Answers to Survey questions.
1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
Liberal Democrats believe that, as a basic principle, individuals should have maximum freedom about how they choose to get treated, so long as the therapy is safe. When it comes to NHS provision, we support a review by NICE into the cost effectiveness of Complementary and Alternative (CAMs) therapies, including homeopathy.
2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
Creationism is not a scientific theory and cannot be taught as an equivalent to evolution, which is. Alternative worldviews can be appropriately explored through religious education.
3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
No. Liberal Democrats believe free speech should not be limited simply because someone might be offended.
4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?
Yes. In order to stop any Government from bullying or mistreating advisers and distorting the evidence or statistics, we will amend the ministerial code, protecting the independence of scientific advisers.
5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
It is an important principle that everyone is subject equally to English law. There should be no alternative to this. Individuals are obviously free to opt in to arbitration procedures , but this remains subject to English law.
6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
Yes. Liberal Democrats support a reduction in animal testing but we believe there is still at present a need for use of animal experiments in medical research.
7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
Policy-makers should weigh up all the evidence when making decisions. Scientific evidence, like any other form of evidence, should be scrutinised and subject to peer review.
8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
I would not vote change of the current time limits, the decision should be for the patient and the clinician .
9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
Liberal Democrats believe that all members of the House of Lords should be elected. We would remove the current seats reserved for Bishops.
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
Yes. We would reform of the English and Welsh libel laws to include a requirement for corporations to show damage and prove malice or recklessness, and by providing a robust responsible journalism defence (commonly known as the ‘Reynolds defence’).