Parents must have the right to withdraw their children from relationship education, a Catholic MP has said.

Sir Edward Leigh, the Conservative MP for Gainsborough, said that some would view new Government measures requiring relationship education to be taught to children as young as four as “a state takeover bid for parenting”.

Sir Edward has introduced an amendment to the Children and Social Work Bill to allow parents of children receiving either relationship education or sex and relationship education to withdraw their children from the class.

Parents already have an opt-out from sex education, but it is not clear if this will apply to relationship education.

The Government has implied that parents will have an opt-out, but this is not yet legally binding. Sir Edward said parents should be able to decide.

Last month, the Government announced plans to make sex and relationship education part of the national curriculum. Primary schools will teach only relationship education, but it is not clear what this term includes. The Government will hold a consultation before deciding.

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