Liz Truss backs a fully inclusive conversion therapy ban, says MP
- Credit: PA
A north London MP says he has been assured by Liz Truss's campaign team that she supports a fully inclusive ban of conversion therapy.
Finchley and Golders Green MP Mike Freer has given his backing to the frontrunner in the race to be the next Conservative prime minister.
Mr Freer previously praised Ms Truss's LGBT+ credentials and her support for a fully inclusive ban of conversion therapy – the pseudoscientific process of trying to change someone's sexuality or gender identity.
But Open Democracy reported on Wednesday that Ms Truss's campaign director, Iain Duncan Smith, told a Conservative Christian Fellowship event that he "hates" the bill to ban conversion therapy.
Asked about the Truss campaign’s policy on the conversion therapy ban, Mr Duncan Smith said: “I hate it. Can I be clear about that? I think when you start banning things like this you enter a maze of problems. And I absolutely believe that Liz is very much there.”
He added: “People are allowed their beliefs. You may not agree with them all the time. But the idea you ban them from this is this kind of ghastly woke culture...I think this is a trap for politicians to head down and it will just make life worse. So Liz is strong on all this woke stuff. And I think she will certainly take the same view as I and many others do.”
Speaking to Sky News, the MP for Chingford and Woodford Green later said what he meant was that the parliamentary bill "isn't in the right shape" to deliver a conversion therapy ban.
Asked whether Ms Truss still supports a fully inclusive conversion therapy ban, Mr Freer said on Thursday: "I have check with the team and Liz’s views have not changed. Mr Duncan Smith was wrong."
Mr Freer previously said: "As the equalities minister reporting to her, she was entirely supportive of a fully inclusive ban on conversion therapy, entirely supportive of the Safe to be Me Conference, gave me her backing to a programme of cross government work to improve the day to day lives of LGBT+ people - healthcare (including trans healthcare), housing, crime, reviews of historic injustices."
The conversion therapy ban was dropped by Boris Johnson's government in April. But after a backlash from MPs and ministers, it was included in the Queen’s Speech, but only after excluding transgender people from the ban.
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A spokesperson for Liz Truss would not be drawn on the ban itself, or the inclusion of trans people, but said: "There is no place for the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy in our society.
"We will ensure that LGBT people can live their lives free from harm, prevent under-18s making irreversible decisions about their future, and protect freedom of speech and choice."
Mr Freer was one of dozens of ministers who resigned from government before Mr Johnson eventually announced he would step down.
In his resignation letter the Finchley and Golders Green MP thanked Mr Johnson for his work to "improve the lives of LGBT+ people in the UK".
But he added: "However, I feel that we are moving away from the One Nation Conservative party I joined, not least in creating an atmosphere of hostility for LGBT+ people and I regret can no longer defend policies I fundamentally disagree with."