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Bestinau got that-

Good morning. Dominic Cummings, Boris Johnson’s former chief adviser turned nemesis, has been known to refer to Johnson as the “trolley” because he can’t keep going in the same direction for long. What is less well known is that the insult came from Johnson himself, who when he tried to make a decision on Brexit said he was “like a shopping cart going in all directions”. It’s one of his more observant self-observations, and last night we witnessed a classic example, worthy of any trolley Olympics.

On the eve of the last election, Boris Johnson agreed that a Conservative government would ban proselytizing practices that attempt to alter one’s sexuality or identity, usually in certain religious situations. Since then, the government has consulted on the ban, but campaigners and some news organizations have flagged claims that a ban could inadvertently criminalize clinicians and therapists who help people — especially teenagers — cope with gender dysphoria.

ITV’s Paul Brand revealed last night that the government had dropped plans for a ban. He published extracts from a leaked document stating that Boris Johnson had agreed to suspend the legislation. The document focused on options for how the U-turn could be announced, and it said an option could become public at the time of the Queen’s speech and would argue that “there was an urgent need to update our legislative program.” rationalize” because of the Ukraine war and the cost of living crisis. (ITV has not published the entire document, but their report suggests that this is not the real reason for the decision to drop the bill.)

The report caused a huge backlash among all those concerned with LGBTQ+ rights, for whom the ban on conversion practices was a landmark legislation and a test of the government’s full credibility with this community. Within hours, the cart was moving in a different direction, and Brand said he had been told by a high-ranking government source that there had been a partial U-turn.

Paul Brand


The Prime Minister has changed his mind by the response to our report and he WILL now ban conversion therapy anyway.

Senior Govt source absolutely assures me it will be in the Queen’s speech.

But only gay conversion therapy, no trans.

March 31, 2022

Paul Brand

I was told that the Prime Minister was shocked at the strength of the reaction of Conservative MPs and ministers when they saw the story break.

But he has removed transconversion therapy from the equation, stressing that a bill should not have “unintended consequences.”

March 31, 2022

There are more details in ITV update. Our story is here.

This morning this has been widely reported as a turnaround and Tory MPs who were particularly outraged last night at the original story have quieted their anger. But there’s no detail at all about what will go into the bill, and prominent campaigners are outraged that transconversion practices are being barred from the legislation.

These are from Brick wallthe LGBTQ+ rights group.

Brick wall

Read the latest update. Keep the pressure high.

March 31, 2022

Brick wall

The UK government’s National LGBT Survey found that trans-respondents were more likely to have undergone or been offered conversion therapy (13%) than cis-respondents (7%).

🚨Email your MP for a ban that leaves no one behind 🚨

March 31, 2022

And this is from veteran campaigner Peter Tatchel.

Peter Tatchelli

A ban on conversion therapy that is not trans-inclusive is not a real ban at all. Excluding transgender people from protection against abusive, harmful conversions is shameful. Transgender people are at risk from exorcisms, beatings, emotional blackmail and psychological beatings.

Apr 1, 2022

It’s a relatively quiet day, diary-wise. The House of Commons is not sitting.

I’m trying to follow the comments below the line (BTL), but it’s impossible to read them all. If you have a direct question, put “Andrew” in it somewhere and I’ll be more likely to find it. I do try to answer questions, and if they’re of general interest I’ll post the question and answer above the line (ATL), though I can’t promise to do this for everyone.

If you want to get my attention quickly, it’s probably better to use Twitter. I am at @AndrewSparrow

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