We’re hugely disappointed the UK Government has excluded its long-promised ban on conversion therapy and its proposed reform of the Mental Health Act from the King’s Speech.
The King’s Speech outlines the Government’s legislative programme for the coming parliamentary session, and highlights bills that are likely to become laws ahead of the next General Election
We’ve long campaigned for legislation to outlaw abhorrent conversion practices and are strongly opposed to any misuse of therapy to try to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
Anyone accessing therapy should be able to do so without fear of judgement or the threat of being pressured to change a fundamental aspect of who they are.
The Government’s decision not to ban so called conversion therapy is beyond disappointing and follows years of inaction and u-turns.
We remain fully committed to championing a ban that is inclusive and practical which ends these unethical, harmful and ineffective practices.
We’ll continue to engage with law-makers and politicians from all sides to secure much needed legal protection.
We’re proud to stand alongside sector leaders to fight for legislative change within the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) group.
Igi Moon, Chair of the MoU Group, said: "This has to be one of the most cruel and undignified ways to treat the LGBT+ community. We on the MOU against Conversion Therapy have worked tremendously hard to make sure LGBT+ people can live with the freedom of safety from harm. The Government has not supported our aims. It’s unfortunate that history was not made today.”
However, banning conversion therapy will still be debated in Parliament in the next year. The All-Party Parliamentary Humanist Group announced that Vice Chair Baroness Burt of Solihull's Private Member's Bill, Conversion Therapy Prohibition (Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity) Bill, has been drawn in the House of Lords ballot. This means that it will be debated in Parliament and could become law if it receives enough support.
Our policy team and the MoU Chair are engaging with Humanists UK to offer our support to Baroness Burt to ensure this secures wide political support.
Reform of the Mental Health Act
We’re also disappointed to see that the Government has not included the bill to deliver much-needed reform of the Mental Health Act.
There’s been a huge investment in the reform process over many years, with an independent review of the act commissioned by former Prime Minister Theresa May in 2017, a white paper in 2021, draft bill in 2022 and pre-legislative scrutiny report in 2023.
In 2019, the Government committed in its manifesto to give people with mental health conditions greater control of their treatment so they receive the dignity and respect they deserve and to “improve how people with learning disabilities and autism are treated in law”.
We’ve joined with members of the Mental Health Alliance today to write to the Prime Minister to reaffirm the need for urgent legislative reform accompanied with investment to improve mental health care and community support more widely so people can receive treatment and support when they need it, with a focus on preventing crisis situations and inappropriate detention.
Read the full letter to the Prime Minister about the King's Speech.
Memorandum of understanding on conversion therapy in the UK
The MOU (Memorandum of understanding) is a joint document signed by over 25 health, counselling and psychotherapy organsations which aims to end the practice of conversion therapy in the UK. PDF download
Influencing decision makers
We work with with politicians and decision makers from all four nations to help them understand the positive changes that counselling can make to people's lives.
Conversion therapy: significant shift towards inclusive ban
The proposed ban will make attempts to change someone's sexuality or gender identity illegal in England and Wales