oris Johnson has reportedly performed a hasty retreat after sparking a furious backlash following an announcement that ministers were abandoning plans to ban so-called conversion therapy.
A Government spokesman had earlier confirmed that they were looking instead at ways of preventing it through existing law and “other non-legislative measures”.
It followed the leak of a Downing Street briefing paper seen by ITV News which said “the PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation” to outlaw the practice.
However within hours of the announcement, the journalist who broke the original story quoted a senior Government source as saying legislation would be included in the Queen’s Speech in May.
ITV News UK editor Paul Brand tweeted that the Prime Minister had “changed his mind” after seeing the reaction to the earlier announcement.
He said the legislation would cover “only gay conversion therapy, not trans”.
The apparent “U-turn on the U-turn” came just a day after Equalities Minister Mike Freer had assured MPs that the Government was “wholly committed” to legislation.
However the briefing paper said neither he nor Foreign Secretary Liz Truss, who is also Equalities Minister, had been told of the decision not to go ahead, and that Mr Freer could now resign.
“While Liz is not ideologically committed to the legislation, she is likely to be concerned about owning the new position, having personally committed to delivering the Bill,” it said.
Jayne Ozanne, a former government LGBT adviser who survived 20 years of conversion therapy, said vulnerable people were being “thrown under the bus”.
“This is the Prime Minister’s decision and the Prime Minister has shown his true colours with regard to the LGBT community,” she told the PA news agency.
“I think he thought he could get away with it, but this will horrify, I am sure, people right across the country who have believed frankly for years that this should have been banned.”
Actor and broadcaster Stephen Fry tweeted: “Just when I thought my contempt for this disgusting government couldn’t sink lower. A curse upon the whole lying, stinking lot of them.”