A government equality adviser who quit her post has told Sky News a speech from an equalities minister on “gay conversion” therapies was the “final straw”.
Jayne Ozanne, a member of the government’s LGBT+ Advisory Panel, said she resigned on Wednesday because she felt that ministers were not acting quickly enough to ban the practice.
“There really is no excuse why the government are dragging their feet on this,” she said.
Ms Ozanne added: “This government has shown consistently that it has been silent in the wake of a huge amount of increasing abuse against the trans community,” she said.
The LGBT+ advisory panel is made up of independent advisers appointed by the women and equalities minister, currently Liz Truss, to provide insight, expertise and guidance on LGBT issues, policy, and interests.
She said remarks from another equalities minister, Kemi Badenoch, had left her “appalled” and “frustrated”.
Ms Badenoch told a Westminster Hall debate that the government was “committed to ending conversion therapy in the UK and we take the issue very seriously”.
She added ministers would “set out our next steps soon”.
But Ms Ozanne said the government was not taking a strong enough stand on the issue.
“I was so appalled and so frustrated that after a thousand days of trying to get the government to understand that we need a ban – not some words like we’re going to end – and we need a ban that includes trans people, that includes people of all ages, whether they’ve been forced or whether they think they’ve consented.
“Kemi Badenoch didn’t mention any of that in her speech and it really was the final straw.”
Ms Ozanne was one of two advisers to quit, being joined later by James Morton, who has been a manager at the Scottish Trans Alliance.
Labour’s shadow equalities secretary Marsha de Cordova accused ministers of having “prevaricated over banning conversion therapy for far too long, despite their clear promise to do exactly that”.
“This is a pattern of behaviour which seeks to dismiss the real impact of the discrimination experienced by so many and takes us back to the days of Thatcher,” she added.
“The government must get on with setting out a clear plan now which will see an end to this inhumane practice that has no place in modern Britain.”
A government spokesman said on Wednesday: “The government is committed to building a country in which everyone, no matter their sexuality, race or religion, is free to live their lives as they choose.
“We have repeatedly made clear that we will take action to end conversion therapy and we are working to bring forward plans to do so shortly.”
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