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Labour MP left red-faced over sex ed complaint (from www.christian.org.uk)

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A Labour MP has been left embarrassed after her assistant accidentally issued an email making fun of parents’ concerns about a controversial sex education film.

Chris and Pauline Power began campaigning against the “cartoon porn” video, entitled Living and Growing, after seeing a preview of it at their son’s junior school.

The video, which is produced by Channel 4, shows a cartoon couple chasing each other around a bed before having sex in various positions.

Belittled

However, when Mr Power contacted his local MP Alison McGovern about the video he didn’t expect his concerns to be belittled.

After four weeks of silence Mr Power received an accidental email from one of Miss McGovern’s staff.

The email, sent by a Labour Party worker known as Jay, said: “Alison, think we need to get a response out to this gentleman. Know it’s an awfully uncomfortable discussion to have, but think we need to get a position (stop giggling at the back) sooner than later.”

Juvenile

Mr Power has expressed dismay over the juvenile response.

He said: “We have tried our best to protest against the important issue of sex education in schools and have contacted Ms McGovern on many occasions over the last four weeks.

“I hadn’t received anything back until today and even then it was an email I wasn’t supposed to see.

Serious

“There is a time and a place for joking around, but this is a serious issue and what message does it send out when those who are supposed to represent us have such a disregard for the opinions of electors.

“It is a sad comment on our society that this is how an MP treats her constituents.”

Miss McGovern, who described the email as “puerile”, indicated that the staff member may be disciplined.

Speaking

She said: “Although it was clearly sent by mistake, I will be looking at the situation and speaking with him personally.

“I have tried to get in touch with Mr Power to send my personal apologies.”

The staff member has also offered his apologies.

Earlier this year angry mums blasted a primary school’s plan to show pupils the Living and Growing video.

Outraged

Cliff Lane Primary School in Suffolk was planning to show the video to seven-year-old pupils, but outraged mums were left horrified after they saw the graphic DVD during a consultation.

Kara Munday, whose five-year-old daughter attends the school, said: “We are genuinely concerned that sexual activity would take place because they would be aware of what these parts do and how to make it feel nice”.

She added: “Their innocence will be taken away at an early age.”

Her concerns were echoed by Emma O’Brien, whose seven-year-old son attends the school, who said: “There are some body parts kids don’t need to know yet. They shouldn’t be taught that.”

Don’t tell children right from wrong, parents told by government

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The Government has told parents to discuss sex with their children without “trying to convince them” of what is right and wrong. Should the Government tell parents not to pass on values? The Christian Institute’s Simon Calvert discusses the issue on BBC Three Counties Radio. The advice comes in a new booklet, called Talking to your Teenager about Sex and Relationships, which is to be made available at pharmacies nationwide.

It has prompted criticism from family campaigners who say it is “outrageous” for the Government to tell parents not to give children clear moral guidance on sexual relationships. Although the Government says it is keen for parents to discuss sex with their children, it recently emerged that parents’ views were ignored during consultations on making sex education compulsory in primary and secondary schools. The new booklet tells parents: “Under the NHS, contraception and condoms are free and there are lots of safe and effective methods that are suitable for young people – encourage your teenager to visit their local clinic or GP so they can make a choice that’s right for them. “Why not offer to go with your daughter or encourage them to take a friend to support them? “Or, if you have a teenage son, suggest he talks to his girlfriend about it and visits a clinic with her.” It cautions: “Discussing your values with your teenagers will help them to form their own. “Remember though, that trying to convince them of what’s right and wrong may discourage them from being open.”

Children’s minister Beverley Hughes said the Government “doesn’t bring up children” but “does have a role to play in supporting parents and giving them access to advice and information”. But Simon Calvert of the Christian Institute said: “The idea that the Government is telling families not to pass on their values is outrageous. “Preserving children’s innocence is a worthy goal. We would like to see more of that kind of language rather than this amoral approach where parents are encouraged to present their children with a smorgasbord of sexual activities and leave them to make up their own minds.”

Author and researcher Patricia Morgan, who is completing a book on teenage pregnancy, said: “All the evidence from the United States is that if parents say they disapprove of underage sex, the teenagers are less likely to do it. “If parents talk about underage sex and do not disapprove of it, the children go on to do it. It is pretty basic stuff,” she added. “Parents are not allowed to know if their child is being given contraception or getting an abortion. But they are being told to teach their children about sex in a manner dictated by the State.”

Meanwhile FPA (formerly the Family Planning Association) has been given £530,000 by the Government to train parents in how to teach their children about sex. FPA is the group behind “Let’s grow with Nisha and Joe”, a comic-style sex education booklet for six-year-olds. The group was one of the most vocal proponents of the programme of compulsory in-depth sex education which the Government intends to introduce for school children as young as five.

FPA was criticised last year for promoting a video to schools along with a leaflet telling teenage girls as young as 14 that warnings about the negative consequences of abortion are just ‘myths’. “Women may feel relieved, have mixed feelings or feel sad. Only a few women experience long-term psychological problems and those women who do often had similar problems before pregnancy,” it read. But earlier that year the Royal College of Psychiatrists (RCP) warned that having an abortion can damage a woman’s mental health. The RCP said women should be warned of the risks before proceeding.

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