Conversion therapy ban U-turn meant to distract from cost of living – Starmer

The Labour leader said it was a ‘classic Conservative’ move.

01 April 2022

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer has suggested the Government’s double U-turn on the banning of conversion therapy was meant as a distraction from the cost-of-living crisis.

Sir Keir, speaking on a visit to Dewsbury, West Yorkshire, on Friday, said that “all conversion therapy in all its forms is wrong”, after Prime Minister Boris Johnson was forced to reaffirm his commitment to banning so-called conversion therapy.

A leaked Downing Street briefing paper seen by ITV News was reported to have said “the PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation” to outlaw the practice.

A Government spokesman had earlier confirmed that they were looking instead at ways of preventing it through existing law and “other non-legislative measures”.

However, within hours of the announcement, a senior Government source was quoted as saying legislation would be included in the Queen’s Speech in May.

The Prime Minister was said to have “changed his mind” after seeing the reaction to the earlier announcement, and that the legislation would cover “only gay conversion therapy, not trans”.

Sir Keir said: “The Government should just keep to its promises on this.

“But look, let’s be honest and clear about what’s happening today – the Government is trying to get us all to talk about conversion therapy because they don’t want us focusing on the cost-of-living crisis, on the increase in energy bills, where they’ve got such a pathetic response.

“So it’s wrong, the Government should keep to its promises.

“But, you know, this is classic Conservative, trying to sort of distract people over here, when really the issue is the cost of living and energy prices.”

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