I have been contacted by constituents about Banning Conversion Therapy.
As the Member of Parliament for Milton Keynes South, I have included below my response:
I take this issue very seriously and I know that my colleagues in the Equalities Office remain committed to tackling the issue of conversion therapy in the UK. I am absolutely clear that this practice has no place in society. Being lesbian, gay or bisexual is not an illness to be treated or cured.
I very much welcome the fact that the Government is delivering on its promise and will legislate to ban conversion therapy to protect LGBT people from this harmful practice. Ministers will launch a consultation to ensure the proposals work for those in need of protection and are also making funding available to develop a support service for victims of conversion therapy.
The Government is aware of the concerns regarding religion and faith and ministers have said that they will continue to engage with religious organisations and groups to understand how best to support LGBT people of faith. While it is not the Government's place to dictate what is legitimate spiritual guidance, it is the Government’s place to protect all their citizens, and I will not tolerate the use of harmful coercive practices under the guise of spiritual support.
On the wider issue of freedom of religion, you may be aware that Fiona Bruce MP has been appointed as the Prime Minister's Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief. I have been assured that my colleague will work hard to protect and defend this key right. However, I am also clear that defending the rights of one person should not cause harm to another.
The Government has been very clear that it will seek further views from the public and key stakeholders to ensure that the ban can address the practice while protecting the medical profession; defending freedom of speech; and upholding religious freedom. I welcome the engagement that Ministers will have with constituents, and I would recommend you taking part in the consultation to ensure your views and concerns are heard.
I am positive about the steps that have been made so far in the UK to achieve LGBT equality and am confident that this good work will continue.