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Patricia Hewitt 'called for age of consent to be lowered to 10'

A civil rights group press release from 1976 with only the name of ex-Labour minister Patricia Hewitt on it called for the age of consent to be lowered to 10, The Sun claims. She has apologised for the organisation's links to paedophile campaigners.

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Hewitt 'called for age of consent to be lowered to 10'

An NCCL press release published in March 1976 with only Patricia Hewitt's name on it called for both the age of consent to be lowered to 10 and for incest to be legalised, according to The Sun (£).

The newspaper claims the document says: "NCCL proposes that the age of consent should be lowered to 14, with special provision for situations where the partners are close in age, or where consent of a child over ten can be proved."

Patricia Hewitt in 1974. Credit: PA/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Referring to an NCCL report on reforming sex laws, it reportedly says: "The report argues that the crime of incest should be abolished. It says, 'In our view, no benefit accrues to anyone by making incest a crime when committed between mutually consenting persons over the age of consent'."

The Sun also claimed to have seen minutes of an NCCL executive committee meeting in London in January 1976 which proposed reforms saying that a person under the age of 10 in a sexual relationship is incapable of giving consent.

But, the minutes said, if a sexual partner is over 10 and under 14, while there is a "rebuttable presumption" that no consent was given, a defendant "should have to prove that the child consented and understood the nature of the act to which consent was given".

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