Campaigners fear that the government may not deliver on previous promises to ban so-called ‘conversion therapy’.

Earlier this year, the government announced its intention to publish a draft bill which would protect “everyone” from the practice. MPs were then due to debate the bill in Parliament, ahead of the King’s Speech on 7 November, when the King relays forthcoming legislative priorities.

However, a draft bill has so far failed to materialise – despite Rishi Sunak calling the practice “abhorrent” in the House of Commons as well as reports in June that a bill was on the “PM’s desk” for internal scrutiny.

With Parliament due to break for a lengthy recess next week, not returning until mid October, activists now believe that the government has run out of time to fulfil their promises.

The scrutiny was exacerbated after Leader of the House, Penny Mordaunt, avoided reiterating the government’s promise – despite previously confirming it in writing via a letter to MPs in March.

Specifically, when questioned by Liberal Democrat MP Wera Hobhouse earlier today on whether the bill would land in time for the King’s Speech, Mordaunt did not give a definitive answer. Instead she simply stated that ‘conversion therapy’ was an “abhorrent practice” and did not elaborate on plans regarding the bill.

Representatives from LGBTQIA+ charity Stonewall gathered outside of the House of Commons after the interaction, condemning the silence and arguing that timely action from the government is needed.

Speaking to GAY TIMES, Jayne Ozanne, the Chair of the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition, voiced concern at the recent developments. “I am extremely angry that the government has continued to promise action, but has consistently delivered only obfiscation and delay,” Ozanne said.

“Whilst the Prime Minister has been on his summer break, I fear that many young LGBT+ people will have been sent to summer camps where they will have been subjected to a range of conversion practices, particularly in religious settings,” she continued.

“It would seem that this government has no intention of protecting them and cannot be trusted to deliver on their promises. To be aware of harm, to have the power to protect and to choose to do nothing is a total moral failing.”

Meanwhile, Anneliese Dodds, Labour’s Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary, wrote on Twitter to condemn the lack of action from the Conservative Party on the matter and to announce her party’s intention to “ban conversion therapy in full.”

This evening, ITV News Editor Paul Brand suggested that the UK Government will be reneging on their intentions to ban conversion therapy, tweeting: “Speaking to sources in all camps tonight, the legislative ban is dead. Just a matter of time until govt [sic] concedes as much.”

Former UK Prime Minister Theresa May first promised to outlaw conversion therapy half a decade ago, though the Conservative Party has appeared to waver on the matter in the intervening years.

A leaked document in 2022 even suggested that Boris Johnson intended to drop the pledge, although he partially backtracked on this decision in response to public backlash – promising to ban the practice when directed at someone’s sexuality, but not their gender.