The Government Equalities Office has confirmed that it is extending the consultation on a proposed ‘conversion therapy’ ban from 10 December to 4 February 2022.
There has been widespread criticism of the decision to halve the consultation period for such a complicated and controversial issue from the standard twelve weeks to just six.
The Government’s own consultation principles, published in 2018, warns: “Consulting too quickly will not give enough time for consideration and will reduce the quality of responses.”
More to do
Only last month, Let Us Pray – the campaign backed by The Christian Institute – called on the Government to extend the time frame.
Responding to the news, a spokesman said: “The Government needs to recognise the importance of protecting prayer, preaching, pastoral support and parenting.
“We need to make our voices heard.”
It followed claims from the Prime Minister’s former Director of Legislative Affairs, Nikki da Costa, that the period of consultation had been curtailed “to get a good news story” ahead of the Government’s global pro-LGBT conference in June 2022.
Da Costa, whose concerns focus around the trans aspect of the conversion therapy ban, told The Times: “There’s no reason why the government can’t take a few more weeks, even a couple months to get this right.”
In response, Conservative Peer Baroness Jenkin of Kennington tweeted: “More and more colleagues in @UKHouseofLords expressing concern about the fact that the consultation period for the Conversion Therapy (Prohibition) Bill is only six weeks rather than the usual 12”.