Tory MPs blast ‘shameful’ conversion therapy ban delay

A protester holds a placard calling for a ban on conversion therapy

Rishi Sunak is facing heavy backlash from his own party after it was revealed that there are no plans to propose a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’ in the upcoming King’s Speech.

If the ban is not included in King Charles’s speech on Tuesday (7 November), it’s unlikely to become law before the next general election is held.

It’s widely agreed across government parties that the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy should be criminalised once and for all in order to protect gay and transgender people.

Rishi Sunak pictured leaving Downing Street.
It’s understood that the ban on conversion therapy will not be mentioned in the King’s Speech on Tuesday. (Getty)

However, it would appear that the Prime Minister has bent to the will of a number of far-right MPs and removed the ban from this week’s speech.

Last week, it had been reported that the promise to ban conversion therapy had been in a draft of the King’s Speech, but was removed by Sunak after approximately 40 Tory MPs signed a letter that warned the ban would be “extremely concerning.”

Reacting to reports of the long-awaited conversion therapy ban being pushed back yet again, a number of Tory party members vocalised their disgust.

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“We’re looking at every possible opportunity and we’re definitely not going to let this drop,” said Tory MP Elliot Colburn, per The Independent.

Colburn, who has long campaigned for conversion therapy to be criminalised warned that he and others were considering a plan to amend different legislation, like a law and order bill, to call for the protection of LGBTQ+ people, insisting that this was “not the end of the road.”

A conversion therapy ban was first promised by Theresa May half a decade ago. (Unsplash)

He added: “Not to deliver on it would be absolutely appalling. The government had the opportunity to grab the bull by the horns and get this done. And now they’re essentially going to have to let parliament do it.”

Similarly, Tory MP Dehenna Davison, who came out as bisexual in 2021, said: “It is shameful that, over five years after promising we would deliver a much-needed ban on conversion therapy, it now looks set to be kicked into the long grass.

“How anyone can justify supporting such practices is beyond me.”

And, in a passionate post to X (aka Twitter), Tory MP Alicia Kearns lashed out at her fellow party members.

“To MPs who believe in conversion therapy and don’t accept it’s inherently abusive: Say it,” she wrote.

“Own that you believe LGBT people can be ‘converted’. The very least you can do is be honest with those you’re imprisoning in a cycle of imposed shame & self-hate as you reinforce bigotry.

“There are MPs who rightly care about getting the legislation right, both those of us who support a ban and those who don’t.

“But too many are constructing narratives to cover for the reality, they believe conversion therapy is a legitimate practice. Speak your truth.”

Despite the group of Conservative MPs who successfully pressured Sunak to put the ban on hold, Colburn has said that he’s certain a “massive majority” of the Tory party is on his side and in support of the ban.

Legislation to outlaw conversion practices was promised five years ago under Theresa May’s government but since then, and three prime ministers later, the Conservatives have dropped, reinstated, U-turned, and delayed a ban.

This week’s news just marks the latest disappointment to activists, advocacy groups, and wider members of the LGBTQ+ community.