Tory MP accuses LGBT+ conversion therapy ban supporters of ‘virtue signalling BS’

Tory MP says opposing conversion therapy is 'virtue-signalling BS'

Tory MP Mark Jenkinson has called opposition to Boris Johnson’s plan to exclude trans people from a forthcoming conversion therapy ban “virtue-signalling BS”.

Quoting a tweet explaining that Stonewall and more than 80 groups have pulled out of the government’s flagship LGBT+ conference due to the decision, Jenkinson claimed that MPs criticising the Tory government’s move are simply “pursuing those warm, fuzzy feelings”.

Safe To Be Me has been billed by the government as the UK’s first ever global LGBT+ conference. However Stonewall and many other LGBT+ and HIV groups explained that they could only take part “if the prime minister reverts to his promise for a trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy”.

Jenkinson said on Twitter: “Today will mark a significant turning point in this debate. A return to evidence-based policy making and away from virtue-signalling BS.

“MPs have a choice – pursuing those warm, fuzzy feelings at the expense of the most vulnerable, or a serious discussion on where rights clash.”

Jenkinson later claimed that conversion therapy is “already illegal, as [the government’s consultation on a potential ban] set out”.

In fact, the consultation made clear that “gaps in the law” “currently allow conversion therapy to continue”.

The government’s National LGBT Survey, published in 2018, found that five per cent of respondents had been offered conversion therapy in their lifetime. Two per cent had undergone it.

Among trans people specifically, eight per cent had been offered and four per cent had undergone conversion therapy.

Despite Jenkinson’s tweet, not all members of his party are on the same page.

Jamie Wallis is among the Tories to criticise the decision. The MP, who recently came out as trans, said he was “bitterly disappointed” with the move to exclude trans people from a conversion therapy ban.

Wallis said in a tweet: “It is wrong to exclude protections for a whole group of people from a practice described as ‘abhorrent’.

“If the CT [conversion therapy] ban passes through parliament without any protections for the transgender community, it cannot be described as anything other than a broken promise.”

Then-prime minister Theresa May first promised to outlaw the barbaric practice of so-called conversion therapy, which has been likened to torture by a UN expert, in 2018.

Announcing its withdrawal from the Safe To Be Me conference, Stonewall said: “Trans people are among the highest risk groups in our community – the latest research from Galop shows that 11 per cent of trans people have been subjected to conversion practices by their own families.

“Trans people are no less worthy of respect, care and protection than cis lesbian, gay and bi people. If the UK government cannot stand behind and respect all LGBTQ+ people’s fundamental human rights, it should not be convening an LGBTQ+ rights conference on the global stage.”