In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Charles Hendry voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007 had found no good evidence of change since the limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that this was only one of many factors to be taken into account when legislating, and did not make any recommendations as to how MPs should vote.
In February 2015 Charles Hendry 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.
Animals in Medical Research
In 2006, Charles Hendry signed Early Day Motion 1850: Animals in Medical Research which noted that "animal research is only permitted where there is no better alternative and that pain and suffering are minimised and balanced against the potential benefit to humans and animals", supported "the building of the new state of the art biomedical research laboratory at Oxford University", condemned "unlawful animal rights extremism, including any violence, harassment or intimidation of those associated with lawful animal research", and supported "the well-regulated use of animals in medical research".
Charles Hendry was Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change from the May 2010 general election until September 2012.
Mr Hendry has signed a number of Early Day Motions which seem to indicate that he is largely in agreement with the scientific consensus on climate change. These include EDM 689: Solar Energy (signed March 2009), EDM 148: Food Miles (signed April 2008), and EDM 222: Microgeneration And Local Energy Bill (signed November 2007).
In June 2011, with many questioning the use of nuclear power in the wake of the Fukushima Daiichi disaster, the coalition government announced plans for new nuclear plants in the UK. Hendry, as Energy Minister, was quoted as saying:
- "Around a quarter of the UK's generating capacity is due to close by the end of this decade. We need to replace this with secure, low carbon, affordable energy."
In a Parliamentary debate on 11th July 2005 on an amendment to the Racial and Religious Hatred Bill that excluded groups including Satanists, Scientologists, "believers in female genital mutilation to live in accordance with the rules of a religion" and others from certain protections, Hendry said:
- "I hope my hon. Friend will understand that although Scientology may be very controversial, people who are Scientologists find it profoundly offensive to be included in that list. As he may be aware, Scientologists in this country are based in East Grinstead, which is just outside my constituency, and many hundreds of my constituents are Scientologists. They will be mystified by their inclusion in such a list, particularly as many other groups, such as those who practise voodoo, are not included."
- "I am not familiar with the details of Scientology as a religion or as a set of beliefs, and having heard the Minister's comments earlier, it would be hard to decide on which side of that boundary it would fall. Those who practise Scientology would say that it is a religion, but many others would contest that. Undoubtedly, as human beings they do a great deal of good. I have seen for myself their project to take people away from drug addiction and their work to encourage methods other than medical technology and medicine to deal with children with conditions such as hyperactivity and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder."
- "...as an organisation, Scientology has gone through serious hoops in terms of ensuring that it has the right to broadcast on television by satisfying the Independent Television Commission that it is not a cult."
The BBC noted that: "Mr Hendry said he was not expressing a personal opinion and that his comments were intended to represent the views of his Scientology constituents".