Unionist MPs have helped to swing a vote in favour of teaching teenage girls the benefits of sexual abstinence.
Controversial Conservative Nadine Dorries, who was branded a “home-wrecker” earlier this year for having an affair with her friend’s husband, is attempting to bring in laws that mean schoolgirls are told “how to say no”.
Her Bill squeezed through the first stage by just six votes this week after she appealed to MPs by telling them society was “saturated in sex”.
Ms Dorries blamed high teenage pregnancy rates on television references to sex, newsagents stocking porn magazines and high street stores such as Primark selling padded bikinis for seven-year-old girls.
The Ten-Minute Rule Bill called for schools to give girls aged 13 to 16 extra sex education, including instruction on abstinence.
DUP MPs Jim Shannon, William McCrea and Ian Paisley jnr all backed the plan.
Mr Shannon, MP for Strangford, said: “All we are doing is saying that people should have a bit more education.
“It is about saying you don’t have to indulge in sexual activity, you can say no.
“I do believe there is a bit of a problem with peer pressure. I am nobody’s judge, but let us make sure that everybody aged 13 to 16 has all the facts and figures, and one of those facts is that you can say no.”
But Labour's Chris Bryant, who has investigated Britain's high rate of teenage pregnancies, branded Ms Dorries' Bill “the daftest piece of legislation I have seen”.
He said: “I am a gay man so I'm not exactly an expert on heterosexual sex, nor on sex with girls.
“This is not the way to solve any of those problems — for a start, it's just about girls.
“I've said I'm not an expert, but it seems to me that if one of the things you want to tackle is teenage pregnancy, you've got to talk to the boys and the girls.” He said there was no evidence teaching abstinence would lead to fewer pregnancies or sexual diseases.
Mr Bryant added: “I've never understood why putting a condom on a banana or a cucumber is of any use to anybody.”
The Bill will receive its second reading in January, but it will need Government support to stand a chance of becoming law.