Consent to gay sex at 16 'to be rejected'

TORY MPS yesterday said they would reject demands by homosexual leaders to equalise the age of consent for gay sex at 16, writes Colin Brown.

Home Office ministers believe that there will be a Commons majority for the age of consent for homosexuals to be reduced from 21 to 18, but lowering it to 16 will be rejected. Sir Ian McKellen, the eminent actor and a leading campaigner for reform, said that the compromise at 18 would be an 'insult' and a 'disaster'.

The vote will take place on an anmendment to the Criminal Justice Bill to be tabled by Edwina Currie, MP for Derbyshire South, proposing a legal age of consent at 16.

Mrs Currie, who said she had the support of 30 Tories, said on BBC Radio 1's Newsbeat programme yesterday: 'Most people of today know their sexuality by the time they are 16.' She said there was an argument for equality between homosexuals and heterosexuals for the age to be 16 for both.

When told there were many people who would want the age of consent for homosexuals to remain at 21, Mrs Currie replied: 'There are some people who would ban sex altogether.'

Leading article, page 15

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