Peers' move to alter vote on age of consent

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Indy Politics
A LABOUR frontbench peer yesterday tabled amendments to the Criminal Justice Bill which would lower the age of homosexual consent to 16. The move came as a counter to moves by leading churchmen to reverse the Commons vote earlier this year which lowered it to 18.

The Bishop of Chester, Dr Michael Baughen, and the Duke of Norfolk, Britain's leading Catholic layman, are among peers who are seeking an amendment which would set aside the Commons vote to lower the age from 21.

Yesterday, Lord McIntosh of Haringey, Labour's senior home affairs spokesman in the Lords, tabled counter amendments which would lower the age of consent to 16. In the Commons, Labour allowed MPs a free vote on the issue.

The move by Lord McIntosh came as gay rights campaigners are likely to mount vigorous protests at the attempt to reverse the Commons decision.

No date has yet been set for the amendments to be debated after the Lords returns from its late spring break on 6 June and it is unlikely to be before 14 June.