Former Conservative Party leader The Rt Hon Sir Iain Duncan Smith has said Westminster’s proposed conversion therapy ban should be revised to avoid “unintended consequences”.
Speaking to Sky News, the MP said he agrees with Liz Truss MP’s aim to ban conversion therapy, but the current plans threaten freedom of speech.
The Bill is currently suspended but Truss has said she would continue with a ban if she became Prime Minister.
Sir Iain warned: “We have to get the balance right between what you do to protect people who make decisions but at the same time to make sure that you don’t collide with the rights that people have to freedom of speech and things and we’ve got to work that out”.
He added: “The Bill itself, we need to make sure delivers what we’re after without the unintended consequences and knock-ons that go on and that’s important with legislation, you can’t rush it, you’ve got to make sure it’s done.”
His remarks reflect concerns raised at the start of the year by Tory MPs and Downing Street’s former Director of Legislative Affairs Nikki Da Costa.
Da Costa warned that a ban must not be vague and criminalise parents or clinicians trying to help young people deal with their issues, while over 30 MPs stressed that legislation should not be rushed through so such concerns can be discussed.
Earlier this year, sociologist and criminologist Dr Stuart Waiton warned that Scotland’s proposed version of a ban will treat parents like “torturers” and criminals for “expressing their moral values and beliefs to their children”.
Some MSPs have called for a far-reaching ban which could make questioning your child’s sexual orientation or gender identity a crime.
Dr Waiton said these arguments disregard family autonomy and undermine parents’ freedom of conscience and beliefs.