The Church of England’s General Synod passed a resolution in 2017 calling on the Government to end conversion therapy, to prevent vulnerable people from being subjected to potential spiritual abuse. The Church remains committed to this and will work with the Government on how it can most effectively be framed.
I thank my hon. Friend for his answer and am glad to hear that restatement of the General Synod’s position in 2017. Do the commissioners agree that the Church must reject any assumption that any one identity or orientation is preferable to another and that any one-directional pursuit of a particular orientation amounts to conversion therapy?
I thank my hon. Friend for making that point. The Prime Minister remains resolutely committed to prohibiting the imposition of any harmful and unnecessary practice in this area, without criminalising clergy and Church members for non-coercive pastoral support that individuals ask for.
I thank my hon. Friend for his answer. However, may I urge him to do all he can in the upcoming discourse on this important ban to which the Government have committed to ensure that religious freedom and banning this abuse is not presented as a binary choice? Does he acknowledge that many of Christian faith and other faiths want to see an end to this abuse?
The Church believes that it is possible to end conversion therapy without outlawing prayer and private conversations with clergy and Church members that an individual has requested. The Church has not requested an opt-out from the proposed law and will look carefully at the detail when the legislation is published.