Tory government to finally announce new law banning barbaric, torturous conversion therapy

UK prime minister Rishi Sunak wears a white shirt and red tie as he speaks to someone off camera

The UK government is set to finally announce details of a long-promised conversion therapy ban – and it will be inclusive of trans people, reports suggest.

The Tories first promised a conversion therapy ban in 2018 during Theresa May’s tenure as prime minister, but Boris Johnson later opted to push ahead with a ban that only covered lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

According to ITV News, a fully inclusive conversion therapy ban is now back on the table, with No 10 expected to announce details of legislation in the coming days.

Downing Street was reportedly surprised to discover there was broad cross-party support for a fully-inclusive conversion therapy ban – even within the Conservative Party.

It is understood that Downing Street will oversee the crafting of the legislation rather than Kemi Badenoch, minster for women and equalities.

The news comes less than a year after Boris Johnson tried to scrap the conversion therapy ban entirely during his time as prime minister.

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Boris Johnson against an edited raining background with No 10 Downing Street in the background.
Boris Johnson. (Getty/Unsplash)

A furious backlash led to a swift U-turn – but officials decided to only press ahead with a conversion therapy ban that would prohibit the pseudoscientific practice for lesbian, gay and bisexual people.

ITV News reports that the government now wants to push ahead with legislation before the Welsh government bans the practice at a devolved level.

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The news was welcomed by Jayne Ozanne, a conversion therapy survivor and campaigner.

“It’s good to hear that finally, after nearly five years, we are going to get the legislative ban that we have been so long-promised,” she told PinkNews.

“I’m relieved to learn that the government will include full protections for trans people, but remain concerned that large loopholes may be created regarding whether someone can supposedly ‘consent’ and on religious practices.

“The latter is by far the most common form in the UK and must be stopped if LGBT+ lives are to be protected from this horrific abuse.”

Jayne Ozanne smiling
Former government LGBT advisor and conversion therapy survivor and campaigner Jayne Ozanne. (Jayne Ozanne)

It remains unclear whether the legislation will ban conversion therapy if a person has consented to the practice, and it is not yet known if it will prohibit conversion therapy conducted in religious settings.

It is also thought that the government will face opposition from some quarters when it comes to banning conversion practices for trans people.

Tories have faced criticism for conversion therapy failures

The government’s refusal to ban the practice has led to protests and outcry from LGBTQ+ activists and campaigners in recent years.

In November 2022, a cross-party group of MPs urged the government to live up to its promises and ban conversion therapy for all LGBTQ+ people.

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“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 told the House of Commons at the time.

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

As the UK government continued to dither and delay, officials in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland started drafting plans to outlaw the practice as a devolved issue.

Those plans started to take greater shape after Boris Johnson announced his plan to push ahead with a trans-exclusionary conversion therapy ban.

After Johnson’s intervention, legislation stalled completely, despite calls from human rights groups and LGBTQ+ advocacy organisations to take urgent action.

PinkNews has contacted No 10 for comment.

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