CONCERNS have been raised that the UK Government may block legislation banning conversion therapy in Scotland if it is passed by MSPs.

For more than five years, successive UK Governments have committed to banning conversion therapy in England and Wales.

After first being proposed by Theresa May in 2018, a consultation on the subject was published by the UK Government in 2021.

In the ministerial forward, Liz Truss, who was at the time serving as minister for women and equalities, wrote: “The United Kingdom is a global leader on LGBT rights and is committed to banning the coercive and abhorrent practice of conversion therapy.”

But despite the consultation closing in February 2022, the Government is yet to issue a response or publish a draft bill.

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Earlier this week, the right-wing blogger Guido Fawkes reported that Rishi Sunak had completely “killed off” the ban, writing that he “doesn’t want the backlash from the Tory right if he were to go ahead with the ban”.

Meanwhile, a consultation on banning conversion practices in Scotland closed earlier this month with Equalities Minister Emma Roddick saying they have “absolutely no place in Scotland”.

However, concerns have been raised that the legislation could suffer the same fate as the Gender Recognition Reform (Scotland) Act, which was passed as a cross-party majority in the Scottish Parliament but ultimately blocked by the UK Government.

Scottish Greens equalities spokesperson Maggie Chapman (below) told the Sunday National that while concerns were legitimate, a General Election may very well scupper any Tory plans to block the ban in Scotland.

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“Every single party that elected MSPs at the last Holyrood election pledged to ban conversion practices in their manifestos,” she said.

“And a cross-party committee unanimously endorsed a full and comprehensive ban after its inquiry in 2022.

“That there’s even a thought the UK could block legislation passed through the Scottish Parliament with such an overwhelming electoral and political mandate shows just how low this Tory government has sunk.

“Thankfully, it’s unlikely to be up to Rishi Sunak, as the voters will have celebrated kicking him out of office before the bill completes the legislative process.

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“Far too many people have already suffered for far too long under this abusive and coercive practice. It’s past time it was brought to an end, and I’m proud that with Scottish Greens in government, we’ll be doing just that.”

A spokesperson for the UK Government said they remain committed to a ban despite reports to the contrary.

They added: “No one in this country should be harmed or harassed for who they are and attempts at so-called ‘conversion therapy’ are abhorrent.

“As set out, we have rightly taken time to carefully consider this very complex issue and we will shortly bring forward a draft bill to Parliament. This remains our position.”