LGBT Conversion Therapy Debate

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Department: HM Treasury
Monday 8th March 2021

(3 years, 1 month ago)

Westminster Hall
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David Mundell Portrait David Mundell (Dumfriesshire, Clydesdale and Tweeddale) (Con) [V]
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I thank my hon. Friend the Member for Carshalton and Wallington (Elliot Colburn) for his thoughtful opening of the debate and his moving acknowledgment of survivors. I think it very important that we see the debate as an opportunity for a call for action from the Government.

The debate is obviously of moment, particularly for the quarter of a million people who signed the petition. It is an acknowledgment, as the national LGBT survey demonstrated, that this is going on in our country: 2% in the LGBT+ community had received such therapy and 5% had been offered it. We must treat the term “therapy” with the contempt it deserves, because we must be clear that this is not therapy; it is a pseudo-psychiatric 21st-century snake oil. There is nothing more pernicious than to deem someone sick and then to try to coerce them into treatment for something that is right at the core of who they are and who they love. We cannot tolerate it continuing.

There was a similar petition in the Scottish Parliament entitled “End Conversion Therapy”, which was dealt with last year by its Public Petitions Committee. Stonewall Scotland, Equality Network, Scottish Trans Alliance and LGBT Youth Scotland all supported the principles of that petition. In response, the Scottish Government—positively, from my perspective, because this is not always how they respond—said they wanted to work with the UK Government to bring about a ban. I want to encourage that working together on this issue so that we can deliver a ban that works across the United Kingdom and impacts on those in my own constituency in Scotland who might be put in this position. I also want to see the Scottish Government and the UK Government working on the GRA issue. As my hon. Friend the Member for Reigate (Crispin Blunt) mentioned in relation to trans issues, we need that to be dealt with—on a UK-wide basis, in my view.

While I am sure that the Government’s intentions are positive and the Prime Minister’s statement will be honoured, the Government have given the impression of being tardy, and now is the time to end that impression. As the chief executive of Stonewall, Nancy Kelley, said:

“The UK government must stop dragging its feet and make good on its promise to bring in a full legal ban, and put a stop to conversion therapy in the UK for good.”

I hope that the Minister, in her summing up, will give us clarity that that will happen and set out the timescale.