Labour promises ‘no loopholes, trans-inclusive’ conversion therapy ban

Anneliese Dodds

MP for Oxford East Anneliese Dodds has promised a “no loopholes”, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy, if Labour are power at the next general election.

Dodds, the chairwoman of the Labour Party, spoke at the National Women’s Conference in Liverpool on Saturday (7 October) and promised the conversion ban the Tories have failed to deliver after years of promises.

“We will deliver where the Conservatives have failed by bringing in a full, no loopholes, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy,” she said. 

Labour Party leader Keir Starmer has previously been criticised for failing to stand up for trans women, and the party has also come under criticism for Rosie Duffield’s anti-trans campaigning.

Conversion therapy refers to attempts to change a person’s sexuality or gender identity, and has been likened to torture by a UN expert.

The current Conservative government promised a draft legislation banning conversion therapy in 2018 – including protections for trans people – will be published this year, with Stonewall warning that it must have no “loopholes or carve-outs”. 

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Stonewall’s warning followed then-prime minister Boris Johnson dropping plans for a legislative ban in March 2022, only to U-turn by moving ahead with a ban that would protect LGB people only.

In 2021, the Tories announced that a ban that would allow “consenting” adults to volunteer to undergo conversion therapy under the guise of “professional help and guidance”, which sparked outrage among activists. 

But, after a five year wait, it has now been reported that prime minister Rishi Sunak will shelve the conversion therapy ban entirely due to claims similar laws have “proven problematic or ineffective in other countries”.

Crackdown on anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime

During her speech, Dodds also said people responsible for anti-LGBTQ+ hate crime would receive the “tougher sentences they deserve” in a bid to show “everyone deserves to be accepted without exception and treated with respect and dignity”. 

Her comment follows the Home Office releasing its 2022-2023 statistics which showed transphobic hate crimes rose in England and Wales by 11 per cent

Dodds said that “combatting inequality” is fundamental to the Labour Party, meaning it will “always take the right decision over the easy one and we’ll never descend into the gutter, where the Conservatives wish to take us”. 

The Labour chair also hit out at Rishi Sunak being caught on camera making jokes at the expense of trans people, laughing about “women having penises” and mocking Lib Dem leader Ed Davey for supporting trans rights.

She said: “I know it’s been a difficult year for many LGBT+ people. Rising hate crime, including physical attacks, a Tory Government that treats their lives and their rights as a political football, and a Prime Minister that sees them as a cheap punchline.” 

The 2023 Labour Party Conference is taking place in Liverpool and runs from 8 to 11 October.