The Christian Institute

News Release

Conversion practices ban only a priority for 4% of voters

Voters want the Government to focus on the NHS and the cost of living, not an “oppressive” a conversion therapy ban, a major new poll from Whitestone Insight has revealed.

The survey, which was commissioned by The Christian Institute, asked 2091 UK voters to select their top five policy priorities for the coming 12 months out of a list of 23 possible options.

It found that reducing NHS waiting lists (68%), tackling inflation (49%), and growing the economy (44%) were the top three issues for voters. In marked contrast, banning ‘conversion therapy’ was a priority for just 4% of voters.

The results were consistent across all demographic groups and regions. (See tables attached.) Even among 18 to 24-year-olds just 9% picked conversion therapy as a top five priority.

Whitestone Insight also specifically polled 588 Conservative Party members. 59% picked ‘reducing illegal migration’ as a top five priority. Just 5% included the conversion therapy ban in their top five. (See tables attached.)

The result will come as a blow to the small group of ideological campaigners pushing for the ban, conclusively laying to rest the notion that banning conversion therapy is a key issue for voters.

Simon Calvert, a Deputy Director at The Christian Institute, said the figures “should come as a warning to the Conservatives and Labour” – both of whom have committed to conversion therapy bans – if they want to pick up the votes needed to form a government at the next election.

“This is a significant poll. It involves over two thousand voters, showing which policy areas the public think are important. Despite years of campaigning by activists, the public are not at all convinced of the need for an expansive conversion therapy ban. The fact is that gay and trans people are already fully protected against verbal and physical abuse. There is no need for a new law. But, as we’ve shown, the kind of ban being called for would allow bureaucrats to tell Christians how to pray. It would effectively make ‘misgendering’ an offence. And it would criminalise parents who try to prevent their children being prescribed puberty blockers.

“Voters want the Government to concentrate on the big issues, like sorting out NHS waiting lists and tackling inflation, not this oppressive woke nonsense.”

Last month, The Christian Institute wrote to the Prime Minister over concerns the Government was being pressured into bringing forward conversion therapy legislation based on the Australian State of Victoria. Official guidance there now outlines state-approved language for religious prayers and theological conversations. For example:

• LGBT people are to be “reassured” that they are “perfect as they are”;
• Religious leaders are carrying out an illegal act if they say prayers that “ask for a person to not act on their attractions” or “talk about a person’s brokenness or need to repent”.

Such wording risks even criminalising the Lord’s Prayer, used for centuries in many churches, which asks God to “forgive us our sins” and “lead us not into temptation”.

Victoria has also made it illegal not to affirm someone’s gender identity and warned parents that they must support their child’s request for puberty blockers or risk prosecution for conversion therapy.

Astonishingly, leading activists in the UK have backed the Victoria ban, calling it “the gold standard”.

Top 5 Priorities, by group
UK voters
1) Reducing NHS waiting Lists (68%)
2) Tackling inflation (49%)
3) Growing the economy (44%)
4) Reducing illegal migration (33%)
5) Energy security (29%)

Conservative Party members
1) Reducing illegal migration (59%)
2) Reducing NHS waiting lists (53%)
3) Growing the economy (46%)
4) Tackling inflation (40%)
5) National security (27%)

Least Favourable Government Priorities
UK voters
1) Regional devolution (3%)
2) Conversion therapy ban (4%)
3) Support for victims of crime (6%)

Conservative Party members
1) Regional devolution (2%)
2) Net Zero (4%)
3) Conversion therapy ban (5%)


Notes for Editors:

Methodology: Whitestone Insight interviewed 2091 UK adults online from 11th to 13th August 2023 and 588 Conservative Party Members from 4th to 7th August 2023. Data were weighted to be representative of all adults. Whitestone Insight is a member of the British Polling Council and abides by its rules.
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Read more on the conversion therapy ban in the Australian State of Victoria at
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Government Priorities Research – September 2023 – Data:

UK Omnibus Table

Conservative Party Members Table