A Birmingham MP who raised concerns about the “age appropriateness” of four and five-year-olds learning about LGBT issues has faced a barrage of criticism.
Roger Godsiff’s constituency includes Anderton Park Primary School, where parents have been protesting about the content their children receive.
But following his remarks, another Labour MP, the deputy leader of Birmingham City Council and two journalists have all railed at the MP.
Godsiff, who voted against same-sex marriage but in favour of the controversial new primary-level Relationship Education subject, said parents should have been consulted more thoroughly.
He told the Birmingham Mail: “I have concerns about the age appropriateness of children of four and five being introduced to these ideas”, adding that it would be more appropriate at six or seven.
He said due to the “very sensitive subject I would question whether the amount of consultation should have been much more”.
The MP added: “It is not about having a veto over aspects of the equalities legislation but about talking to children, age appropriately, in all aspects.”
His comments were met with disdain from the MP for Birmingham Yardley, Jess Phillips.
She denied four and five year-olds were being taught “about LGBT”, tweeting that it was simply about different kinds of families.
Guardian columnist Owen Jones said Godsiff should be removed from his post as an MP because his view is “an absolute shocker”.
LBC presenter Iain Dale accused Godsiff of making the comments purely as a grab for “Muslim votes”.
But despite the backlash, the MP maintained it is vital the age of the children is taken into account when teaching about sexuality: “Some will agree with me, some won’t.”
Last month, a Government consultation revealed widespread opposition to plans for Relationships Education in primary schools.
More than 11,000 people responded, with 58 per cent saying the proposed content was not “age-appropriate”.
Education Secretary Damian Hinds, however, pushed ahead and the new subject is set to be compulsory from September 2020.