HC Deb 14 November 1996 vol 285 c343W
18. Mr. Michael Brown

To ask the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland what is the Government's policy regarding the reduction of Northern Ireland's heterosexual age of consent to the age of consent applying in mainland Britain. [2531]

Sir John Wheeler

The age of consent for women in Northern Ireland is 17 years—one year older than in Great Britain. The age of consent was 16 years until 1950 when, following the recommendation of an independent report, the Government of Northern Ireland raised it to 17 years.

I am aware of no significant body of opinion in Northern Ireland arguing for the reduction of the age of consent to 16 years.

Issues such as the age of consent are essentially matters of conscience and are best dealt with on the initiative of private Members.