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Volume 566: debated on Monday 15 July 2013

Control of Conversion Therapy

The petition is from Hull and East Riding Labour LGBT group, which has collected over 2,000 signatures against conversion therapy, a therapy that claims to be able to convert people who are homosexual to becoming heterosexual. I commend, in particular, Colin Livett, Danny Norton and Tom Stephens for all their hard work in producing the petition and obtaining so much support.

The petition states:

The Petition of Citizens of the UK,

Declares that the Petitioners believe that being lesbian, gay or bi-sexual is not a disease, disorder or illness and cannot therefore be “cured” or changed; and consequent upon this belief and the declarations of the professional bodies of the appropriate medical organizations, further declares that “conversion” or “reparative” therapy does not work and can do serious harm to patients.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the government to control “conversion” or “reparative” therapy by banning it completely for those under the age of 18 and making it available to those over the age of 18 only after informed written consent and only when carried out by a licensed medical practitioner.

And your Petitioners remain, etc.


Cambridge to Fenland Train Service

I present a petition on behalf of my constituents. The petition states:

The Petition of residents of North East Cambridgeshire,

Declares that at present the population of March has no access via public transport to evening entertainment and activities in Cambridge; further that the population growth rate, faster than for the East of England region and England overall, experienced by Fenland demonstrates the need for better public transport; further declares that another Petition on this subject has been signed by more than 700 residents of North East Cambridgeshire.

The Petitioners therefore request that the House of Commons urges the Government to require a late train service from Cambridge to March in the next Greater Anglia franchise.

And the Petitioners remain, etc.


On a point of order, Mr Speaker. You will recall that, following Home Office questions this afternoon, I drew your attention to the fact that a statement to be made tomorrow had been the subject of considerable media coverage over the weekend.

I regret to inform you that within the past hour or so, Sky Television has been holding up and quoting at length from the relevant report. Hon. Members will not be allowed to look at the report until 8 o’clock tomorrow morning. We will not be able to take a copy away, but will have to hand it back at the Department of Health. Can we have a ruling on what is going on at the Department? Clearly, the situation is a shambles.

I am grateful to the hon. Gentleman for his point of order. I have not seen or heard the broadcast to which he refers and it is always as well to be personally familiar with the evidence. However, this is the second time—I make no complaint about it—that the hon. Gentleman has raised his concerns today. He may seek to do so again tomorrow in the presence of a Minister from the Department concerned. The Minister will then have the opportunity to respond if he or she so chooses.

Suffice it to say that material for presentation to the House should be seen and heard first by the House; it should not be bandied about elsewhere. By what route the report got there I know not, but with all due respect to the estimable organ concerned, it seems a pretty poor second best. The House of Commons should be the premier audience.