Boris Johnson says he will 'stamp out' LGBT conversion therapy

12 March 2021, 20:58

Prime Minister Boris Johnson dubbed the practice "repulsive".
Prime Minister Boris Johnson dubbed the practice "repulsive". Picture: PA

By Harriet Whitehead

Boris Johnson has said he will "stamp out" conversion therapy by bringing forward a ban after three Government equality advisers resigned over the lack of action.

The Prime Minister said he would work to end the "abhorrent" practice after his Government came under damning criticism for allegedly creating a "hostile environment" for LGBT people.

Jayne Ozanne was the first to quit the LGBT+ Advisory Panel on Wednesday, and was followed by James Morton and Ellen Murray. Boris Johnson has now apologised to these advisers.

The resignations followed a debate in Parliament this week on gay conversion therapy, as it marked more than two years since government pledged to eradicate the practice.

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Conversion therapy aims to change a persons sexual orientation or gender identity.
Conversion therapy aims to change a persons sexual orientation or gender identity,. Picture: PA

When asked about the delay in delivering this ban during a visit to Queen’s University Belfast on Friday, Johnson said: “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 aims to change a persons sexual orientation or gender identity, and the Prime Minister is promising to take action.

The Prime Minister was joined by Equalities Minister, Liz Truss who also announced on Friday that a conversion therapy ban is imminent.

Speaking to reporters on a trip to Scotland, Truss said the government was "committed to LGBT equality" and added: "We'll shortly be bringing forward plans to ban conversion therapy, which is an abhorrent practice.”

Jayne Ozanne, one of the government’s equality advisors who quit, responded to the announcement and said: “I am really pleased to hear that Liz Truss has now unequivocally said that she will 'ban' the conversion therapy.

“That is indeed good news. However, the devil remains in the detail. We will need to wait and see whether she will protect everyone from harm.

“Particularly, we will be watching to see whether she prioritises protecting vulnerable LGBTQIA victims, who often believe they are 'doing the right thing' by agreeing to go through ‘conversion therapy’, over appeasing religious pressure groups who want to continue with this practice.”

Both Truss and fellow equalities minister Kemi Badenoch were criticised by the resigning advisers, with Ozanne accusing them of vilifying the trans community.