Caroline Ansell has raised her fears around honest and open engagement over children questioning their gender in schools when she spoke at Prime Minister’s Questions this week.
Caroline has previously expressed reservations around teachers not informing parents their child has discussed their gender, how gender was taught and how parents who question schools’ policies were treated.
The MP told the House of Commons: “I made a promise to a grandad in my constituency, after he told me that he had not dared to speak up when his grandson came home saying, ‘Today, we were learning if we were in the wrong body'.
“Draft schools guidance to support gender-questioning children was published just before Christmas and is out to public consultation, but given that we have all seen many individuals very publicly cancelled - losing their jobs, reputation and relationships for simply supporting biological reality or championing fairness, women’s safety or child protection - how will honest and open engagement be managed through this very important and sensitive consultation process?”
In reply Rishi Sunak said: “I thank my honourable friend for her important question.
“She is right about the safety and wellbeing of children being paramount in our thoughts. That is at the heart of the guidance that we have published for consultation.
“Parents fundamentally must be involved in decisions about their children’s lives, and their involvement is a key part of the guidance.
“She is right that there is a consultation process. That is an opportunity for everyone to engage with the guidance. I also agree that those championing safety or talking about the importance of biological sex should absolutely have the freedom to express those views. She will see those views expressed in the guidance too.”
Speaking afterwards, Caroline urged everyone to take part in the consultation.
“This is a sensitive issue that requires clear but precise guidance and the ability for parents to be involved without fear. The guidance goes a very great way to allaying my concerns and the concerns of a great many people, not only in Eastbourne, but across the country when it comes to how the question of gender is addressed in schools
“However, the Prime Minister was right when he said everyone championing the importance of biological sex or safety of women and girls should be able to do so without censure. It is my intention to continue to do so in a respectful and sensitive way.”