The Labour Party in Brighton: Gay sex at 16 is endorsed as 'fundamental human right'

LABOUR should equalise the age of consent to sexual relations at 16, giving homosexuals the same rights as heterosexuals, delegates decided yesterday, writes Patricia Wynn Davies.

Elizabeth Gaster (Cambridgeshire SW) said: 'We are debating fundamental human rights. Unlike Omov, these are issues of real importance. Lesbians and gay men do not want concessions. They want equality.'

The show-of-hands vote does not commit the party to adopt the decision, but ranks as an expression of conference opinion. Tony Blair, shadow Home Secretary, opposes changing current policy, which treats the issue as a matter of conscience for individual MPs to be decided on a free vote.

Richard Rosser, for the National Executive Committee, said the committee backed equality, but the motion would be difficult to implement and should be remitted for further consideration.

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