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 Downing Street said it would still go ahead but there were no guarantees it will be repealed before the election.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
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

Recruitment Genius: Direct Mail Machine Operative

£13500 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for an i...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Accounts Executive

£14000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity for the ...

Recruitment Genius: Team Administrator / Secretary - South East

£14000 - £17000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Full time Administrator/Secreta...

Recruitment Genius: Parts Advisor

£16500 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the leading Mercedes-Ben...

Day In a Page

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Why the cost of parenting has become so expensive

Today's pre-school child costs £35,000, according to Aviva. And that's but the tip of an iceberg, says DJ Taylor
Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US