Birmingham & Black Country

Birmingham LGBT row: Labour whip to meet MP over school protest support

Image copyright UK Parliament
Image caption Mr Godsiff told protesters they had "just cause"

A Labour MP will be spoken to by the party's chief whip about his support for protesters opposed to LGBT teaching at a primary school.

Birmingham Hall Green MP Roger Godsiff told the Anderton Park Primary School campaigners "you're right".

His comments were reported to Labour's chief whip Nick Brown by shadow education secretary Angela Rayner.

A party spokesman said Mr Godsiff will be "reminded of his responsibilities as an MP".

In a 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."

He asked demonstrators to "consider calling the protest off" 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."

Shakeel Afsar Image copyright PA
Image caption Shakeel Afsar has coordinated the protests outside Anderton Park

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

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.

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

Ms Rayner described the MP's views as "discriminatory and irresponsible", while 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.

The LGBT Labour group has called for party veteran Mr Godsiff to lose the Labour whip.

A Labour spokesman said the party "has long supported and campaigned for LGBT-inclusive education".

He added: "There is not only a moral imperative, there is also a legal requirement and schools must comply with the Equalities Act. There is no justifiable reason to stop the teaching of these issues.

"Roger Godsiff will be spoken to by the chief whip and reminded of his responsibilities as an MP."

Education Secretary Damian Hinds has previously called for the "unacceptable" demonstrations to end.

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