Andrea Leadsom

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Andrea Leadsom is the Conservative MP for South Northamptonshire. She entered Parliament at the 2010 general election when the constituency was created.

Health

In 2010, Andrea Leadsom was one of the MPs to nominate Nadine Dorries for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee.[1]

Abortion

Ms Leadsom voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill on 7 September 2011, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.[2]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Andrea Leadsom voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[3]. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[4]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[5]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.

Massaging Babies' Brains

(Note: The primary source for the story appears to be The Sun quoting an unnamed MP. There appears to be no independent validation.)

In July 2016, during the Conservative Party leadership campaign, it was reported that at a private hustings for Conservative MPs, Ms Leadsom had remarked on the importance of massaging the prefrontal cortex of a baby's brain. This may be a reference to craniosacral therapy, an implausible "therapy" that is not backed by medical evidence.

Sex Education

In May 2011 Ms Leadsom voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill[6]. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity"[7]. It was criticised for only applying to sex education for girls, not boys, with critics also pointing to evidence that abstinence-only sex education (which does not necessarily lead to abstinence itself) does not protect young people from unwanted pregnancies or STIs[8] (although this was not a bill advocating abstinence-only sex education, it would have meant that the only required elements of sex education would be basic information on reproduction[9], plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school)[10]. The Bill passed its first reading by 67 votes to 61, but had little chance of becoming law and was withdrawn in January 2012 shortly before its second reading[11].

October 2011, Ms Leadsom secured a Westminster Hall debate on Sex and Relationship Education, with particular focus on materials used for sex education in primary schools: http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2011-10-25a.25.0

LGBT Issues

Same-Sex Marriage

February 1st 2013: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/02/01/tory-northamptonshire-mp-i-support-the-love-of-gay-couples-but-it-is-unacceptable-for-them-to-be-able-to-marry/

February 5th 2013: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/2013/02/05/andrea-leadsom-mp-who-said-equal-marriage-was-unacceptable-to-positively-abstain-from-vote/

Ms Leadsom spoke in the debate on the second reading of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in February 2013: https://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2013-02-05b.125.0#g221.0

Ms Leadsom abstained by voting both for and against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[12] and its third reading in May 2013[13].

Gay adoption

In a 2007 blog post, Ms Leadsom considered the proposal to exempt Catholic adoption agencies from anti-discrimination laws[14]. She stated that "there may be a statistically strong case for preferring a married man and woman as potential adopters" and suggested "a 'points' system for potential adopters, that took into account the statistical success rate of their particular profile (e.g. married, divorced, single, gay etc)." However, she also noted that she knew of "a gay couple, who, if they had a child, would be wonderfully loving and kind parents." She stated her belief that couples should not be ruled out for being gay, and concluded by saying "we should not be letting Catholic adoption agencies be exempt from the anti-discrimination laws."

In a 2009 blog post, Ms Leadsom wrote of a news story in which it was reported that two children had been turned down for adoption by their grandparents, and instead placed with another couple[15]. As an aside, Ms Leadsom noted "And as if that weren't enough, the two strangers are a gay couple, who have been selected ahead of several heterosexual couples."

Marriage and Children's Safety

In November 2008, Ms Leadson posted a blog entry titled "Marriage IS KEY to the safety of our society - what is the media playing at?"[16]. In it she expressed the opinion that the media should "get behind the importance of solid, enduring adult relationships supported by the law" in order to "begin to rectify the damage being done to thousands of childrens' lives". In her final paragraph she stated that "The self indulgence and carelessness of non-committed adult relationships is, as we've just seen in the extreme case of Baby P, proving fatal to the next generation".

Climate Change and Fracking

In October 2015, Ms Leadsom told a journalist from DrillOrDrop.com that:

"When I first came to this job [Minister of State for Energy] one of my two questions was: 'Is climate change real?' and the other was 'Is hydraulic fracturing safe?' And on both of those questions I now am completely persuaded."[17]

Online Censorship

In August 2012, Ms Leadson contributed a short article to New Statesman in support of increased online censorship[18]. In the article she proposed several methods of how this could be achieved, for example, in her final paragraph she wrote:

"There is a view that the internet is in need of a monitor for obscene and adult websites. Outside of cyberspace, we have bodies such as Ofcom and the British Board of Film Classification that continually work to ensure our children are not exposed to the wrong things. This could be implemented in some way online, whereby a website would have to have its content "rated" before being accessible online. While it sounds like a massive leap, the majority of new websites already go through testing when they are hosted to make sure that a site is intact and that files and content are free of viruses. This would simply be adding another check to the list, and in reality it is a burden already carried by film makers."

References

  1. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Committee-Commons-Nominees.pdf
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  3. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Andrea_Leadsom
  4. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  6. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110504/debtext/110504-0001.htm#stpa_o51
  7. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/sexeducationrequiredcontent.html
  8. http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=2325
  9. http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/what-do-we-want-from-sex-and-relationships-education/
  10. http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/abstain-from-abstinence-please-dorries.html
  11. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/20/nadine-dorries-sexual-abstinence-bill-withdrawn
  12. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Andrea_Leadsom
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Andrea_Leadsom
  14. http://www.andrealeadsom.com/working-for-you/andrea%27s-blog/still-thinking-about-the-catholic-adoption-agencies/60 (FreezePage)
  15. http://www.andrealeadsom.com/working-for-you/andrea%27s-blog/what-has-gone-wrong-with-our-adoption-policies/152 (FreezePage)
  16. http://www.andrealeadsom.com/working-for-you/andrea%27s-blog/marriage-is-key-to-the-safety-of-our-society/148 (FreezePage)
  17. https://drillordrop.com/2015/10/26/energy-minister-theres-no-difference-between-men-and-women-on-fracking/
  18. http://www.newstatesman.com/blogs/voices/2012/08/should-we-step-online-censorship

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