Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham LGBT row: MP reported after backing school protest

Image caption Roger Godsiff previously admitted he had not read the books he said were not "age-appropriate"

The MP for a primary school facing protests over LGBT teaching has been reported to the chief whip after telling campaigners "you're right".

In a video circulated on social media, Birmingham Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff told the Anderton Park Primary School protesters they had a "just cause".

Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said she had reported the comments to the chief whip.

Mr Godsiff previously said the equality lessons were not "age appropriate".

A High Court injunction is in place banning protests, which have been going on for months, outside the school.

Parents started to gather at the gates over concerns children were "too young" to learn about LGBT relationships. They also said the lessons contradicted Islam.

In the video, Mr Godsiff, who is seen with Shakeel Afsar, the lead organiser of the protests, said: "If I had the opportunity of rolling the clock back I would do exactly the same thing again.

"Because I think you have a just cause and I regret the fact that it hasn't been reciprocated by the head teacher."

Hundreds of protesters
Image caption Hundreds of protesters gathered at Anderton Park Primary School last month

He asked demonstrators to "consider calling the protest off" as he said they had made their point, but added it would be their choice to do so.

He then said: "I will continue to try and fight your corner because you're right.

"Nothing more, nothing less. You're right."

'Discriminatory and irresponsible'

Ms Rayner said she has reported the comments to chief whip Nick Brown.

"This might be the personal views of Mr Roger Godsiff but they do not represent the Labour Party and are discriminatory and irresponsible," she added.

Shadow health secretary Jonathan Ashworth also said he disagreed with Mr Godsiff's comments.

"I'm not sure if he should lose the whip but I think he has to understand that it's Labour party policy to support this education in schools," he told Sky News' Sophy Ridge on Sunday.

Earlier, Wes Streeting, Labour MP for Ilford North, said he would be tabling a formal complaint to the party about Mr Godsiff.

In a series of tweets, he said: "This made me feel sick to my stomach.

"One of my own Labour colleagues stood with people who have peddled hatred and bigotry on school gates, intimidating pupils, teachers and parents."

At its annual general meeting, the LGBT Labour group voted to condemn "unreservedly and unequivocally" the remarks and called for the Labour whip to be removed.

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Media captionBirmingham LGBT row: Protest is 'homophobic' says mayor

The city council's deputy leader Brigid Jones also tweeted: "How dare you tell men whose homophobic protests were so threatening and disruptive that they had a court injunction issued against them that they are 'right'.

"You do not speak for me."

A petition calling on the constituency Labour Party to deselect Mr Godsiff following his latest comments has 1,000 signatures.

In an interview with the Times on Thursday, schools minister Nick Gibb said the DfE had been "engaging with the city council almost daily to help navigate a way to a resolution".

He said the protests were "wrong" in his view, and said he supported the council's decision to secure an injunction.

On Friday, Andy Street, the mayor of the West Midlands, said the protests were "homophobic" and must "stop now".

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