LGBT+groups from eight parties call for legislation to ban conversion therapy

Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent
·2-min read

LGBT+ groups from eight political parties have called on the Government to introduce a legislative ban on conversion therapy.

They have written to the Government Equalities Office after what they describe as a “disappointingly weak” response from Equalities Minister Kemi Badenoch during a recent petitions committee debate.

The groups, which include LGBT+ Conservatives, LGBT+ Labour, and LGBT+ Liberal Democrats, say the minister “pointedly avoided” using the word ban, instead saying end, and did not refer to gender identity or expression.

They also say they understand there has been little ministerial engagement with survivors of conversion therapy.

In the letter to Women and Equalities Minister Liz Truss they write: “Without a legislative ban, the Government cannot end conversion therapy. The longer we wait, the weaker the words and intentions sound.

“You pledged to be the Government that banned conversion therapy. Now is the time to prove it.”

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Ms Truss said on Friday that the Government will “shortly” bring forward plans to ban conversion therapy.

During a visit to Scotland, she told reporters that “we will shortly be bringing forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practice”.

Boris Johnson has said ending conversion therapy is “technically complex” but insisted ministers will “stamp it out”.

The Prime Minister’s official spokesman told a Westminster briefing last week that the Government would continue to consider all legislative and non-legislative options.

The letter follows the resignation of three of the Government’s LGBT advisers last week.

Jayne Ozanne resigned from the LGBT advisory panel and accused Ms Truss and Ms Badenoch of vilifying the trans community.

She was followed by James Morton, who had reportedly been “very concerned for several months” that Ms Truss and her junior ministers were “not committed to LGBT equality”.

Ellen Murray became the third person to quit the panel – writing on Twitter that she decided to leave “due to the Government’s persistent and worsening hostility towards our community in myriad areas”.

Ms Ozanne called the letter an “extraordinary act of unity” and said she hoped both ministers were listening to the cross-party call for legislation.

A group of nearly 20 LGBT+ organisations has also written to Ms Badenoch to express their “deep concern” at her response to calls to ban conversion therapy.

Signatories to the letter – coordinated by Ms Ozanne and including the organisation Stonewall – accused the minister of inaction after the Conservative Party’s pledge in 2018 to eradicate the controversial therapy.

They said they “fail to understand why – after nearly 1,000 days – coming forward with meaningful legislation is taking so much time”.