Birmingham LGBT row: MP tells school protesters 'you're right'

Written by on June 8, 2019

The MP for a primary school facing demonstrations over LGBT equality teaching has been criticised by party colleagues after telling campaigners “you’re right”.

In a video circulated on social media, Roger Godsiff, MP for Birmingham Hall Green, also told protesters they had a “just cause”.

His remarks have led to calls for him to lose the Labour whip.

Mr Godsiff previously said the 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.”

He asks demonstrators to “consider calling the protest off” as he said they have made their point, but adds it would be their choice to do so.

‘Sick to stomach’

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

“Nothing more, nothing less. You’re right.”

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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</figure>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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Updates from the Cannock Chase Radio News Desk via BBC Birmingham and Black Country


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