Cameron sorry for Section 28

Thursday 02 July 2009 00:00 BST

The Conservative leader, David Cameron, has apologised for an infamous law introduced by his party that outlawed the promotion of homosexuality in Britain's schools.

Mr Cameron described Section 28, introduced in the late 1980s by the government of Margaret Thatcher, as "offensive to gay people".

"We may have sometimes been slow, and yes we may have made mistakes, including Section 28, but the change has happened," he said at a fund-raiser for the Gay Pride event this month. He admitted that he did not have a perfect record in voting for gay rights, but added that his party as a whole was now united over the issue after years of infighting over the clause.

"If five years ago we had a Conservative and Gay Pride party, I don't think many gay people would have come or many Conservatives would have come," he said. "In wanting to make the party representative of the country, I think we have made some real progress."

Mr Cameron also boasted that he hoped his party would give Britain its first gay prime minister. "The Conservatives had the first woman prime minister, and we are bound to have the first black prime minister and the first gay prime minister," he said.

No one was ever prosecuted under the legislation, which prohibited the "promotion" of homosexuality as a normal family unit in schools. However, it proved to be a divisive issue in the Tory party for many years after its introduction. It was repealed across Britain in 2003 after resistance in the House of Lords.

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