Jarrow MP speaks out against 'conversion therapy'

A South Tyneside MP has said if the Government allows informed consent for so-called ‘conversion therapy’ it will permit abuse and ‘risks introducing consent defences to other forms of abuse like domestic violence’.
Jarrow MP Kate OsborneJarrow MP Kate Osborne
Jarrow MP Kate Osborne

Labour MP Kate Osborne MP (Jarrow) was speaking in the House of Commons on the practice, which seeks to change people’s sexual orientation or gender identity.

Ministers are working towards a ban the practice, but the Government has recommended that consenting adults should be able to choose if they wish undergo the ‘therapy’.

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Critics have called the plans ‘dangerous’ and want a complete ban.

Speaking in Parliament today, Ms Osborne said: "The national LGBT survey found that 51% of conversion therapy happens in religious settings.

"And the Government-commissioned research found that adult victims often undertake religious conversion practices voluntarily.

"The Government's proposal to allow informed consent for conversion therapy will permit this abuse to continue and risks introducing consent defences to other forms of abuse like domestic violence."

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She asked: "If a conversion therapy ban will cover non-physical conversion practices in religious settings including prayer? And will she remove the dangerous consent loophole?"

Foreign Secretary and minister for women and equalities Liz Truss responded.

She said: "What is important is that we make sure that people are not coerced into conversion therapy.

"But it's also important that we protect freedom of speech, the ability for adults to consent, and the freedom to express the teachings – I hear the Opposition benches asking whether freedom of speech is a good thing, yes it is."

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Ms Truss vowed in October ‘to protect LGBT people, especially under-18s, from harmful conversion therapies as she set out proposals to ban the practice’ as the consultation launched on October 29.

The consultation will run for six weeks, closing on 10 December.

Ministers say once the consultation has closed, the responses will inform further refinements to the proposals, and the Government will prepare and introduce legislation by spring 2022.

A group of fundamentalist Christians provoked anger among LGBT campaigners after organising a conference in Westminster calling for plans for the ban to be dropped.