Minister calls gay cure therapy ‘torture’ – as government rules out statutory ban
A Foreign Office minister has branded gay cure therapy “torture” – as Health Minister Jane Ellison ruled out legislation banning it entirely.
The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Public Health was speaking at a Westminster Hall debate called by out Tory MP Mike Freer, who argued for the practise of LGBT conversion therapy to be outlawed.
A number of MPs, including Labour’s Wes Streeting and Conservative Nick Herbert spoke on the issue.
Ms Ellison acknowledged the harms caused for gay cure therapy, and praised a Memorandum of Understanding banning referrals within NHS England.
However, she added that the government would not be pressing ahead with legislation on the issue, saying: “I fully understand the concerns about gay conversion therapy as they’ve been expressed, but the government has no current plans to ban or restrict it via legislation.
“We don’t either have a plan to introduce statutory regulation for psychotherapies but I say that in the knowledge that it is a position that is challenged – and one to which I will go away and reflect after the debate.”
Speaking separately to the debate, Foreign and Commonwealth Office Minister Baroness Anelay told PinkNews in an interview today that she considers gay cure therapy to be “torture”.
She said: “I just find the whole thing very uncomfortable, very repulsive.
“I think that, one of the most important things over the last 10 years has been governments of all persuasions – Labour, Conservative, working with the Liberal Democrat Party – has been the importance of the way that you looked again at what society considers to be mental illness, mental incapacity and quite simply society changes.
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“I think the important thing is that we try to explain overseas that you do not change people’s behaviour about their sexuality by subjecting them to what is, let’s face it, torture.”
Tory MP Mike Freer told PinkNews: “I was delighted that we had such a strong turnout for the debate which reflected the continued concern from MPs.
“Whilst not securing an outright ban – yet – securing a commitment on getting other health bodies to sign up to the memorandum is welcome.
“Most importantly the reconvened roundtable to look at how we can tighter regulation and moving to stop aversion therapy is a significant step forward.”
It comes a week after Education Secretary Nicky Morgan said the ‘conversion’ therapies “have no place” in the UK, and that they should be “stamped out”, speaking at the PinkNews Awards.
The Prime Minister David Cameron in April pledged to PinkNews that a future Conservative government would act to end so called “gay cure” therapy, , labelling the practice as “dangerous” and “profoundly wrong”.