HOMOSEXUAL AGE OF CONSENT – 22 June 1998

Dr Julian Lewis: I very much admire my hon. Friend's [Eleanor Laing's] courage in taking this unpopular stance with which I disagree. Having listened very carefully to everything that she has said, it seems that the argument that she is deploying is an argument against ages of consent in general. The purpose of an age of consent is not to criminalise the children who have sex when they have not reached that age of consent; it is to protect the children below that age by criminalising the adults who have sex with them. Does she not recognise that the history of the age of consent for heterosexual sex has been that as society has evolved and become more civilised, the age [of consent] has risen?