UK Parliament to debate gay ‘cure’ therapies next week

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A Westminster Hall Debate in the House of Commons on gay conversion therapy will take place on Wednesday 20 November, it has been announced.

The debate, moved by Labour MP Sandra Osborne, will include an official response from the government.

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

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

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.

Whilst professionals in the NHS and other areas have to register to legally-recognised professional bodies, such as the Health and Care Professions Council (HCPC), counsellors and psychotherapists are not regulated professions and people can practice as conversion therapists without being part of any professional organisation.