Prominent Liz Truss backer Iain Duncan Smith has said legislation aimed at banning gay conversion therapy must be “re-worked” and “looked at again” — despite years of delays.
The former Conservative leader, who is helping run the foreign secretary’s campaign for No 10, said the proposals must not be “rushed” in order to avoid “unintended consequences”.
It comes after it emerged Mr Duncan Smith told an event hosted by the Conservative Christian Fellowship “I hate it” when asked about repeated promises by the Tory party to ban conversion therapy.
In remarks, reported by Open Democracy, he said: “I think when you start banning things like this, you enter a maze of problems, and I absolutely believe that Liz is very much there.”
However, speaking on Sky News on Thursday, Mr Duncan Smith appeared to downplay his comments, saying he “completely” agreed with the objective of the proposed conversion therapy legislation.
But he said the Bill “needs to be re-worked” and “looked at again”, adding: “My personal opinion is the Bill to deliver that isn’t in the right shape to deliver it.
“I agree with her [Ms Truss] that the point of what we’re trying to do is to protect those who need that protection.”
Pressed on whether Ms Truss would continue with a ban, he said: “We need to look at that Bill to see how we will get that done. Liz Truss has made very clear, she’s in favour of it — quite rightly.
“But my point is I was saying the Bill itself, we need to make sure delivers what we’re after without the unintended consequences or knock ons — that’s important in legislation, you can’t rush it. The objective I completely agree with.”
A spokesperson for the Truss campaign also told The Independent: “There is no place for the abhorrent practice of conversion therapy in our society.”
First proposed in 2018 by former prime minister Theresa May, the legislation seeks to ban the discredited ‘practice’ of gay conversion therapy, which seeks to suppress an individual’s sexuality.
After facing an immense backlash for attempting to backtrack on the proposals all together earlier this year, including from Tory MPs, Boris Johnson partially retreated on the U-turn.
However, it was made clear it would not apply to trans people, resulting in more than 100 organisations pulling out of the UK’s fist ever global LGBT+ conference — an event that was eventually scrapped.