.

My noble friend's amendment has nevertheless been very useful by allowing the position to be so clearly stated in Hansard immediately after the preceding debate.

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