The government has retracted its decision to U-turn on introducing a new law that bans conversion therapy in the UK.
Former Prime Minister Theresa May had initially promised back in 2018 that the highly controversial practice – which attempts to change an individual’s sexual orientation or gender identity – would be outlawed in the UK, just like is in many other countries across the globe.
“We will ban conversion therapy to prevent these abhorrent practices which can cause mental and physical harm,” vowed May in 2018.
“The ban will eliminate coercive practices which cause mental and physical harm to individuals and we will ensure the action we take to stop this practice is proportionate and effective and does not have unintended consequences.”
“People should be free to be themselves in the UK,” she concluded.
If you’re unfamiliar with what the practice involves, conversion therapy – which is also sometimes called cure therapy or reparative therapy – refers to any form of treatment or psychotherapy, ranging from forms of therapy and prayer, to more extreme acts such as “exorcisms, physical violence and food deprivation”, that aims to change a person’s sexual orientation or suppress a person’s gender identity.
It has, understandably, generated significant backlash, with LGBT charity Stonewall saying it is based on an assumption that being lesbian, gay, bi or trans is a mental illness that can be “cured”.
The NHS and other professional bodies have warned that all forms of conversion therapy are “unethical and potentially harmful”.
“While ‘conversion therapy’ does not work, it is still extremely harmful, causing severe psychological damage to victims and survivors of this practice, and reinforcing the myth that there is something inherently wrong with being LGBTQ+ and that we can and should be brought out of existence,” added Dr. Christopher Owen – Inclusivity Development Manager at Manchester Pride.
Current Prime Minister Boris Johnson had previously agreed to continue with May’s promise to bring forward legislation that bans conversion therapy – especially after there was outrage from campaigners, organisations, and celebrities – but early on Thursday evening, reports began emerging and several news outlets were said to have been informed by a government spokesperson that ministers had decided to drop the ban.
They would, instead, “proceed by reviewing how existing law can be deployed more effectively”.
A Downing Street briefing paper entitled “conversion therapy handling plan”, seen by ITV News on Thursday, said: “The PM has agreed we should not move forward with legislation to ban LGBT conversion therapy.”
The briefing warned of a “noisy backlash from LGBT groups and some parliamentarians when we announce we do not intend to proceed” – and the LGBT sector will see it “as a signal the government is uninterested in LGBT issues”.
News of the decision to scrap the ban had been heavily criticised since it broke, with Labour MP Chris Bryant, who is gay, most-notably calling it “a terrible betrayal of a promise and of a whole community”.
“So-called conversion therapists pray on tender hearts and do immeasurable harm,” he added.
Labour’s Anneliese Dodds also tweeted in response to the initial reports that it was an “outrageous decision”, adding that “a government that believes conversion therapy is acceptable in 21st Century Britain is no friend of the LGBT+ community.”
And Liberal Democrat equalities spokesperson, Wera Hobhouse, said it was “giving the green light to a form of torture in the UK”.
However, only about three and a half hours later after announcing its decision to U-turn, a Downing Street spokesman told Sky News, and other news outlets, that the government will in fact ban conversion therapy.
But controversially, it will only ban gay conversion therapy, not trans conversion therapy.
This has, of course, been met with criticism from some MPs and charities, with Rainbow Project notably saying any ban that didn’t include transgender people was “not a real ban”.
Labour MP Nadia Whittome also tweeted following the retracting of the U-turn that: “Boris Johnson has U-turned again after the strength of feeling and will ban conversion therapy for cisgender lesbian, gay and bisexual people but not trans people.
“It’s still not good enough. LGB comes with the T, and the Tories are not on our side.”
The Japanese takeaway with a Michelin-trained chef serving a secret omakase menu out back
Good sushi is a hard thing to find in Manchester nowadays. To be honest, ever since the demise of Umezushi, it has felt out of reach.
Average sushi, however, is suddenly available in abundance thanks to an explosive proliferation of trendy, if soulless, Pan Asian restaurants.
You know the sort. The spots with the claggy, dried-out rice on ostentatious platters, whose chefs stuff cream cheese into the middle of their maki, or disguise its lack of freshness with cascading waterfalls of dry ice.
These spots, with their fake flower walls and neon signs that scream “Pick me!” seem, depressingly, to be taking over. So it’s with relish I can reassure you at least one place in Manchester city centre is doing its bit to remind us what real sushi should actually taste like.
Even better, it’s entirely missing the gaudy flamboyance of Manchester’s glitzy Pan Asian sushi scene – so if, like me, you’re not into superficial sushi, you should feel right at home here.
I’m talking about One Sushi, formerly known as Ikkan – a tiny Japanese takeaway shop on Oxford Road filled with little more than a few wooden counters and a cash desk topped with metallic maneki-neko, or beckoning cat.
Opened last year by the team behind China Buffet, a popular Chinese restaurant in the heart of Chinatown, its takeaway cabinets are stuffed with California and red dragon rolls, deep-fried ebi, and various tempting combo platters.
These lovingly packaged takeaway morsels are already considered by sushi fiends in the know to be amongst best in the city, but – whilst they are really good – they are nothing compared to what is coming off the kitchen’s near-invisible pass.
Hidden at the back by a blue flag featuring the One Sushi logo and rolling waves that resemble Japanese ukiyo-e artist Hokusai’s famous Great Wave off Kanagawa print, it’s here that you will reconsider whether you’ve ever really had a good piece of sushi before in your life.
Prepare to be blown away.
We’re talking otoro belly tuna, A5 seared wagyu steak (that’s the highest grade you can get), sweet Japanese scallops and prawns, all prepared right in front of you by master sushi chef Eddie who trained at two Michelin star Hong Kong restaurant Zuicho.
All the fish here is super fresh, and the entire style of the menu is down to chef Eddie – meaning he chooses for you, preparing the best of the best from that day.
Priced at £58 per person, Eddie can accommodate up to four people at once for this incredible omakase sushi experience. There’s really nowhere like it in Manchester for this price, in fact the only other place where you can go to experience something like this will set you back at least £200.
For sushi lovers, this is a dream come true.
Featured image – The Manc Group
Manchester United confirm Antony will return to training following assault allegations
Manchester United winger Antony is heading back to training amid his multiple assault allegations.
Antony‘s case is still ongoing, with a total of three women coming out to accuse him of domestic abuse — chiefly, his ex-girlfriend Gabriela Cavallin, who was first to raise concerns surrounding his alleged behaviour — but his cooperation through the investigation has led them to revise their position.
Issuing an update on Friday morning confirming that the forward with be brought back into the fold until the situation is resolved.
A club statement reads as follows: “Since allegations were first made in June, Antony has co-operated with police inquiries in both Brazil and the UK, and he continues to do so.
“As Antony’s employer, Manchester United has decided that he will resume training at Carrington, and be available for selection, while police inquiries proceed. This will be kept under review pending further developments in the case.
“As a club, we condemn acts of violence and abuse. We recognise the importance of safeguarding all those involved in this situation, and acknowledge the impact these allegations have on survivors of abuse.”
Erik ten Hag‘s side plays their second game against Crystal Palace in less than a week after beating them 3-0 in the Carabao Cup on Tuesday and while it is not thought Antony will be brought straight back into the team, he will be available for selection moving forward.
United currently sit ninth in the Premier League with three wins and three losses to their name.