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Liz Truss hates 'conversion therapy' ban policy, according to Conservative colleague

Iain Duncan-Smith hinted Liz Truss could do a u-turn on the policy to ban 'conversion therapy'.

2022-08-11

Words: Alastair James; pictures: Wiki Commons

Liz Truss, the woman vying to be the next Prime Minister and head of the Conservative party hates the policy to ban 'conversion therapy', according to one ally of her.

Iain Duncan Smith was speaking to the Conservative Christian Fellowship (CCF) on Tuesday (9 August) evening and said he hated the policy and that "Liz is very much there" when it comes to her stance on the matter.

In a clip taken by Open Democracy, Duncan-Smith, a former Conservative leader, says when asked about repeated promises from the Tories to ban 'conversion therapy': "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."

"People are allowed their beliefs," he adds. "You may not agree with them all the time. But the idea you ban them from this is kind of ghastly woke culture... I think this is a trap for politicians to head down and it will just make lives 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."

Joe Hawes, the chair of the Ozanne Foundation and Dean of St Edmundsbury, told openDemocracy he was "extremely concerned" about these comments.

Asked today (Thursday 11 August) about what he said but Sky News Iain Dunca-Smith backtracked on what he said saying he "completely agrees" with it.

The Tories' promises to ban 'conversion therapy' date back to 2018 under then Prime Minister, Theresa May. However, it wasn't until last year when it first appeared in the Queen's Speech setting out the government's legislative agenda. 

After an extended consultation late last year and into 2022, it was hoped, and we were told by the Tories, that legislation would enter Parliament in Spring 2022. 

Liz Truss herself promised in 2021 that plans for a ban would be brought forward "shortly". Revealing the government's plans critics call it a ban ‘in name only’, with major loopholes, including talking therapies for over-18s not being outlawed.

Then, in April, it was leaked that the government under Boris Johnson was dropping plans for a ban. The resulting backlash led to a major u-turn within hours and the government recommitted to a ban but shamefully chose to exclude trans people from it.

They later said "separate work" would happen for a ban on 'conversion therapy' for trans people. The matter did make it to debate within Parliament after a petition gathered more than 144,000 signatures

Open Democracy reports that Truss has been rebuffed by the LGBT Conservatives group after failing to answer questions put to all Tory leadership candidates and later seeking an endorsement from the group. 

Attitude has contacted representatives for Liz Truss for comment.

**UPDATE FRIDAY 12 AUGUST**

A spokesperson for Liz Truss 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."

The Attitude September/October issue is out now.