Brian Jenkins

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Brian Jenkins is a Labour Politican. He was the Member of Parliament for Tamworth from 1997 until 2010 when he lost to Conservative candidate Christopher Pincher. Between 1996 and 1997, he was MP for South East Staffordshire before minor boundary changes in 1997.

Mr Jenkins was placed at number 10 in political blogger Dizzy's March 2009 list of "EDM Signature Whores", for signing 621 Early Day Motions compared to fewer than 100 for a typical MP in the same period[1].


Response to Skeptical Voter Candidate Survey 2010

Questions were sent by email and are written exactly as asked. Brian Jenkins' replies received by email on 12/4/10, appear below unedited, spelling mistakes intact.


1. Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven alternative "treatments" such as homeopathy?

Response: In general no unless it can be proven in an individual case it would benefit the patient and be cost effective however this should be the exception


2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?

Response: No, creationism is a philosophy not a science, it should not be taught equally. (Originally said evolution but confirmed by email it was a typo and that he meant creationism.)


3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?

Response: No as ridicule can be part of humour and should be protected, hatred not he other hand should not be allowed.


4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly without fear of being sacked?

Response: Advice to the government is confidential to the Government, if an advisor wishes to make comments independently is he is free to do so from an independent position outside of government.


5. Should Sharia law be allowed as an alternative system within UK law?

Response: No.


6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?

Response: Unfortunately yes in because in limited cases it is absolutely necessary


7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?

Response: This question is not answerable in generalities, I would need a specific case.


8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?

Response: It is part of the consideration that must include other factors as well.


9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?

Response: I voted to abolish an unelected house of lords so no.


10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?

Response: Yes as long as it is in the public interest and not just 'of interest' to the public.

Healthcare

Homeopathy

Jenkins signed was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[2].

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

"When I look to sign EDM’s I always approach them with an open mind and base the decision on which to sign them on common sense. Regardless of whom the sponsor is my, conclusion to either support it or not is based solely on the merits evident.
In the case of this EDM I was able to rely on the excellent research done on behalf of the British Homeopathic Association and Faculty of Homeopathy.
Whilst more research is needed there is a strong evidence base and patients who have experienced homeopathy show high levels of satisfaction. I believe patients should be offered choice within the NHS. Homeopathy in many cases is a form of healthcare that very effectively and, cheaply meets many health needs.
The homeopathic hospitals became part of the NHS when it was founded in 1948 and we were given a commitment by Nye Bevan that homeopathy would continue to be provided in the NHS as long as there were doctors willing to provide it and patients wanting it. Both of these are still the case.
If it were not for the fact the staff at the NHS homeopathic hospitals are all conventionally trained doctors and nurses, I could understand where the sceptics might have a point. These health care professionals have taken it upon themselves to seek additional training in homeopathy and other complementary therapies.
Based on their conventional training they are extremely well placed to assess when homeopathy or other therapies are most appropriate for their patients and when conventional treatment is needed. I am confident that this form of complementary medicine provision is the safe and properly regulated. I have not seen any strong evidence for either reducing the roll homeopathy plays with in the NHS or removing homeopathy in entirety."[3]

Herbal Medicines

Brian Jenkins has signed a number of Early Day Motions that support the use of herbal medicines. These include EDM 1103: Traditional Herbal Medicinal Products Directive (2005)[4], EDM 2080: Herbal Remedies (2008)[5], and EDM 295: Statutory Registration of Herbalists (2009)[6].

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Brian Jenkins voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[7].

Protection of the title of Doctor

In June 2009, the MP signed Early Day Motion 1635, a call for the protection of the title of doctor to avoid confusion caused by the use of the term doctor by practitioners of complementary medicine. [8]

MMR Vaccine

Brian Jenkins 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]

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. [10]

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, Brian Jenkins signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[11]. 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".

In response to an inquiry from a constituent, Jenkins wrote:

"Thank you for your email regarding Early Day Motion 423 “Libel Law Reform” tabled by Evan Harris, I have already signed this EDM. I support reform of Libel laws to help stem the tide of libel litigation that is gagging important matters of public interest, while preserving the right of individuals to protect their reputations.
"I agree that it seems an odd that something published on a foreign website by a foreign writer that was not intended for English viewing can provide grounds for a case in English law. The internet now makes things far more complicated and the courts must tread carefully to both protect free speech and preserve individual’s rights."[12]

Charles Darwin

Brian Jenkins 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."

Climate Change

In January 2010, Brian Jenkins 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"[13].

References

  1. http://dizzythinks.net/2009/03/edm-signature-whores-200809.html
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  3. http://statsdontlie.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/responses-from-signatories-to-homeopathy-motion/
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/1103
  5. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/2080
  6. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/295
  7. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  8. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/1635
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/1770
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  12. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/
  13. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524

External Links