MPs demand action on conversion therapy ban as Tory government continues to dither and delay

Labour MP Nia Griffith wearing a white suit jacket over a blue top, with a red ribbon for World AIDS Day, urges the government to ban conversion therapy while speaking in the House of Commons.

A cross-party group of MPs has urged the government to live up to its pledge of a full conversion therapy ban – nearly five years after it was first promised.

The statements were made during a Women and Equalities questions session in the House of Commons on Wednesday (30 November) in which several MPs from different parties urged the government to “bring forward a bill as soon as possible”.

“Every day that the secretary of state delays this bill, LGBT individuals can be subject to this abhorrent and deeply damaging conversion therapy,” Labour MP Nia Griffith said to the House.

“It has now been eight months and four years since the government first promised a ban,” she continued. “So I beg the secretary of state to bring forward a bill as soon as possible.”

During the statement, Griffith also asked whether the bill, if implemented, would extend towards “all forms of conversion therapy”.

Kemi Badenoch walking past the door to Number 10 Downing street, holding a red folder.
Equalities minister Kemi Badenoch paused work on the conversion therapy ban at the end of October. (Getty)

The long-delayed ban has routinely excluded transgender and non-binary people.

You may like to watch

Alongside Griffith’s call for a comprehensive ban, conservative MP Peter Gibson echoed the recommendations.

“Does my right honourable friend understand the anxiety by the LGBT community when it comes to this ban?” he said.

“This ban has appeared in multiple Queen’s speeches and yet we are still to see any draft legislation.”

The former monarch referenced the conversion therapy ban in a May 2021 speech, in which she said: “Measures will be brought forward to address racial and ethnic disparities, and ban conversion therapy.”

Finally, SNP MP Kirsten Oswald told the house that 11 per cent of trans people had reported being subjected to conversion therapy in some form.

“Those individuals who are subjected to those practices are significantly more likely to have attempted suicide than their peers,” she added.

“I’m disappointed in what I’ve heard today which seems like more kicking into the long grass.”

“Does the right honourable lady understand that conversion therapy is abhorrent, and if so, why won’t her government commit to preventing this harm to trans people by banning this practice for everyone?”

The conversion therapy ban has been routinely delayed

Former prime minister Theresa May originally vowed to ban conversion therapy in 2018.

Following Theresa May’s resignation, Boris Johnson’s government was left to handle the process of drafting a bill banning the practice, publishing a consultation in 2021.

But the uncertainty of the legislation’s eventual creation grew after Johnson announced in March that he was dropping plans to draft the bill.

He imminently U-turned on the claim within hours of making it, vowing to implement the ban – but not for transgender and non-binary people.

Since then, the ban has barely moved forward.

Several human rights organisations, as well as activists, have urged the Conservative government to “act now” on creating a comprehensive ban that includes trans people.

Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition chair Jayne Ozanne told PinkNews in October that “conversion practices are indeed abhorrent and should have been banned years ago”.

“We have constantly been assured that the government is working ‘at pace’ to ensure a full ban with no loopholes. It is time now for the prime minister to finally deliver.”

Please login or register to comment on this story.