Born in Salisbury, Bailey was educated at Cheltenham Grammar School before going on to university at the University of Exeter, graduating in 1967 with an Honours Degree in Economic History. Subsequently he trained at the Loughborough College of Librarianship and graduated in 1971 with a postgraduate diploma in Librarianship. From 1971-1982 he was employed as a professional librarian by Cheshire County Council and from 1973 to 1982 he also worked as a librarian and teacher of study skills in a Cheshire Comprehensive school.
Bailey was elected as a councillor for Sandwell Borough Council in 1991 and was its Deputy Leader from 1997-2000. In 2000, Bailey was elected to parliament in a by-election after the resignation of former Speaker, Betty Boothroyd.
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Adrian Bailey voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus.
In February 2015 Adrian Bailey voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. After clearing both Houses, mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.
Following the adverts bought by the Atheist Bus Campaign on public transport in January 2009, Adrian Bailey signed Early Day Motion 403 calling the adverts "religiously offensive and morally unhelpful".
Libel Law Reform
In January 2010, Adrian Bailey signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law. The motion noted that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are currently prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of the law.
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