This week several newspapers have reported that the long awaited parliamentary vote on an equal age of consent for heterosexual and homosexual sex at 16 will be delayed until next year, supposedly in return for a wider package of reform.
The Equality Alliance (comprising over 100 organisations) condemns any suggestion to postpone a decision on the age of consent vote. Whilst we welcome any reform this should never be at the expense of postponing the promised vote on the age of consent.
This development is surprising given that at the time of the last parliamentary vote in February 1994, Tony Blair, then Shadow Home Secretary, was particularly vocal in supporting an equal age of consent.
Ian Farmer, Coordinator for the Equality Alliance, said "This apparent turn-about is totally unacceptable. Only a few weeks ago Labour said that equality should be achieved through legislation not litigation.
"Now it seems that once again the Labour Government has dropped its pledge to end discrimination through legislation.
"The Crime and Disorder Bill offers the government ample opportunity to fulfil their pre election promises to end discrimination. Human rights and justice should not be delayed any further.
"If this rumour is accurate we will be forced to question how much longer we can trust this Labour Government."URL: http://www.RoseCottage.me.uk/EqualityAlliance-archives/pr980419AoC.html