Andrew George

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Andrew George was the Liberal Democrat MP for St Ives from 1997 until he lost the seat at the 2015 general election.

Healthcare

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Andrew George voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks[1].

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007[2] had found no good evidence of change since the limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that this was only one of many factors to be taken into account when legislating, and did not make any recommendations as to how MPs should vote.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Andrew George voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease[3]. 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[4]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[5]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Miracle Cures

In June 2008, the MP signed Early Day Motion 1770, protesting the uncritical promotion by the media of Dore, a claimed miracle cure for dyslexia, in the absence of scientific proof of its value. [6]

Homeopathy

George was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[7].

When asked by journalist Tom Whipple what evidence the MP had used in deciding to support the motion, George responded:

"The question is, did the improvement in a patient’s condition coincide with a homeopathic treatment? In the case of two conditions (eczema and chronic fatigue) constituents are convinced that there was a clear cause and effect. I am not qualified nor do I have the time to determine whether this could be scientifically proven to be down to the clinical effect of the treatment or due to some psycho somatic effect.
The primary purpose behind adding my name to this EDM is to offer an alternative treatment where conventional medicine has failed providing that it can be clinically proven that the homeopathic option will not cause harm.
If the treatment helps some patients then within reasonable financial constraints and ensuring that decisions are fully informed then patients with the support of their GP could be prescribed the homeopathic option."[8]

On 11th March 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", George signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[9]. However, by 25th March he had removed his signature from the Motion.

In May 2011, Andrew George signed Early Day Motion 1820 which welcomed a campaign to "place homeopathy research on the national agenda as a credible scientific field of inquiry" and called for the Government to facilitate research into homeopathy[10].

MMR Vaccine

Andrew George signed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.[11]

Choice at the End of Life

Mr George is a vice-chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Choice at the End of Life[12][13]. "The APPG on Choice at the End of Life is interested in both our current rights at the end of life and also in extending those rights in certain situations and within safeguards. We believe that all people approaching the end of life should have access to good quality palliative care, and have access to clear information on their rights and choices around access to care and treatment decisions. We also believe that terminally ill mentally competent adults should have the option of an assisted death subject to strict safeguards."[14]

Religion

Andrew George signed the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1770 supporting freedom of religion and welcoming the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain[15].

Charles Darwin

Andrew George seconded Early Day Motion 377 noting the achievements of Charles Darwin, and calling for Darwin's birthday to be designated a public holiday to honour "one of the fathers of modern science and one of Britain's greatest, if not the greatest, scientific minds."

Climate Change

In 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. Andrew George replied:

"My Liberal Democrat Parliamentary colleagues and I agree that Climate Change is, as the Government's Chief Scientist Sir David King, has said, the greatest threat to mankind, even greater in the long term than terrorism. That is why we support a Climate Change Bill which would set binding, independently monitored, annual targets for reducing emissions. However, setting targets is not enough and there need to be clear policy measures to achieve these reductions. We are promoting the "green tax switch" to make the polluter pay by increasing green taxes on new high emission vehicles and aircraft, whilst reducing income taxes elsewhere. This is the first major step in a comprehensive plan to cut carbon emissions across the economy currently being worked on by our policy commission which will report to next year's autumn conference."[16]

In January 2010, Andrew George signed Early Day Motion 524: Recognising Climate Change which states that "this House agrees that climate change is happening and is man-made" and calls this statement a "fact, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community"[17].

University Tuition Fees

In December 2010 Andrew George voted against increasing the upper limit on university tuition fees from £3290 per year to £9000 per year[18]. The proposed increase was a response to the Browne Report, published in October of that year, which had proposed a complete removal of any upper limit on fees, together with other measures (largely adopted by the coalition government) to ease the burden of repayment.

Science Funding

In October 2010, Andrew George signed Early Day Motion 767: Science is Vital Campaign. The motion stated that the house "believes that continued investment in research is vital in order to meet the technological and social challenges of the 21st century, and to continue to attract high-tech industries to invest here; further believes that large cuts to science funding are a false economy, due to evidence that research investment fuels economic growth".[19]

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, Andrew George signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[20]. 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.

The motion was tabled following the recent formation of Libel Reform Coalition, which has the backing of Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science. Sense about Science have been campaigning in defense of a member of its board of trustees, author and journalist Simon Singh, who has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes".

Same-Sex Marriage

Andrew George voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[21] and its third reading in May 2013[22].

References

  1. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-20&number=203&mpn=Andrew_George
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Andrew_George
  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.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/1770
  7. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  8. http://statsdontlie.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/responses-from-signatories-to-homeopathy-motion/
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/1820
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  12. http://www.appg-endoflifechoice.org.uk/who_we_are
  13. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/choice-at-the-end-of-life.htm
  14. http://www.appg-endoflifechoice.org.uk/our_aim
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1770
  16. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-what-mps-think--g-to-h-424378.html
  17. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524
  18. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2010-12-09&number=150&mpn=Andrew_George
  19. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  20. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  21. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Andrew_George
  22. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Andrew_George

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