The Telegraph 2024-05-15 10:00:36

Live Reform rules out Tory deal after Rees-Mogg urges Sunak to join forces

Richard Tice insisted “there will be no deals with the Tories” at the general election after Sir Jacob Rees-Mogg urged Rishi Sunak to offer an olive branch to Reform UK. 

Sir Jacob, the former Cabinet minister, said Mr Sunak should offer Mr Tice and Nigel Farage the chance to be Tory candidates in order to boost the Conservatives’ hopes of victory. 

But Mr Tice today repeated his promise that his party will not strike an election pact with the Tories. 

He told The Telegraph: “There will be no deals with the Tories. They are using our policy platform as a sort of crib sheet for what they think they should support on gender ID, solar farms, immigration and so on. 

“But we know it’s just electioneering. 14 years of failure, of zero delivery, shows they cannot be believed. We are not that stupid nor are voters. Nobody is listening to the untrustworthy Tories who say one thing and do another.”

Tory sources said they “unequivocally” ruled out Reform figures being offered the chance to stand as Conservative candidates. 

You can follow the latest updates below and join the conversation in the comments section here.  

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Schools must not teach gender ideology under new government sex education plans

Schools must not teach contested gender ideology, under new government sex education plans set to be announced.

Gillian Keegan, the Education Secretary, will also announce that once sex education starts, pupils must be taught about the reality of biological sex.

The guidance, set to be announced this week, means schools will no longer be allowed to teach contested ideas such as that there are 72 different genders, and children under nine won’t be given sex education.

Guidance will say gender ideology, which states that people can be born the wrong sex and that they can change their identity to the opposite sex or other categories such as “non-binary”, is a “contested subject that should not be taught”, it is believed.

Rishi Sunak ordered the review into relationships, sex and health education lessons last year in response to claims that content was age-inappropriate, extreme and sexualising.

Ms Keegan will propose that schools be banned from delivering sex education of any type before Year 5, when children are nine years old, under the guidance to be published as soon as Thursday.

It will also state that when sex education begins it must be based on “scientific” fact rather than gender ideology. It says that older children should also be taught about the dangers of stalking.

The plans have been circulated around Cabinet ministers and there could still be changes before they are published.

A Whitehall source said the details were still being finalised and that the Government wanted to ensure that children know enough to be safe.

The source said the guidance would be specific on what should be taught in sex education, and what should not, up to the age of 13.

Teachers must point out that there are two sexes

The new guidance states that teachers must point out that there are two biological sexes.

The guidance – which will be out for consultation – will also order schools to show parents all classroom material to ensure they are comfortable with what is being taught.

The Prime Minister ordered the review following claims that children were being taught about oral sex and how to choke their partners safely.

Helen Joyce, director of advocacy at women’s rights charity Sex Matters, said: “Commentary suggests that this guidance will require schools to stop presenting gender ideology as fact and to stop hiding PSHE [Personal, social, health and economic education] lessons from parents. If true, these are both excellent developments.

“What Sex Matters wants to see is that schools are told in no uncertain terms to stop giving any credence to evidence-free claims that everyone has a gender identity, or that sex is a spectrum or can be changed.

“These claims are not just nonsense, they are regressive and sexist. They mislead and endanger children, and are a big reason why gender distress has become much more common in recent years.”

Last year, on a trip to Hiroshima, Mr Sunak said that for the sake of his own children, he wanted to protect Britain’s “precious” pupils by ensuring they only received age-appropriate content in schools.

“First and foremost as a parent… it’s really important that what our kids are exposed to, not just at school but online, is sensitive and age appropriate,” he said.

“There have been plenty of concerns raised with me. There are too many instances of that not happening. I don’t think that’s right.

“Families up and down the country are concerned about what their children are seeing online and they expect me and the Government to put in place protections for that. That’s what we are going to do.”

He added: “It’s something that really matters to me… What I want is a curriculum that is sensitive and age appropriate. Our children are precious; they deserve to be protected, sensitively. That’s what I want as a parent first and foremost.”

Tory MP Miriam Cates said: “I welcome any effective measures to prevent gender ideology being taught to children in schools.

“No child should be led to believe that there are more than two genders or that people can change their gender – it is not only untrue but deeply confusing for children and a breach of the trust that parents place in children in school.

“Sex education should be based on facts about puberty, reproduction and the law, not on contested ideas or attempts [to] indoctrinate children with obscure academic theories.”

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