Labour MP Geraint Davies publishes bill to ban gay ‘cure’ therapy

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Labour MP Geraint Davies has published a Private Members’ Bill in Parliament aimed at banning gay-to-straight conversion therapy by regulating the psychotherapy sector.

If passed into law, the Counsellors and Psychotherapists (Regulation) Bill would require all therapists to register with a government-approved body.

Then, if it is discovered that they are offering treatments such as gay-to-straight conversion therapy, these registered therapists would be removed from the approved list and banned from practicing in the UK.

Mr Davies said: “Today I’m publishing a bill to regulate the therapy profession and to ban gay-to-straight conversion therapy. This damaging so-called treatment has traumatised many LGBT people over the years and it’s time Britain led the way in banning the therapy outright.

“The government has so far refused to act, but since I first proposed my bill I’ve seen MPs from all parties join the psychotherapy profession in condemning this discredited practice.

“The only way to stop conversion therapy for good is to make regulation compulsory and to strike off anyone attempting to ‘cure’ a person’s sexual orientation.”

The bill will receive its second reading on 24 January.

Prior to formal publication of the bill, it received cross-party support from Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat and Plaid Cymru MPs.  

In November during a Westminster Hall debate on the subject, Health Minister Norman Lamb proclaimed gay-to-straight conversion to be “utterly abhorrent”, but stated that the UK Government was still opposed to statutory regulation of therapists due to cost implications.  

In response, Labour MP Sandra Osborne criticised Mr Lamb. She said: “he should have committed to banning conversion therapy for – at the very least – under-18s, and restricting advertisements on the practice.”

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”.

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

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 September 2012.