The Labour Party has announced its commitment to introducing a comprehensive ‘conversion therapy’ law.
Speaking at the Labour Party Conference in Liverpool, Shadow Women and Equalities Secretary Anneliese Dodds promised “a full, no-loopholes, trans-inclusive ban on conversion therapy”.
The Government has repeatedly delayed publication of a draft Bill on the issue, after previously announcing that it would undergo “pre-legislative scrutiny by a Joint Committee in this parliamentary session”.
In her speech, Dodds also promised “stronger laws so those who carry out anti-LGBT+ hate crime get the tougher sentences they deserve”.
“And we will modernise the gender recognition law to a new process, while continuing to support the implementation of the Equality Act that protects everyone.”
Writing in The Guardian in July, she said that “there will always be places where it is reasonable for biological women only to have access”, going on to claim “Labour will defend those spaces, providing legal clarity for the providers of single-sex services.”
Last month, a survey commissioned by The Christian Institute revealed that voters want the Government to focus on the NHS and the cost of living, not a conversion therapy ban.
Pollsters Whitestone Insight found that reducing NHS waiting lists, tackling inflation, and growing the economy were the top three issues for voters, with a new law on conversion therapy among the least favourable priorities.
The survey asked 2091 UK voters to select their top five policy priorities for the coming 12 months out of a list of 23 possible options.
In August, the Institute wrote to the Prime Minister over concerns the Government was being pressured into bringing forward conversion therapy legislation based on the ban in the Australian State of Victoria.
Under Victoria’s repressive law, “not affirming someone’s gender identity” and parents refusing “to support their child’s request for medical treatment that will prevent physical changes from puberty” are deemed illegal practices.
Updates to guidance on the legislation also state that Christians can only pray in a way that affirms that everyone is “perfect as they are”. Prayers that “talk about a person’s brokenness or need to repent” are deemed harmful and likely to be illegal.
The Institute argued that such wording risks even criminalising the Lord’s Prayer, which asks God to “forgive us our sins” and “lead us not into temptation”.