UK Politics

Confusion over UKIP policy on sex education

Nigel Farage (stock photo) Image copyright Getty Images

UKIP leader Nigel Farage has had to clarify his party's policy on sex education in schools after he appeared to make a U-turn during a live debate.

Mr Farage told an audience of young people that children under 11 should get sex and relationship education.

UKIP's deputy leader and education spokesman Paul Nuttall had previously said it should be axed for this group.

Mr Farage said he had "never advocated that" but later admitted that what Mr Nuttall said was party policy.

His comments came during a Leaders Live event organised by voter engagement group Bite The Ballot, and streamed live by YouTube and ITV News.

Policy clarification

Asked about his position on banning sex education for under 11s, Mr Farage said: "I've never advocated that policy. If somebody in UKIP in the past did, well, so be it, but I think that people need to have a rounded education and sex education is part of that."

The questioner pointed out that the commitment to scrapping it was on the party's website, to which Mr Farage replied: "I know there was a debate about sex education for four-year-olds, and whether that was appropriate but I don't think the age 11 was ever mentioned."

UKIP's website states that its policy is to: "Scrap sex and relationship education for children under the age of 11."

Mr Nuttall also told the party conference in Doncaster this autumn that "UKIP is committed to the scrapping of sex and relationship education for children under the age of 11".

Mr Farage later tweeted: "Sorry, I missed the beginning of Mr Nuttall's conference speech. He did indeed lay out policy on sex education" - with a link to the conference speech.

Confusion

It comes after confusion, or disagreement, between Mr Farage and others in his party over various policies.

Mr Farage disowned an idea from the party's economy spokesman Patrick O'Flynn to impose a tax on high price items like shoes, which quickly became known as the "handbag tax".

The day before the Rochester and Strood by-election he was involved in a disagreement with his party's candidate - and now newest UKIP MP - Mark Reckless, who was criticised after implying that migrants might have to leave the country after a "transitional period" if the UK left the EU.

Mr Reckless suggested that they may have to apply for work permits and could face having to return to their home country.

But the party leader said no-one who came here legally before the UK left the union would face being forced to leave.

Mr Farage said Mr Reckless had been referring to the negotiations that would take place during a "transitional period" between a hypothetical vote to leave the EU and the actual moment of withdrawal.

He added: "Anyone who has legally entered the country has a right to remain. We do not believe in retrospective legislation."

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