Bob Russell

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Bob Russell was the Liberal Democrat MP for Colchester from 1997 until 2015.

Healthcare

Alternative Medicine

Bob Russell was a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare.[1]

Homeopathy

Bob Russell seconded the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[2].

Following the publication of the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy" in February 2010, Russell seconded Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[3].

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Bob Russell voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[4]. 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.

Bob Russell also supported Nadine Dorries's Termination of Pregnancy Private Member's Bill[5].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Bob Russell 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[6]. 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[7]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[8]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

MMR Vaccine

Bob Russell 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.[9]

University Tuition Fees

In December 2010 Bob Russell voted against increasing the upper limit on university tuition fees from £3290 per year to £9000 per year[10]. 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.

Same-Sex Marriage

Mr Russell voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013[11], and voted in favour as a teller at its third reading in May 2013[12].

Charles Darwin

Bob Russell was one of 79 MPs who signed 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."

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, Bob Russell 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.

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".

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/integrated-healthcare.htm
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  4. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills/200607/termination_of_pregnancy.htm
  6. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Bob_Russell
  7. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  10. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2010-12-09&number=150&mpn=Bob_Russell
  11. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Bob_Russell
  12. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Bob_Russell

External Links