Equalities minister Liz Truss has promised to bring forward a ban on conversion therapy “shortly” following a string of resignations from the government’s LGBT+ Advisory Panel.
The UK government has faced stinging criticism from the LGBT+ community over the last week as campaigners demanded to know when legislation banning conversion therapy would be brought forward. Almost three years have passed since the government first pledged to ban the pseudoscientific practice in its 2018 LGBT Action Plan.
Truss has finally promised to bring forward legislation outlawing the practise in the near future following the explosive resignations of Jayne Ozanne, James Morton and Ellen Murray from the government’s advisory panel.
According to ITV’s Paul Brand, Truss promised on Friday (March 12) that the government will “bring forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practise”.
There is cautious optimism among LGBT+ activists and politicians following Truss’ comments. Joe Porter, a councillor and vice-chair of LGBT Conservatives, said he was “delighted” that the equalities minister had committed to a ban.
“An outright ban is vital to end conversion therapy for good,” he tweeted.
Liz Truss’ promise to ban conversion therapy hailed as ‘fantastic news’
The campaign group End Conversion Therapy Scotland hailed the announcement as “fantastic news”, but said activists must remain “cautious against any attempt to delay this again”.
LGBT+ activists and politicians across multiple political parties were left stunned on Monday night when Kemi Badenoch, under-secretary of state for equalities, gave a “vague” update on the government’s plans to tackle conversion therapy.
After 20 MPs from across party lines spoke on the need for a urgent ban, Badenoch gave an update from the government which failed to give any timeline on when legislation would be brought forward.
She also alluded to a potential exemption for religious groups and appeared to suggest that the government might look to Germany – which has banned conversion therapy for minors only – when drafting legislation. Concerns were raised over her refusal to use the word “ban”, sparking fears attempts to combat conversion therapy would eschew legislation.
Badenoch was condemned by Conservative MP Crispin Blunt, who said her speech was “out of step with everybody else”, while Labour MP Charlotte Nichols said her comments were “vague”.
LGBT+ campaigner Peter Tatchell called for her to resign following her speech, saying she is “not fit for purpose”. He accused Badenoch of failing to deliver “long-standing government promises to ban LGBT+ conversion therapy”.
PinkNews has contacted the government equalities office for comment.