Government abandons plans to ban conversion therapy

31 March, 2022

The UK Government has abandoned its plans to ban conversion therapy in England and Wales. Humanists UK has long campaigned in favour of such a ban. Today it has expressed its severe dismay at the news.

The news has come via a leak to ITV News, with the Government reportedly confirming the decision. The leaked document explains that ‘Given the unprecedented circumstances of major pressures on cost of living and the crisis in Ukraine, there is an urgent need to rationalise our legislative programme.’

Humanists UK Chief Executive Andrew Copson commented:

‘After years of delay, it is brutal news that the Government has now abandoned entirely its plans to ban these pseudoscientific and abusive practices. Like all others who have advocated for a ban for many decades, we will be raising this with the Government urgently, and will continue to work for a ban. We are confident, in line with the ever-growing public support for freedom and equality for LGBT people, that ban will come one day very soon.’

The UK Government’s 2018 National LGBT Survey showed that 7% of LGBT people had undergone or been offered conversion therapy. Of those who had undergone it, 51% reported that it had been conducted by a religious group or in a religious setting. Such activities can include exorcisms and forced prayer. When people are experiencing such extreme distress over their sexual orientation or gender identity, they should be met with person-centred, therapeutically well-grounded support. They should not face coercive, medically worthless practices that seek to push them in a particular direction.


For further comment or information, media should contact Humanists UK Director of Public Affairs and Policy Richy Thompson at or phone 020 7324 3072 or 020 3675 0959.

Read the ITV News story.

Read more about our work on conversion therapy.

Humanists UK is the national charity working on behalf of non-religious people. Powered by 100,000 members and supporters, we advance free thinking and promote humanism to create a tolerant society where rational thinking and kindness prevail. We provide ceremonies, pastoral care, education, and support services benefitting over a million people every year and our campaigns advance humanist thinking on ethical issues, human rights, and equal treatment for all.