I believe that LGBT conversion therapies should have been banned a long time ago.

Conversion therapies are exploitative and damaging, and LGBT people have the right to live in safety and dignity.

On 29 October 2021, the Government launched its long-awaited consultation on proposals to ban conversion therapy, having first pledged to end conversion therapy in 2018. The consultation closed on 4 February 2022, and the Government says that it is in the process of analysing the responses received and preparing legislation for spring. I hope that this legislation is forthcoming, without any further delays.

I am very concerned that it has already taken more than three years to get to this point, and unfortunately the proposals are far from comprehensive. Loopholes appear to leave the door open for people to ‘consent’ to conversion therapy on religious grounds. This is unacceptable. Liz Truss, the Minister for Women and Equalities, has repeatedly called conversion therapy “coercive and abusive”, you cannot ‘consent’ to that.

Also, there is a broad consensus from faith leaders across the diversity of faith communities in the UK that conversion therapy is abuse and, in December 2020, a significant cross-faith conference of leaders supported a ban on conversion therapy.

I was also deeply concerned to read reports that the Government had dropped the ban completely, with leaked documents saying: “the PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation to ban LGBT conversion therapy.”

Thankfully, the Government has since u-turned on this decision as a result of public backlash. However, reporters are now being told that the ban will exclude trans people.

This makes no sense on a logical or moral basis. As I mentioned earlier, the Government has repeatedly called conversion therapy “coercive and abusive”. Why is it acceptable to coerce and abuse trans people, but not other LGBT people?

It is clear that this is part of the Conservative Party’s manufactured ‘culture wars’ to scapegoat vulnerable groups and distract people from the economic misery that they are presiding over.

I can assure you that my Opposition Colleagues and I will continue to support a ban on conversion therapy for all LGBT people and the removal of ‘consent’ loopholes. We agree with the Government of four years ago, we must end this coercive and abusive practice.

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