Labour MP proposes bill to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy

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Labour MP Geraint Davies has proposed a bill aimed at banning gay conversion therapy, describing it as an “awful practice”.

The Member for Swansea West hopes his Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill will mean therapists attempting to provide the discredited medical treatment can be banned from practicing.

The move has cross-party backing with MPs from Labour, the Conservatives, Liberal Democrats and Plaid Cymru all co-sponsoring the bill.

Mr Davies said: “This year a million Britons will seek psychotherapy, but currently anyone can set themselves up as a psychotherapist with no training or recourse for the patient when something goes wrong.

“This gives a free rein to those offering bogus treatments like conversion therapy. It’s a scandal that someone can offer this discredited, so-called treatment and still call themselves a professional therapist.

“The only way to stop this awful practice is to make regulation compulsory and to strike off anyone attempting to “cure” a person’s sexual orientation.”

In June, Mr Davies wrote to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt urging for him to consider a complete ban.

Earlier this year, 51 MPs signed an Early Day Motion against gay conversion therapy to ensure that “NHS medical professionals cannot inflict this cruel treatment on their patients”.

A 2010 report by Professor Michael King of University College London found that one in six UK psychiatrists had sought to reduce or change a patient’s sexual orientation.

In September 2012, Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb stated that the government had “no plans to introduce statutory regulation for psychotherapists”.

Lesley Pilkington, the Christian psychotherapist who was found to be providing gay conversion therapy, was struck off by the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP) in the same month.

She was initially found guilty of malpractice by the BACP in July 2011, following an undercover investigation by the journalist Patrick Strudwick, but had subsequently appealed the decision.