A growing number of Tories are calling for statutory sex education

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Former Conservative Party Vice-Chairman Michael Fabricant has become the latest Tory to back calls for statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education.

The Lichfield MP told PinkNews.co.uk: “It’s about time that PSHE was included in the school curriculum”.

He said: “Sex education should include lessons on mutual respect, love, and non-violence between partners as well as understanding about how to prevent unwanted pregnancies and how to avoid the plethora of sexually transmitted diseases which are on the increase.”

Mr Fabricant’s remarks came after Conservative MP Dr Sarah Wollaston, Chair of the Health Select Committee, expressed her support for statutory PSHE.

She told PinkNews.co.uk: “I did vote for the amendment last year on the Children and Families Bill which, if it had passed, would have meant that parents would no longer have the right to remove their children from these classes.

“I agree with Lord Fowler in urging the Conservative Party to back statutory Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHE),” Dr Wollaston added.

Last week, Lord Fowler, a former Conservative Party Chairman and long-serving member of the Thatcher Cabinet, told PinkNews it was time for his party to support PSHE.

“I think it’s just what we should be doing in a modern society,” said the peer, who served as Health Secretary from 1981 to 1987. “The more knowledge people have the better it is for them”.

“The opinion polls show that the parents are desperately in favour of this,” Lord Fowler said of statutory PSHE. “I mean it’s all very well saying ‘we should leave it to the parents’ – we know very well if we leave it to the parents it just won’t be done at all.”

Mr Fabricant added: “This call is timely. ‘Sex education’ should begin with an ‘R’ and be added to the ‘3 Rs’ as an essential part of school education.”

On Tuesday, in a major policy shift, the Liberal Democrats announced they would make PSHE compulsory in all state-funded schools, as part of a manifesto pledge.

The leadership of the Conservative Party and the Liberal Democrats whipped their parliamentarians to vote against statutory PSHE last year.

Labour gave a lukewarm response to today’s Lib Dem announcement.

Seema Malhotra, Shadow Minister for Preventing Violence Against Women and Girls, said: “Time and again the Lib Dems say one thing and do another.

“If Lib Dem MPs had backed Labour’s legislative amendments, this would already be a reality for our young people. We have campaigned for this for years and they have repeatedly voted against it.”

Earlier, the Department for Education reiterated its opposition to statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education.

It said SRE was already “compulsory” in all maintained schools.

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