Gay rights: New move on age of consent Bill

PLANS TO lower the age of consent for homosexuals to 16 will be re-introduced in the Commons six months after peers overwhelmingly voted against them.

Ministers will seek to push through the age of consent package as part of the Sexual Offences Bill, to be debated on 25 January, which will include guidelines to protect youths who are in care, boarding schools or the Armed Forces. They hope statutory safeguards will persuade peers tobow to concerns about young people who could have their trust abused. Peers voted down the measure as part of the Crime and Disorder Bill in July, despite the clear backing to make the age of consent the same as for heterosexuals. The three main party leaders and almost all of the Cabinet voted in favour of the change.

However, peers argued that they had the right to defy the Commons because they had a moral right because this was an issue of conscience that crossed party lines.

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