Former UK Equalities Minister says Govt should pass bad legislation and fix it later

20, July 2023

Mike Freer MP says the UK Government should move ahead with banning conversion therapy, even though the legislation is not “perfect”.

Freer was a UK Equalities Minister between September 2021 and July 2022, and was given responsibility for overseeing the highly controversial proposal.

Here’s how the story was reported in Politics Home:

While recognising legislation might not be “perfect” straight away, he said it was important for the ban to be implemented as soon as possible.

“My view is, no legislation is perfect. I'd rather have a piece of legislation that gets most of the issues addressed, rather than trying to come up with a perfect piece of legislation.

The highly controversial legislation has been delayed for a number of reasons. Here’s what the Government said in a leaked memo from No.10 while Mr Freer was in charge of the Bill:

“It is important to note, there is already legislation to address acts which inflict physical harm and talking therapies are already subject to regulation through professional frameworks for healthcare professionals.”

The admission came alongside the Government’s plan to drop the plans. Clearly, Mr Freer’s own Government recognised that verbal and physical abuse of LGBT people is already illegal and there was therefore no need for a new ‘ban’.

And here is what the Govt admitted about the research it had commissioned on the topic:

 “HMG commissioned research has shown that the evidence-base for further legislative measures on conversion therapy is weak.”

Despite all this the former Minister wants the Government to pass imperfect legislation to ‘get most of the issues addressed’. But the issues are already addressed. Independent legal advice and his own Government seem in agreement on that.

Passing unnecessary legislation is extremely dangerous. It would be more likely to lead to the “unintended consequences” that the Equality and Human Rights Commission warned Mr Freer’s department about.

The Commission explained the dangers to children who struggle over sex and gender, and the dangers to their parents. It warned too of the vast implications for religious people. It made clear that a new law must not trample Christians’ and others’ rights.

The MP suggested a solution to these problems. He says:

“Get something on the statute book that does the job and then you can always revisit and fine tune.”

Columnist Janice Turner comments in The Times:

"Freer isn’t bothered by nuance or complexity ... [His] statement is the first time I’ve ever heard an MP argue enthusiastically for bad law."

Perhaps Freer thinks it is fine if casual conversations and private prayers land the public in hot water. Or if loving parents have their children taken off them by social services. Or if police begin arresting ordinary people for disagreeing with LGBT ideology. Is it fine for a few innocent vicars to be thrown in jail?

In a nation that claims to protect justice and freedom, it is unacceptable to sacrifice the innocent for the sake of a few virtue-signalling headlines.

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