Deliver conversion therapy ban bill by April, MPs urge Tory government: ‘Lives depend on it’

Potesters calling for a ban on conversion therapy, one sign reads 'queerness does not need a cure'

A group of cross-party MPs have sent a letter to the minister for women and equalities, Kemi Badenoch, demanding draft legislation banning so-called ‘conversion therapy’ to be published by April “at the latest”.

The letter was written by members of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global LGBT+ Rights (APPG), which works to protect and advance LGBTQ+ equality in both the UK and around the world. 

The group is made up of members from the Conservative Party, Labour and the Scottish National Party. 

In the letter, the group outlined their “concern” that it has been five years since the government pledged to ban conversion practices, which seek to change someone’s sexuality and/or gender identity, but no legislation has yet been published. 

The APPG stated it is “important that a draft bill is published as a matter of utmost priority”, in order for it to be properly scrutinised within the current parliamentary session. 

“We believe that a bill ought to be published in April at the latest, with pre-legislative scrutiny beginning as soon as the bill is published, concluding with a final report being published in September,” they wrote. 

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The group added that the need for the draft law to be published sooner rather than later is to ensure the government does not “prolong already unnecessary delays” while “LGBT+ people remain at risk of these abhorrent practices”.

“The safety and wellbeing of many LGBT+ people in this country depends on it,” the APPG said. 

Reacting to the letter, conversion therapy survivor, campaigner and former government adviser Jayne Ozanne wrote on Twitter that “‘working at pace’ has taken on a whole new meaning in government” following delays to the bill. 

She wrote: “Whilst they procrastinate – LGBT people continue to get hurt!”

The road to banning conversion therapy has been a long one, which has stretched across four British prime ministers. 

The UK government initially promised to ban the abusive practices under Theresa May’s premiership but this job was handed over to Boris Johnson when he moved into Number 10.

In May 2022, it was revealed that Johnson quietly planned to drop the legislative ban. 

However, after an outcry from the public, he reaffirmed his commitment to banning the practice – but for LGB folks only, excluding trans people

In January, then-culture secretary Michelle Donelan confirmed a ban would protect “all” people on the grounds “their sexuality or being transgender”, with the government pledging to publish the draft legislation soon. 

As it stands in March, no such draft bill has been unveiled. 

A spokesperson for the government’s Equality Hub said: “This Government is committed to protecting people at risk from conversion practices.

“As part of this we will publish a draft Bill setting out our approach, which will be scrutinised by a Joint Committee of both Houses in this parliamentary session.

“This will allow for in-depth analysis and challenge to test the policy and drafting and ensure we address any risk of unintended impacts.”

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