Ann Widdecombe

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Ann Widdecombe was the Conservative MP for Maidstone and The Weald until standing down in 2010.

Homeopathy

Ann Widdecombe was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[1].

In March 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", Widdecombe signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[2].

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Ann Widdecombe voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[3]. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.

Blasphemy Law

On 6th May 2008, Ann Widdecombe voted (as a teller) against a Lords amendment to abolish the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel[4]. The amendment was nonetheless passed by a vote of 378 to 57.

During the debate on the amendment[5][6], Widdecombe spoke in favour of keeping the blasphemy laws. Talking about the use or non-use of the laws, she stated that '"Jerry Springer: The Opera" could and should have been prosecuted because it was so extreme.'[7][8]. She also opined that "We have an established Church, and when I asked whether the Government wanted to abolish it, the Minister shook her head. If we call such protection discrimination, there is already discrimination built into our law. If we have an established Church, we need laws that reflect that." and "I fear that if it is taken away, the inevitable result will be a huge outpouring of what we consider blasphemy, directed particularly against the Christian faith."[9][10]

Creationism

In August 2010, Widdecombe wrote an article for the Daily Express titled "Don't Condemn All Debate as Religious Propaganda"[11]. In it she defended the awarding of an education quality badge to Noah's Ark Zoo Farm. The zoo provides creationist material on its website[12], and also links Hitler, Stalin and Mao's ideas to evolutionary theory, and states that "Free sex with anyone was a 19th and early 20th century humanist aim"[13].

Libel Law Reform

In January 2010, Ann Widdecombe signed the amended Early Day Motion 423A1 calling for a reform of the English libel law[14]. 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 amended version added a statement of the belief that "libel laws discriminate against average and low paid people when victims of defamatory comment in the pages of national publications".

References

  1. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  4. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-06&number=170&display=allvotes
  5. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2008-05-06b.599.0#g638.2
  6. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080506/debtext/80506-0014.htm#08050643000165
  7. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debate/?id=2008-05-06b.649.4
  8. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080506/debtext/80506-0015.htm#08050643000220
  9. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debate/?id=2008-05-06b.649.2
  10. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200708/cmhansrd/cm080506/debtext/80506-0015.htm#08050643000218
  11. http://www.dailyexpress.co.uk/posts/view/192408/Don-t-condemn-all-debate-as-religious-propaganda/
  12. http://www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk/pages/research/research.php
  13. http://www.noahsarkzoofarm.co.uk/pages/research/12-charles-darwin/darwin.php
  14. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423#423A1

External Links