Local Government Bill [H.L.]

Part of the debate – in the House of Lords at 8:31 pm on 6th December 1999.

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Photo of Baroness Knight of Collingtree Baroness Knight of Collingtree Conservative 8:31 pm, 6th December 1999

My Lords, I can claim to have been elected to local government even longer than the noble Lord, Lord Graham. I hope that it will not offend him or other noble Lords if I call him my noble friend Lord Graham. We have known each other a long time.

I am tempted, also, to stray to the main body of the Bill. However, at this hour I feel I must concentrate all of my time on Clause 68. I have a special interest in this matter. I must tell your Lordships that it was I who introduced and carried through Section 28 as a Private Member's Bill in the other place in 1987. I fought the Labour Party's blocking of it and reintroduced it as a clause in the Local Government Bill after this House approved the principle in yet another Bill.

I must warn all colleagues who have spoken tonight that in speaking in support of Section 28 they may well incur considerable wrath, as I did. I did not only incur verbal abuse for my pains but physical abuse too. On one occasion, opponents of Section 28 attacked me outside my constituency office and tried to turn my car over with me inside it. I was saved by the swift arrival of several police cars with sirens blaring.

Why did I bother to go on with it and run such a dangerous gauntlet? I was then Chairman of the Child and Family Protection Group. I was contacted by parents who strongly objected to their children at school being encouraged into homosexuality and being taught that a normal family with mummy and daddy was outdated. To add insult to their injury, they were infuriated that it was their money, paid over as council tax, which was being used for this. This all happened after pressure from the Gay Liberation Front. At that time I took the trouble to refer to their manifesto, which clearly stated:

"We fight for something more than reform. We must aim for the abolition of the family".

That was the motivation for what was going on, and was precisely what Section 28 stopped. I was absolutely amazed to hear the speech of the noble Lord, Lord Harris of Haringey, who, as I noted, stated that the Bill was introduced in the other place and joined to the Local Government Bill for something that was not happening. I was astounded to hear that. I wondered what sort of ivory tower he inhabited. Let us be kind and say, instead, that he was too busy working on his own committees to realise what was going on.

However, I would be surprised to learn that he did not see parents of children in his own local government constituency. Parents certainly came to me and told me what was going on. They gave me some of the books with which little children as young as five and six were being taught. There was The Playbook for Kids about Sex in which brightly coloured pictures of little stick men showed all about homosexuality and how it was done. That book was for children as young as five. I should be surprised if anybody supports that.

Another book called The Milkman's on his Way explicitly described homosexual intercourse and, indeed, glorified it, encouraging youngsters to believe that it was better than any other sexual way of life.