‘We have the opportunity to get PSHE bill through’, says Labour MP Diane Abbott

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a white background.

Labour MP Diane Abbott says she hopes a bill to make Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education statutory can pass, following the remarks of Justice Minister Simon Hughes.

Speaking to PinkNews on Wednesday, Ms Abbott said PSHE was a “cross-party” issue and that sex and relationship education (SRE) “was not just about putting a condom on a banana”.

The Hackney MP continued: “It’s about teaching people about relationships, I think that is so important and I am glad the Lib Dems have come round to it”.

Liberal Democrat Justice Minister Simon Hughes has issued support for a Private Members’ Bill, tabled by Green MP Caroline Lucas, requiring the government to make PSHE a statutory requirement for schools.

Mr Hughes said he expected that Lib Dem MPs would vote in favour of the bill next month.

The bill will receive its second reading on Friday 24 October.

Diane Abbott told PinkNews.co.uk: “There is an opportunity to get this through and I hope the Liberal Democrats are as good as their word.”

The former shadow public health minister said: “Better education about sex and relationships is vital, not just for LGBT youngsters but for all youngsters.”

In July, Labour leader Ed Miliband told PinkNews at a Labour Party business reception that he hoped all MPs would support Caroline Lucas’ bill.

Education Secretary and Minister for Women and Equalities Nicky Morgan has hinted that she could be moving towards supporting statutory PSHE.

Diane Abbott spoke to PinkNews yesterday at a parliamentary event on the subject of LGBT rights in Jamaica.

She warned that Jamaica must reduce its overall violent crime rate in order to create an environment for LGBT rights.

Members of London’s Jamaican community took part in the discussion.

Some of those present expressed negative views towards LGBT people. Two women complained of gay people “trying to ram it down people’s throats”, but the debate was generally one of engagement and a desire to tackle homophobic and transphobic violence.

Ms Abbott told PinkNews.co.uk: “I’m glad people came who had different views, but at least they were prepared to sit down around a table and debate with other people.

“They were also some very touching personal stories. Whether it’s people talking about their own lives, or young relatives that have been subjected to harassment, and I hope that some of the people that came with set views will go away and think about what they have heard.”