Ed Miliband: Gay people were left ‘stigmatised’ by Margaret Thatcher’s Section 28

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Ed Miliband has joined his political rivals in paying tribute to Margaret Thatcher in the Commons this afternoon, but says her support for Section 28 caused gay people to be “stigmatised”.

Thatcher, 87, died of a stroke on Monday. In his speech the Labour leader praised much of the former Conservative prime minister’s privatisation reforms, her strength in leadership, and decision to recapture the Falkland Islands in 1982.

However, he then turned his attention to areas of personal disagreement.

“But it would be dishonest and not in keeping with the principles that Margaret Thatcher stood for, even on this day, not to be open with this House about the strong opinions and the deep divisions there were, and are, over what she did.”

Mr Miliband said: “In mining areas, like the one I represent, communities felt angry and abandoned.

“Gay and lesbian people felt stigmatised by measures like Section 28, which today’s Conservative Party has rightly repudiated.”

Section 28 stated that a local authority “shall not intentionally promote homosexuality or publish material with the intention of promoting homosexuality” and that schools “could not promote of the acceptability of homosexuality as a pretended family relationship”.

It was introduced during the AIDS epidemic as part of the Local Government Act in 1988.

Section 28 was later repealed under Tony Blair’s Labour government and the current Conservative Prime Minister, David Cameron, apologised for the policy in 2009.

According to a YouGov poll released today, 6% of British people surveyed believe Section 28 was Margaret Thatcher’s biggest failure.