Westminster ‘conversion therapy’ threat stalled by General Election

23, May 2024

Yesterday’s announcement of a snap General Election on 4 July has removed the imminent threat of a dangerous conversion therapy law for England and Wales.

An amendment to the Criminal Justice Bill on ‘conversion practices’ tabled by Alicia Kearns MP looked set to be debated on 4 June. But this will not now happen.

This is excellent news. Despite seven attempts at drafting a conversion therapy amendment, Alicia Kearns’ final version failed to protect innocent Christian believers and loving parents who refused to affirm radical LGBT ideology. Indeed, several senior lawyers recently warned that the type of offences created by her amendment risked criminalising private prayer – fears that were not allayed by any redrafting.

It also means that after four and a half years of this Parliament, at least five separate attempts to introduce a conversion therapy law have failed. This includes the Government’s own proposed draft Bill, which never got out of the starting blocks.

Thanks in no small part to the prayers, letters and emails of Let Us Pray supporters, new ‘conversion therapy’ laws are increasingly seen as impossible to draft in a way that protects fundamental freedoms whilst satisfying activists’ demands.

Even the UK Equalities Minister most supportive of a conversion therapy law, Stuart Andrew  MP, has recently had to admit that it is a “very challenging issue”. Health Minister Maria Caulfield MP spoke of the policy area as “complex and nuanced” with significant “pitfalls” for the freedoms of parents, clinicians, teachers or religious groups.

And the publication of Dr Hilary Cass’s landmark report on NHS gender services in England placed even further pressure on the Government to be cautious with its plans. She warned that clinicians could leave the field over fears of being caught out for not taking an affirmative enough approach to gender identity.

Over the next few weeks the various political parties will put forward their manifestos. Some may refer to new conversion therapy laws. But let’s be clear. After nearly five years of proposals from across the political spectrum, the problems with such laws will not change with any new Government.

See also: MP repeatedly proposes flawed conversion therapy amendments

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