A piece of legislation that would mean children are taught LGBT-inclusive relationships and sex education (RSE) in primary schools was passed by a huge majority of 517 yesterday, with 538 MPs in favour and just 21 against.
But LGBT Labour activists are furious about those MPs who voted against or abstained on the Draft Relationships Education, Relationships and Sex Education and Health Education (England) Regulations 2019.
Relationships and sex education (RSE) has been under scrutiny in recent weeks, as several schools in Birmingham faced protests over existing guidance and some stopped teaching the disputed lessons.
As might be expected, 12 Tories and 7 DUP representatives voted against the guidance. But many Labour members were concerned to see that Labour’s John Spellar also voted against, as did Fiona Onasanya, who now sits as an Independent MP.
14 Labour MPs did not vote: Vernon Coaker, Sir David Crausby, Ruth George, Kate Hoey, Kate Hollern, Imran Hussain, Stephen Kinnock (who says there has been a mistake), Khalid Mahmood, John McDonnell, Laura Pidcock, Yasmin Qureshi, Stephen Timms, Keith Vaz and Mohammad Yasin.
Ex-Labour MPs Ann Coffey, Frank Field, Ivan Lewis, Jared O’Mara (who has explained his absence), Chuka Umunna and Chris Williamson also abstained.
Not all abstentions were deliberate, and one seems to have been a mistake. Some of the MPs offered explanations in response to criticism…
Stephen Kinnock said there had been a “mix up”.
I am absolutely sure that I voted ‘For’ on this. I am contacting the House authorities now to see if there has been some kind of mix up.
— Stephen Kinnock (@SKinnock) March 28, 2019
Laura Pidcock apologised:
I can only apologise. I was on TV live, then got called to an urgent meeting, so it was a cock up from me, not a deliberate abstention. Spent years delivering LGBT+ education 😭
— Laura Pidcock MP (@LauraPidcockMP) March 28, 2019
Ruth George said it was a scheduling issue:
This was a minor division held at the same time as my Bill to prohibit Sky Lanterns, to enable a score of Conservative MPs to register their objection, but was overwhelmingly won. No reflection on my total support for the LGBT community – I’m speaking at Buxton Pride this summer
— Ruth George (@RuthGeorge6) March 28, 2019
Mohammad Yasin had a family emergency:
I had a family emergency. Unfortunately I missed few votes on Tuesday and Wednesday.
— Mohammad Yasin MP (@yasinmpbedford) March 28, 2019