Alan Whitehead

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Alan Whitehead is the Labour MP for Southampton, Test. He entered Parliament at the 1997 general election.

Climate Change

In a September 2013 Westminster Hall debate on the Climate Change Act 2008, responding to a number of MPs who spoke against the Act, Alan Whitehead said of the debate so far: is based on a fundamental misunderstanding of what science does. There is no final, settled scientific position on climate change; nor is there such a settled position on virtually any other major issue in science. That is how science works. It is based on hypotheses and their refutation, and further hypotheses. As far as scientific hypotheses go, and as far as the debate in the scientific community is concerned, the idea that anthropogenic global warming is clearly producing substantial change in the climate—not the weather, but the climate—is, relatively, one of the most certain.
For example, there are continued debates about the nature of gravity. We are not certain how it works. There have at times been fluctuations in the gravitational field but I noticed hon. Members being careful to take account of gravity when they entered the Chamber and to keep their actions on the right side of science. That is what we need to do in relation to global warming. We shall shortly see from the IPCC fifth report that there is an overwhelming, if not complete, case for considering that substantial global warming not only happened through the industrialisation period, but is cumulatively in store for the world, as the result of anthropogenic activity.[1]
...I hope that we shall continue to inform our policy on the basis of the science that is before us. To do otherwise would be to fly in the face of the problem that we know we shall have if we do not take action over a period.[1]

Dr Whitehead is chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Renewable and Sustainable Energy Group[2].


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Alan Whitehead voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[3].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Alan Whitehead 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[4]. 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[5]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[6]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Postcode Database Issue

I asked about his policy on making the postcode database public. Here's the response I got from Alan Whitehead: "I feel that the postcode conversion should be deemed a public service that everyone can use, and as such I support the governments position on this matter." [7] (Christopher Gutteridge, Southampton. 08:04, 17 November 2009 (UTC))

Same-Sex Marriage

Alan Whitehead voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[8] and its third reading in May 2013[9].


  1. 1.0 1.1
  7. Snapshot of letter: (dead link 2014-01-09)

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