8 major political parties unite to demand a conversion therapy ban, now. Without delay

Liz Truss

Representatives from eight major political parties in the UK have written to the government demanding a ban on conversion therapy without delay.

In a collective letter, representatives from eight political parties urged the equalities minister Liz Truss to listen to the LGBT+ communities and ban the harmful, pseudo-scientific practice.

The group is led by LGBT+ Conservatives and includes LGBT+ representatives from the Labour Party, Plaid Cymru, the Green Party, the Alliance Party of Northern Ireland, the Liberal Democrats, the SNP and SDLP.

The letter stated that without a legislative ban, the UK government “cannot end conversion therapy”.

It continued: “The longer we wait, the weaker the words and intentions sound.

“You pledged to be the government that banned conversion therapy. Now is the time to prove it.”

Any ban on conversion therapy would need to cover all interventions including in healthcare, religious and cultural or traditional institutions, the letter added. Additionally, a legislative ban would need to cover public and private spheres and children and adults alike.

The letter urged Truss to “meet with and engage directly with us as LGBT+ representatives” and experts on conversion therapy. It said there had been “little engagement” between the government and survivors of conversion therapy since prime minister Boris Johnson promised a ban.

“It is naive to attempt to form policy without meaningful engagement with those who will continue to suffer abuse if conversion therapy is not banned,” the letter argued.

Truss recently promised to bring forward a ban on conversion therapy “shortly” after a string of resignations from the government’s LGBT+ Advisory Panel. She said on Friday (12 March) that the government would “bring forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practice”.

The move came after Jayne Ozanne, James Morton and Ellan Murray resigned from the government’s advisory panel over concerns there is a “hostile environment for LGBT+ people among this administration”.

Ozanne cited a speech by Kemi Badenoch, under-secretary of state for equalities, in which she gave a “vague” update on the government’s plans to tackle conversion therapy.

She refused to use the word “ban”, instead saying the government would “end” conversion therapy and that the practice had “no place in a civilised society”. Badenoch said there were “robust” laws already in place to crack down on the most severe cases, prompting fears that the government had no plans to bring forward a new legislative ban.

She said the government did not “intend to stop those who wish to seek spiritual counselling as they explore their sexual orientation”.