Skeptical Voter questionnaire
In the run-up to the 2010 General Election, Andy Slaughter was asked the following questions by a constituent:
1) Do you think the government should fund faith schools?
2) Should publicly funded faith schools be allowed to discriminate in their admissions and employment?
3) Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
4) How would you vote on assisted dying for the terminally ill?
5) Should anti-discrimination and equality legislation make religious groups exempt from regulations that other organisations would have to follow?
6) Should religious leaders have privileged access to decision makers?
7) Would you vote to retain or remove bishops from the House of Lords?
8) Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven alternative "treatments" such as homeopathy?
9) Should Sharia law be allowed as an alternative system within UK law?
10) Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
His responses were:
1) I wouldn't start from where we are, but it's not practical to get rid of them, as long as they're not sectarian. I see no need for religious interests to be given a controlling interest in state education, but the status quo is the result of a long gestation period and secularization, if it is to be effective and permanent will take a similarly long time to evolve.
4) In principle I would support measures such as Lord Joffe's Assisted Dying bill,which I supported, and Patricia Hewitt's amendment to the Coroners and Justice Bill.
6) No more than any other representatives.
8) I don't think public funds should be available to anything taht cannot be independently scientifically verified.
9) I have no problem with it as a form of dispute resolution, like arbitration, provided it is subject to English law. There can only be one overarching legal system - the notion of an "alternative law" is meaningless.
10) Yes - i'm actively campaigning for this.
Andy Slaughter was also asked about A) Electoral reform B) Lords reform and C) Iraq:
A) Yes - I am persuaded that (STV would enable people who voted for minority parties to cast their vote without feeling they were wasting it, and result would reflect more of an electorate's opinion????) B) I would like it abolished. An elected second chamber would make government - and holding governments to account - less effective that it already is, and I think we have enough elected representatives in the country anyway. C) I was not an MP in 2003, but my opposition to the invasion of Iraq at the time is a matter of public record.
Andy Slaughter 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.
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Andy Slaughter voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus.
In February 2015 Andy Slaughter 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.
In February 2010, Andy Slaughter 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".
In October 2010, Andy Slaughter 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".
Libel Law Reform
In March 2010, Andy Slaughter 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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