Labour’s Anneliese Dodds urges Kemi Badenoch to apologise for ‘dismal’ conversion therapy failure

On the left Kemi Badenoch is pictured walking out of government buildings. On the right Anneliese Dodds is pictured speaking to the press.

Labour’s Anneliese Dodds has called on MPs, including equalities minister Kemi Badenoch, to apologise for failing to include a ban on conversion therapy in the King’s Speech. 

Despite long-term promises from the Conservatives to introduce a ban, the LGBTQ+ community was once again let down after there was no mention of it on Tuesday (7 November) in the King’s Speech, which is the programme of legislation that the government intends to pursue in the forthcoming parliamentary session. 

LGBTQ+ organisations and activists branded the omission as “frightful negligence” and “heart-breakingly disappointing”.

‘Yet another dismal failure’

Dodds, the shadow secretary of state for women and equalities, told PinkNews that MPs who have promised to bring the ban should apologise to the LGBTQ+ community. 

”Countless Conservative MPs and ministers have promised to bring in this ban, including Kemi Badenoch and [fellow Cabinet minister] Michelle Donelan. These minsters should apologise for yet another dismal failure.” 

Dodds added that the lack of progress towards a ban “is a betrayal of all LGBT+ people at risk of this abhorrent treatment”, adding: “It’s clear as day that conversion practices are abuse and should be outlawed, but the Conservatives have failed to do so for half a decade. 

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“Labour would bring in a full, no-loopholes ban on these practices.” 

‘Conversion practices are abhorrent’

Tory MP Caroline Nokes, who previously said the government is going back on its promises to the LGBTQ+ community, told PinkNews: “I am very disappointed that the opportunity to establish a single clear piece of legislation to tackle conversion therapy has been lost. 

“My select committee has been very clear on this. Conversion practices are abhorrent and need to be stamped out.” 

‘Tories are going backwards on LGBT rights’

Culture, media and sport spokesman for the Scottish National Party at Westminster, John Nicholson, branded conversion therapy ‘abuse’.

“The Tories have been promising a ban on so-called conversion therapy for years. Today, they dropped it. Like Labour, the Tories are going backwards on LGBT rights.

“I’ve witnessed conversion therapy first-hand. It’s a cruel deception used to exploit the young and the vulnerable. It promises that, somehow, people can change their sexual orientation, and that trans people can be ‘cured’.”

Speaking to the BBC, parliamentary secretary for the Cabinet Office Alex Burghart said the government is still “committed to addressing this very, very difficult issue”, pointing out that the King’s Speech ended with the monarch saying: “Other measures will be laid before you.”

Burghart added: “Just because something isn’t in the King’s Speech, doesn’t mean it’s been ruled out.” 

A government spokesperson told PinkNews: “No one in this country should be harmed or harassed for who they are, and attempts at so-called conversion therapy are abhorrent. That is why we are carefully considering this very complex issue.”