Is Labour MP Roger Godsiff right to back anti-LGBT lessons protests?
By Daniel J. McLaughlin
Anti-LGBT lessons protests have been taking place outside of schools in Birmingham for weeks.
Roger Godsiff has given his support to the protesting parents - the Birmingham Hall Green MP said they have a "just cause".
However, he is facing complaints from his colleagues - with his fellow Labour MPs reporting him to the party.
The Birmingham Hall Green MP has stepped into the LGBT lessons row once again, telling protesters that they have a "just cause" and that they are "right".
He was filmed meeting with protesters at Anderton Park Primary School in Birmingham, saying to the parents to consider calling off their protests, but said it was their choice.
Godsiff said: "I believe in telling it as I see it. I'm not somebody who just, you know, is a mouthpiece. I think I'm a fair minded person who will listen to all sides of the argument and then make a decision. I'll justify that and whether people agree or disagree, that's their right.
"That's what I did in this instance. If I had the opportunity to roll 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 has not been reciprocated by the headteacher.
"I will continue to try and work to bring this dispute to an end because all of you want your kids back in school."
The Labour MP told the protesters that they have made their point, but added that he was "not going to tell you whether you should or shouldn't protest".
He said: "I will continue to try and fight your corner because you're right. Nothing more, nothing less. You're right."
"I appreciate you taking the timely trouble to come along. I'm sorry the situation is where it is."
Godsiff's Labour colleagues are not impressed, with the MP being reported for his comments to the anti-LGBT lessons protesters, the Observer reports.
Shadow education secretary Angela Rayner said she had reported Godsiff to the party's chief whip, tweeting: “This might be the personal views of Mr Roger Godsiff but they do not represent the Labour Party, and are discriminatory and irresponsible."
Wes Streeting, the Labour MP for Ilford North, has also said he will be making a formal complaint to the party, as well as raising his conduct at the LGBT Labour annual general meeting.
He tweeted: "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. 800 young people in his city have called Childline - some suicidal. No return to Section 28!
"If he was a Tory MP, we’d be all over it. There must be no place for hatred and apologists for hatred in the Labour Party."
Streeting added: "We live in a diverse society where children are dropped off at school by two mums or two dads, have half brothers and stepsisters and friends of all faiths or none.
"Teaching children about different families is part and parcel of helping children to understand our world."
A petition calling for his constituency Labour party to deselect Godsiff has reached over 2,000 signatures (at the time of writing).
This is not the first time that Godsiff has stepped into the anti-LGBT lessons row.
The Birmingham Hall Green MP previously said that he had "concerns" about the appropriateness of the lessons, arguing that four- and five-year-olds are too young to learn about LGBT issues.
He said: "As a parent wrote, some are just out of nappies. I think it is more appropriate at age seven, or six.
"Of course if a child asks the teacher questions about someone with two mummies it's right for the teacher to respond, I would not want them to lie.
"If the child raises it they are being inquisitive, that's fine but I do question the appropriateness of the teaching of it [LGBT issues]."
The 72-year-old had also expressed concerns over the books used in lessons. They include 'My Chacha is Gay', which is about a Pakistani boy who has a gay uncle, and 'My Princess Boy', about a boy who likes to wear princess dresses.
However, he later admitted that he had not actually read the books, saying he has only seen the front cover.
The anti-LGBT lessons protests outside of Anderton Park Primary School have reached their ninth week.