§ Mr. Ashton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department which European Union countries have 347W higher age limits for mutual consent for homosexual acts in situations where the older person is in a position of authority, influence or trust. 
§ Mr. Michael
No European Union country makes specific provision for a higher age of consent for homosexual acts involving persons in positions of authority, influence or trust. Although it is difficult to make direct comparisons between countries with different legal systems, the following countries have special provision to deal with circumstances where one of the participants is older than the other:
AustriaThe age of consent for sexual acts is 14. However, it is illegal for a male over 19 to commit homosexual acts with a male between 14 and 18.
BelgiumThe age of consent for sexual acts is 16. Heavier penalties are available for those who abuse a position of authority.
ItalyThe age of consent for sexual acts is 14. However, if one of the participants is an older family member or guardian, the age of consent is raised to 16.
NetherlandsThe age of consent for sexual acts is 16, but a person between the ages of 12 and 16 who commits a sexual act with another person between those ages, cannot be prosecuted unless there is a complaint from the other participant, a parent or guardian. A person over 16 who commits a sexual act with a person under 16 is liable to prosecution regardless of whether a complaint has been made.
PortugalThe age of consent for sexual acts is 16. However, it is illegal for a person of 18 or over to commit sexual acts with a person under 18.
SpainThere is no statutory age of consent. In general, consensual sexual relations are not penalised from the age of 12, although a person aged over 16 who has sex with a person between 12 and 16 may be liable to prosecution.
§ Mr. Ashton
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department if he proposes to introduce changes in the age of mutual consent for homosexual acts in the next Criminal Justice Bill. 
Number of males aged 21 and over prosecuted for certain sexual offences by type of offence 1979–1995 England and Wales Offence description 1979 1980 1981 1982 1983 1984 1985 Sexual Offences Act 1956 Section 12 as amended by the Sexual Offences Act Section 3(1) Buggery with a boy under 16 or with a woman or an animal 119 178 167 119 167 142 155 Buggery by a man with a male of the age of 16 or over without consent 20 25 12 14 11 15 19 Buggery by a man with another male under the age of 21 with consent 22 20 17 12 19 12 19 Attempt to commit buggery with a boy under 16 or with a woman or an animal 15 6 8 5 8 11 13 Attempt by a man to commit buggery with a male of the age of 16 or over without consent — 2 3 3 — 1 1 Attempt by a man to commit buggery with another male under the age of 21 with consent 4 1 2 — 1 — — Sexual Offences Act 1956 Section 12 as amended by the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994 Section 143 Buggery by a male of a male under 16 1— 1— 1— 1— 1— 1— 1— Buggery by a male with a male aged 16 or 17 1— 1— 1— 1— 1— 1— 1— Sexual Offences Act 1956 Section 15 Indecent assault on male under 16 449 431 429 463 450 442 475
§ Mr. Michael
The Crime and Disorder Bill is intended to deliver our manifesto commitments on tackling youth crime, disorder and sentencing. The Government have long held the view that setting the age of consent for consensual homosexual acts is a matter for Parliament to decide, and that it should be the subject of a free vote at a suitable opportunity. It seems unlikely that the scope of the Crime and Disorder Bill will be wide enough to provide that opportunity.