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Conversion therapy ban: Kemi Badenoch says work ongoing on new laws and she's NOT blocking it

17 April 2024, 10:29 | Updated: 17 April 2024, 10:34

Kemi Badenoch insists she's not holding back new laws to ban conversion therapy
Kemi Badenoch insists she's not holding back new laws to ban conversion therapy. Picture: Getty
Natasha Clark

By Natasha Clark

Ministers are still working up new laws to ban conversion therapy, the Business Secretary has told LBC.

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Kemi Badenoch insisted that the plans were "genuinely very difficult" to get right but that she was still working on it.

The Government has long promised to totally outlaw the practise, which is intended to change people's sexual orientation or gender identity, but it has been repeatedly kicked back.

She told LBC's Iain Dale that last week's Cass review into changing gender meant that it may be implicated again

Ms Badenoch said: "We have had a long time, but that's because a lot of people who made promises had not looked at the issue deeply and thought it was very straightforward.

"It is how to make sure we have a bill that gives space for clinicians to do the right thing.

"We are still working on a draft bill, I am actively working on it. The Cass review has implications, I need to look again at what we are doing.

"We are moving as quickly as we can. This is something we need to get out there."

She denied claims that she was blocking the new legislation, which failed to appear in last year's King's Speech.

And she also called for a public inquiry into how public institutions are spending taxpayers money, after the review revealed the true nature of gender based medical practises in the UK.

If ministers don't bring forward plans soon to ban conversion therapy, it's unlikely there will be time to get it passed through parliament before the election, which is expected in the autumn.

Ms Badenoch said: "I am not the block. Different people have different visions of what a bill will look like."

Theresa May originally said she would ban the practise when she was PM.

Read more: 'Road to hell is paved with good intentions': Kemi Badenoch criticises own government's smoking ban after key vote

Read more: 'Clumsy' diversity efforts are 'ineffective and counterproductive,' Business Secretary Kemi Badenoch claims

Kemi Badenoch calls for an inquiry into public institutional policy

Last week's review by leading paediatrician Dr Hilary Cass said that Ms Badenoch had been warned about the risks of the planned ban.

Dr Cass told the Guardian that any plans for a law change would have to be "really clear" to avoid creating problems for professionals.

She said: “If you have no intent to make somebody change their gender, and as a result of your therapy, or your interaction with them, they do happen to change their gender – and then they say that you were doing that deliberately.

“That’s what people are afraid of. How you legislate that I have absolutely no idea but all I can say is you absolutely have to avoid anything that’s going to frighten people more.

“If you can set in legislation a way of doing that without exposing people to that fear and that risk, then that’s all fine, but I just don’t know how you would define the law to do that. So I’m just glad I’m a doctor and not a lawyer.”

Some studies have revealed up to 400,000 people have been subjected to someone trying to change, “cure” or suppress their sexual orientation or gender identity, according to research for Galop, an LGBTQ+ anti-abuse charity.

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