Bernard Jenkin is the Conservative MP for Harwich and North Essex. He entered Parliament at the 1992 general election as MP for Colchester North and was subsequently MP for North Essex, both constituencies now abolished.
In August 2010, the London Evening Standard ran an article on the Alternative Vote by Bernard Jenkin MP, one of the leading figures in the "No" Campaign and refused electoral reformers the right to reply to Jenkin's piece. [Citation required for refusal to run a reply article]
In May 2011 Jenkin answered press questions on the forthcoming AV referendum. He stated that the cost of introducing AV would be £250 million, a figure which includes £91 million associated with running the already ongoing referendum itself, and £130 million for electronic vote counting. The need for counting machines in an AV system has been widely questioned with similar systems used in Scotland and Australia without the need for automated counting
Libel Law Reform
In January 2010, Bernard Jenkin 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.
In 2009 Jenkin seconded Early Day Motion 445: Rainforests And Climate Change, and signed Early Day Motion 689: Solar Energy. Both motions imply an acceptance of climate change, the first "notes that deforestation already accounts for 20 per cent. of global carbon dioxide emissions each year and that curbing deforestation is one of the single most effective ways of halting catastrophic climate change", while the second "notes that globally solar photovoltaic (PV) will be a key climate change mitigation technology and that solar PV in the UK can play an important role in contributing to the UK 2020 renewable energy target".
In May 2011 Mr Jenkin voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity". 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 (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, plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school). 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.
Mr Jenkin was one of a number of Conservative Party MPs to sign a December 2012 letter to the Telegraph in support of same-sex marriage. It also noted:
- "We feel strongly that religious freedom must be protected. This means that religious groups should be allowed to conduct same sex marriages if they choose, but equally none should be compelled to do so."
In April 2010, during the general election campaign, Jenkin wrote a blog post criticising the Liberal Democrat policy of not replacing the Trident nuclear deterrent. He described them saying that it would "save £100 billion" as dishonest since it omitted mentioning that this was over the 35-year lifetime of the new submarines, and that Trident was in fact "extraordinarily good value". He also stated that the Liberal Democrat policy was, in fact, though not officially, to replace Trident with something else, but what their new system will be is unclear and hence uncosted. Going on to defending a Trident replacement he stated that submarines were superior to land-based systems as "submarines remain undetectable and therefore invulnerable when at sea", and that proposed submarine-launched subsonic missiles were "too slow for a first strike, and too vulnerable to interception".
In February 2015 Bernard Jenkin 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.
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