Education secretary Nicky Morgan, who is a Christian, had previously said such treatments should be banned.

Speaking at the PinkNews Awards, Mrs Morgan, who is also minister for Women and Equalities, said: ‘I was shocked to discover that one in ten social and health care staff have heard colleagues express the belief that someone can be cured of being gay.

‘Let me be clear: gay cure therapies have no place in our countries and we must stamp them out.’

But a spokesperson said that while the government was ‘strongly opposed’ to the treatment it did not believe a ban or restriction was the right answer.

Commentator on Christianity and sexuality Rev Peter Ould told Premier that real evidence is needed: ‘If Nicky Morgan wants to ban any kind of therapy she actually needs to present the British public with some good evidence that it is harmful, that it doesn’t work – if we don’t have that evidence we can’t do anything about it.’

Meanwhile campaign group Christian Concern has published a letter to MPs outlining the benefits of the therapy being readily available.

The letter, signed by the president of the American College of Pediatricians and several psychiatrists, calls for MPs to ‘protect the freedom of individuals to choose to access therapeutic help with unwanted samesex attraction’.

It states that ‘scientific evidence shows that there is a significant amount of change in same-sex attraction for both males and females, particularly during adolescence and early adulthood’.