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A ban with no exemptions

Written by Javier Maquieira, senior associate 
Edited by Kevin Pringle, senior partner
17 February 2022

Good morning,

Conversion “therapy” currently happens in a myriad of countries in all regions of the world, with perpetrators ranging from private and public mental healthcare providers to faith-based organisations and traditional healers.
 
These practices, which claim to aim to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity, are generally promoted by family and community members, but also political authorities in some instances.
 
According to the UN independent expert on protection against violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, conversion therapy can cause LGBTQI+ people significant loss of self-esteem, anxiety, social isolation, and suicidal ideation and attempts, among other psychological and physical harms.
 
On Tuesday evening, New Zealand became the latest country to ban conversion practices following an almost unanimous vote in parliament, and after the justice select committee received nearly 107,000 public submissions on the law. This was the highest number of public submissions ever received on a piece of legislation in a country with the highest youth suicide rate in the OECD, which happens to be higher among LGBTQI+ youth.
 
The end of conversion therapy was one of Jacinda Ardern’s campaign promises when the New Zealand prime minister was elected for a second term last year. In response to the new law, the human rights commission will establish a conversion practices response service team and civil redress scheme for those who have experienced conversion practices in the past.
 
Laws against conversion practices have been gaining momentum around the world. In the UK, the consultation on the UK government’s proposals closed a couple of weeks ago, while the Scottish parliament has been calling for an immediate ban on the “traumatising” practice in Scotland, with the recommendations being welcomed as a fully comprehensive prohibition.
 
Campaigners are now urging ministers to ensure any forthcoming UK-wide ban on conversion practices does not contain a loophole allowing those who received “informed consent” from their victims to evade justice. For all harms surrounding conversion practices to end, the only way forward is a ban with no exemptions.

News

Storm Dudley has hit Scotland and northern England, causing massive disruption. All trains in Scotland were cancelled yesterday while large parts of northern England were left without power. More severe weather is expected on Friday with the arrival of storm Eunice.
 
Nato and the US have refuted President Putin’s claim that Russia is withdrawing troops from the borders of Ukraine. Intelligence instead appears to suggest 7,000 Russian troops have moved into the area, taking the total number to 150,000.
 
The Liberal Democrats will next week attempt to force the release of Sue Gray’s report into alleged parties at Downing Street during lockdown. The party’s MPs will use a humble address, which, if it passes, will require the government to release the requested information.

Business and economy

Google has announced it will stop tracking advertisers across apps on Android phones, following Apple who made similar moves recently. Google representatives stated the company wanted to “raise the bar for user privacy” and will investigate new methods of protecting user data in a major blow to Facebook. (£)
 
Amazon and Visa have resolved their dispute over payment fees and Amazon will now accept Visa credit cards again across all of its sites. Visa has said it is “pleased” with the new agreement and talked of a new “joint commitment to collaboration on new product and technology initiatives”.
 
Bankers at Standard Chartered have split a bonus pot of $1.37bn, a payout which is up 38% despite the bank setting out plans to cut its annual expenses by $1.5bn. The bank has said the payout represents a “normalisation of bonuses” after a more “lean” 2020.

Columns of note

Iain Martin writes in The Times that Britain is “stiffening western resolve” when it comes to Putin and argues that UK pressure on Nato to take a tougher stance over the possible Ukraine invasion is beginning to make a tangible difference. (£)
 
Laura Martin asks “what can we learn from Anna Delvey” in The Guardian today, and suggests the new Netflix TV hit Inventing Anna is a “sympathetic” portrayal of the convicted con artist.

Markets

What happened yesterday?

US stocks rebounded yesterday after the Federal Reserve released minutes of its latest meeting. These appeared to discount the possibility that the central bank was planning a ‘super-size’ interest rate increase. The S&P 500 closed 0.1% higher, having fallen 0.7% earlier in the day. The Nasdaq Composite slipped 0.1% for the day, having fallen 1.2% before the central bank’s update.
 
In Europe, the Stoxx 600 index closed flat after a variable day while, in London, the FTSE 100 closed down 0.1%. Asia saw stronger markets with Hong Kong’s Hang Seng gaining 1.5% and Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 adding 2.2%.
 
The pound was trading at 1.20 euros and 1.36 dollars.

What’s happening today?

Final results
Harbourvest Global Private Equity (HVPE)
Reckitt Benckiser Group Plc (RKT)
Standard Chartered plc (STAN)
 
Trading announcements
AVEVA Group plc (AVV)
Safestore Holdings (SAFE)
 
Interim results
Diverse Income Trust plc (The) (DIVI)

AGMs
Chrysalis Investments Limited (CHRY)
Highway Capital (HWC)
Virgin Money UK plc (VMUK)
Watkin Jones plc (WJG)
 
GMs
Oilex Limited (OEX)
 
Intl economic announcements
Building Permits (US) – 13:30:00
Continuing Claims (US) – 13:30:00
Housing Starts (US) – 13:30:00
Initial Jobless Claims (US) – 13:30:00
Philadelphia Fed Index (US) – 13:30:00

Source: Financial Times

did you know

Between April 2020 and March 2021, six UK train stations recorded no passengers at all.

Parliamentary highlights

House of Commons

The House of Commons is in recess and will next sit on 21 February 2022.

House of Lords 

The House of Lords is in recess and will next sit on 21 February 2022.

Scottish parliament 

The Scottish parliament is in recess and will next sit on 20 February 2022.

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