Annika Haas via Flickr

“We would urge the government to deliver on its commitments to and demands from select committees on other vitally important legislation [..]”

MPS have come together to urge Boris Johnson and the UK government to end conversion therapy, as promised.

The practice – which has been discredited by the NHS and the World Psychiatric Association – refers to any attempt at changing a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity and often involves techniques like electroshock therapy or prayer.

Commons leader Jacob Rees-Mogg called on the government to take action on legislative promises in a new letter.

“The government’s programme has been understandably impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

“But now that this is closer to being under control, we would urge the government to deliver on its commitments to and demands from select committees on other vitally important legislation which committees are keen to see brought forward,” he wrote.

The chair of the influential Commons Liaison Committee, Sir Bernard also wrote a letter pushing for action from the government.

“The Petitions Committee continues to receive two very popular petitions on two issues where the government has committed to acting, but legislation is yet to be introduced, on proposals for stronger sentences for drivers who kill or seriously injure and on banning the practice of conversion therapy.

It’s been nearly three years since the UK’s then-prime minister Theresa May said it was a priority to “end the practice of conversion therapy” as part of a 75-point plan to improve the lives of LGBTQ+ people across the country.

“No one should ever have to hide who they are or who they love. [The plan will] set out concrete steps to deliver real and lasting change across society,” May said at the time.

Speaking at a school visit in Kent back in July 2020, Johnson described gay ‘conversion therapy’ as “absolutely abhorrent” and said it has “no place in a civilised society, and has no place in this country.”

“What we are going to do is a study right now on, you know, where is this actually happening, how prevalent is it, and we will then bring forward plans to ban it,” he added.

An open letter to Johnson and Downing Street made headlines last year, calling for a full ban on gay ‘conversion therapy’ for all LGBTQ+ people in the UK.

The letter was backed by Elton John, Stephen Fry, Dua Lipa, Little Mix’s Jade Thirlwall, Stonewall, Mermaids, The Ozanne Foundation, Amnesty UK, Gendered Intelligence, All-Out and many others.

Other signatures include Olly Alexander from Years & Years, trans activist Munroe Bergdorf, screenwriter Dustin Lance Black, actor Alan Cumming, writer Russell T. Davies, comedian Mae Martin, Liberal Democrat leadership contender Layla Moran, co-founder of UK Black Pride Phyll Opoku-Gyimah and singers Rina Sawayama and Charli XCX.

Johnson reiterated that the government will publish their response to a public consultation on the Gender Recognition Act during the summer of 2020.

No major steps regarding the Gender Recognition Act have been announced.