Government to bring forward ban on conversion therapy following resignation of three advisors

The government is set to announce a ban on conversion therapy, after the resignation of three of her equalities advisors in protest at the lack of action.

Speaking to reporters on a trip to Scotland, equalities minister Liz Truss said the government was "committed to LGBT equality".

She said: "We'll shortly be bringing forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practice.

When asked if she would outlaw the practice, she said: "We are committed to that and we'll shortly be bringing forward plans to do so."

  • ITV News UK Editor Paul Brand gives an update

The prime minister also labelled the practice "abhorrent" on Friday, and said he was sorry that three of the Government's LGBT advisers had resigned while issuing damning criticism.

During a visit to Queen's University Belfast, the Prime Minister told reporters: "I think this practice is repulsive and I think it's abhorrent, and I'm sorry these advisers have gone, but be in no doubt that we will deal with this issue. "It is technically complex to deal with but we're determined to take further steps to stamp it out."

  • Conversion therapy 'abhorrent', says Boris Johnson

Labour's equalities minister Marsha de Cordova MP said on the proposed ban: “The Government should have announced a ban on conversion therapy months ago, instead they have sought to ignore the great harm that this practice causes LGBT+ people.

“The Government must get on and publish legislation which will see an end to this inhumane practice that has no place in modern Britain."

Despite promises from both Theresa May in 2018 and Boris Johnson in 2020 to ban the practice, no action has yet been taken, with the government recently dropping the word ‘ban’ altogether and instead promising to ‘end’ conversion therapy.

In an exclusive interview with ITV News on Wednesday, Jayne Ozanne quit her role as advisor to the government on equality, accusing it of creating a “hostile environment” for LGBT+ people. Two further advisors, James Morton and Ellen Murray, later resigned too.

This is the first time Liz Truss has specifically committed to a ban, which campaigners want put into law in order to ensure it has real force. They fear simply aiming to ‘end’ conversion therapy would not have the same impact.

ITV News understands the measures are due to be announced within weeks, which will seek to end the practice of attempting to change or suppress someone’s sexuality or gender identity.

Conservative MPs have also been privately lobbying the government to take tough action, with concerns that religious guidance won’t be covered by a ban, despite being one of the most common forms of conversion therapy.