Fri, 14 June 2024

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By Lord Cameron of Dillington
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By Association of Former Members of Parliament
By Association of Former Members of Parliament

Boris Johnson Says "Complexities and Sensitivities" Are Preventing Trans Conversion Therapy Ban

3 min read

The Prime Minister has confirmed trans people will not be included in the government’s upcoming ban on conversion therapy due to “complexities and sensitivities”.

Speaking on Wednesday morning, Boris Johnson described conversion therapy as “utterly abhorrent” but added there are issues that “still need to be worked out” on the matter of banning the practice on trans people. 

"We will have a ban on gay conversion therapy, which to me is utterly abhorrent,” Johnson said. 

“But there are complexities and sensitivities when you move from the area of sexuality to the question of gender,” he added. 

“I'm afraid there are things that I think still need to be worked out."

An internal party row over conversion therapy erupted last week when ITV exposed a leaked document showing that Downing Street planned to quietly drop its commitment to banning conversion therapy. 

Following backlash a range of Tory MPs and LGBT+ rights groups, within three hours of the leak, Downing Street partially U-turned on the decision and confirmed they would ban conversion therapy relating to gay and bisexual people.

However, they did not extend this commitment to banning the practice in relation to trans people.

The decision prompted outrage from more than 80 LGBT+ and HIV organisations, including Stonewall, who announced a boycott of the government’s global equality conference, Safe to Be Me.

The conference, which was due commence in June in London, has now been cancelled by government. 

The Prime Minister said he is "sorry" government has not been able to reach an agreement with LGBT+ organisations whose boycott triggered the cancellation of Safe to Be Me. 

He added the row will "in no way diminish our determination to tackle prejudice wherever we can". 

 Discussing trans conversion therapy, Johnson said the matter is not something "I thought I would have to consider in great detail". 

"These are novel concepts," the Prime Minister said.

"We've got to be clear about that," he added.

On Wednesday Johnson also discussed the war in Ukraine, stating Russian warfare in the city of Bucha "doesn't look short of genocide". 

Satellite images coming out of the city have shown bodies strewn across streets and Ukrainian President Volodomyr Zelenskyy has shared harrowing accounts of Russian soldiers raping, torturing and killing civillians in the area.

"I have no doubt that the international community, Britain very much in the front rank, will be moving again in lockstep to impose more sanctions and more penalties on Vladimir Putin's regime," Johnson said. 

On the issue of Britain's cost of living crisis, which today intensifies as the government's 1.25% National Insurance hike kicks in, the Prime Minister said government will "look after people to the best of our ability". 

"People are obviously going to face choices that they’re going to have to make," Johnson said.

"We in government will do everything that we can to help, and that’s what we’re doing," the Prime Minister added. 

"We’ve got to be frank with people, there’s a limit to the amount of tax payers money we can push towards dealining with global energy price spikes. But what we can do is make sure we fix some of the long term energy problems."

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