The UK government is no longer planning to introduce a ban on so-called ‘conversion therapy’, a leaked document has revealed.
Boris Johnson will reportedly link the decision to needing to focus on issues like the war in Ukraine and the cost of living crisis, according to leaked documents seen by ITV News.
‘Conversion therapy’ is typically defined as any attempt at changing a person’s sexuality or gender identity, often involving techniques such as electroshock therapy or prayer.
It has been widely condemned by health experts all over the world, with some comparing it to torture.
Among these are the National Health Service, World Health Organisation, World Psychiatric Association and the United Nations.
The government has been promising to ban the practice since 2018 and the plans were confirmed during the Queen’s Speech in 2021, though these have now been shelved entirely.
“Given the unprecedented circumstances of major pressures on cost of living and the crisis in Ukraine, there is an urgent need to rationalise our legislative programme,” the document, titled the Conversion Therapy Handling Plan, reportedly states.
It adds that Johnson “has agreed we should not move forward with legislation to ban LGBT conversion therapy.”
EXCLUSIVE: The government has ditched its promised ban on conversion therapy.
A briefing document leaked to @itvnews states "The PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation to ban LGBT conversion therapy".
It breaks 4 years of promises.https://t.co/5AKskw6YnP
— Paul Brand (@PaulBrandITV) March 31, 2022
“The LGBT sector will read this decision as a signal the government is uninterested in LGBT issues,” it continues, alongside ideas of how to minimise the fallout.
According to the document, those involved in the initial decision to ban ‘conversion therapy’, such as Equalities Minister Liz Truss, have not yet been informed of the change in policy.
“While Liz is not ideologically committed to the legislation she is likely to be concerned about owning the new position, having personally committed to delivering the Bill,” the document adds.
There are also reports that the Prime Minister’s Special Envoy on LGBTQ+ issues, Lord Herbert, and Equalities Office minister Mike Freer, may reconsider their positions in government as a result of the news.
This is absolutely appalling behaviour by @10DowningStreet
As I told @PaulBrandITV "How on earth are we ever to trust those in power when they renege on any promise that's been made & don't seem to understand the harm that so many are people facing right now in Britain today?" https://t.co/39TZF1ImSY
— Jayne Ozanne 🇺🇦 (@JayneOzanne) March 31, 2022
“The Prime Minister has shown scant regard for the lives of LGBT+ people in this callous decision, which leaves us with little option but to conclude that his word cannot be trusted,” said Jayne Ozanne, Chair of the Ban Conversion Therapy Coalition and an openly gay Evangelical Christian who went through 20 years of the practice. “This is by far the most significant betrayal of trust that the LGBT+ community has experienced in years and flies in the face of all the commitments that he, his Ministers and other senior Tory MPs have made.”
The document seen by ITV News includes a list of 30 MPs who are likely to support the government’s decision, though only one is openly gay.
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