Boris Johnson will “never be forgiven” if he U-turns on plans to ban conversion therapy in the UK, it has been claimed.
It comes after an announcement that UK ministers would be abandoning a proposal to ban the practice.
A spokesman for the UK Government indicated that they were looking instead at ways of preventing it through existing law and “other non-legislative measures”.
But within hours of the announcement, a senior government source was quoted as saying legislation would be included in the Queen’s Speech in May.
The Prime Minister was said to have “changed his mind” after seeing the reaction to the earlier announcement, and that the legislation would cover “only gay conversion therapy, not trans”.
However, plans to exclude transgender conversion therapy under the plans has been heavily criticised.
The SNP’s equalities spokesperson at Westminster, Kirsten Oswald, criticised the Government over the move.
“Conversion therapy has no place in our society and we owe it to all those who have already suffered to get rid of it now before anyone else has to endure this terrible experience,” she said.
“Last night’s reports that the UK government were to scrap the proposed ban on conversion therapy were a complete betrayal of all those who have waited years for action.
“The Tories have spent four years promising to ban conversion therapy – all while listening to the very brave testimonies of those who have endured this awful practice, so for them to even speculate on simply trashing their plans to act is disgraceful.
“Especially disappointing is the plan to entirely exclude trans conversion therapy from any kind of future ban, especially at a time of heightened fear for transgender people in the UK amidst rising hate crime statistics.”
Oswald suggested that future generations will “carry the shame” of Boris Johnson’s “failure to do the right thing”.
“If Boris Johnson U-turns on this longstanding commitment, it will go down in history as his own Section 28 moment for which he will never be forgiven,” she continued.
“And just as the Tories of today have had to apologise for their party’s deeply damaging attacks on LGBT+ rights in the past, future generations will carry the shame of Boris Johnson’s failure to do the right thing on conversion therapy.
“I’ll be looking to use all possible means in the House of Commons to raise this concern so LGBT+ communities can get the clarity they deserve from this Tory government.
“Meanwhile, the SNP Scottish Government will take steps to ban the practice in Scotland, in line with our manifesto commitment.”