Cabinet agrees to lower age of gay sex to 16

THE CABINET yesterday agreed to more than a dozen bills to be announced in the Queen's Speech, including a Bill to lower the age of consent for gays to 16 with protection for children from abuse by authority figures such as social workers and teachers.

Joe Ashon, the Labour MP, last night demanded that safeguards should still make it a criminal offence for adults in positions of responsibility to have sex with those under 18.

The Government will delay implementation of an election pledge on gay rights in schools.

It is postponing the repeal of Clause 28 of the 1988 Local Government Act banning the promotion of homosexual "propa- ganda" until next year. Downing Street said it would still go ahead but there were no guarantees it will be repealed before the election. The Prime Minister's official spokesman said: "We have a commitment and that remains to repeal Clause 28 as soon as a suitable legislative opportunity arises." Ministers feared disruption of the Government's business by Tory peers opposed to the repeal and decided to wait until the hereditary peerage is abolished before proceeding.

The reform of the House of Lords will be the centrepiece of a legislative package described by the Government as "ambitious", to be unveiled on 24 November by the Queen in a scaled-down ceremony in the Lords. There had been suspicions among some Labour MPs the Government had got cold feet over gay law reform after the row over the resignation of Ron Davies.

Other bills include:

Criminal justice: Greater protection for rape victims, witness protection, abolition of jury trial in 25 per cent of cases, and youth justice reforms.

Asylum: Allowing the Home Office to take responsibility from the social security department for running asylum budgets, but de facto amnesty for 30,000 long-term applicants.

London mayor: Creation of elected mayor and Greater London Authority.

Local government: Directly elected mayors outside London, Sunday voting in malls, powers to appoint teams to tackle failing councils.

NHS reform: Replaces "fundholding" family doctors with primary care groups of GPs to commission care for patients from hospitals.

Fairness at work: Restores union recognition rights in workplace on majority vote providing 40 per cent of those eligible vote.

Justice: To give solicitors and staff of Crown Prosecution Service chance to break barristers' monopoly.

Electronic commerce: Liberalising trading on the Interment, making payment without credit cards.

Welfare: Tighter rules on disability pensions.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence