Thatcher’s Health Minister: Section 28 was a mistake and I apologise

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

The former Tory Health Minister has apologised for the Section 28 ban on the “promotion” of homosexuality in schools.

Lord Fowler, a former Conservative Party Chairman and long-serving member of the Thatcher Cabinet, made the comments in an interview with the Evening Standard.

He said of the law, which was finally repealed in 2003: “We have come a long way. It was a great mistake and I think it’s now recognised as a great mistake and I would apologise for it. It was totally misjudged.”

Lord Fowler recently backed statutory Personal, Social, Health and Economic (PSHE) Education, in a bid to safeguard the health and wellbeing of young people.

He told PinkNews: “I think it’s just what we should be doing in a modern society. The more knowledge people have the better it is for them.”

This week Lord Fowler also signed an open letter from LGBT groups and campaigners, calling for statuatory PSHE.

It is backed by figures including Peter Tatchell, PinkNews, Dr Christian Jessen, LGBTI and sexual health charities and NGOs, among others.

Cliff Joannou, editor of QX magazine, who devised the campaign, says: “It’s shocking that in the 21st century schools are still not required to give children and teenagers the education they need to make informed decisions about their sexual health and relationships.”

Lord Fowler also revealed that Margaret Thatcher warned him of his role in raising HIV awareness: “You mustn’t become known just as the minister for AIDS”.

The Scottish Nationalist Party recently accepted a £1 million donation from Stagecoach boss Sir Brian Souter – who funded a campaign to keep Section 28.

The transport magnate funded an unsuccessful Keep the Clause campaign in 2000 to maintain the anti-gay law, which banned the “promotion of homosexuality” and the teaching of the “acceptability of homosexuality” in schools.