Daniel Kawczynski

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Daniel Kawczynski is the Conservative MP for Shrewsbury and Atcham. He entered Parliament at the 2005 general election.

Healthcare

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Daniel Kawczynski voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks[1]. 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[2] 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.

Mr Kawczynski voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill on 7 September 2011, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.[3]

In October 2012, following Jeremy Hunt's remarks on reducing the abortion limit, Mr Kawczynski was quoted as saying:

"There will be many of us who will never stop campaigning to reduce the limit. For as long as I am a Member of Parliament, I will never give up this fight."[4]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Daniel Kawczynski voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[5]. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[6]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[7]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.

Homeopathy

Daniel Kawczynski was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[8].

Kawcaynski replied to a query by a constituent on why he signed the motion:

"I am aware that there are differing views on the provision of homeopathic remedies, with some arguing that there is not enough evidence to support their availability via the NHS, while others argue that greater access to complementary therapies in the NHS might lead to widespread benefits.
According to the Department of Health, about half of GPs are thought to refer patients to alternative therapists - indicating that many health professionals see Homeopathy is worthwhile for their patients needs. Indeed, Homeopathy has been available on the NHS since the 1940s and is found by many patients who use it to make a difference where other medicines do not work.
Conservatives believe that the NHS should not rule out providing alternative therapies. All therapies should be considered equally, and decisions on whether or not to provide them on the NHS should be evidence-based, as is the case with all other conventional medicines and treatments.
Homeopathy and alternative treatments are a valuable resource for doctors to be able to draw on when offering treatments and, where a doctor and a patient believe that a homeopathic treatment may be of benefit to the patient, I believe doctors should be free to prescribe that medicine. The Government repeatedly tells us that the NHS is 'patient-led', meaning that alternative therapies ought to be available where they are wanted and prove cost - and clinically - effective."[9]

Nomination of David Tredinnick for Health Committee Chair

In June 2015 Daniel Kawczynski was one of 19 MPs to nominate David Tredinnick for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee[10]. Mr Tredinnick's advocacy of alternative medicine is well known and only four months earlier his view that astrology could have a role in reducing pressure on doctors had been widely reported (e.g. here).

MMR Vaccine

Daniel Kawczynski 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.[11]

Same-Sex Marriage

2012 news report on his initial indecision: http://www.shropshirestar.com/news/2012/12/10/same-sex-marriage-decision-for-shrewsbury-mp-daniel-kawczynski/

Mr Kawczynski voted for the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its Second Reading in February 2013[12], and at its Third Reading in May 2013[13].

Religion

Cornerstone Group

Daniel Kawczynski is a member of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party that describes itself as believing in "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation's sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state."[14]. Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.

Blasphemy Law

On 6th May 2008, Daniel Kawczynski voted against a Lords amendment to abolish the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel[15]. The amendment was nonetheless passed by a vote of 378 to 57.

Libel Law Reform

In January 2010, Daniel Kawczynski signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[16]. 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 response to an inquiry from a constituent, a member of staff from Kawczynski's office wrote:

"Daniel entirely understands your concerns over the current Libel laws, and has added his support to the campaign to reform them by signing EDM 423. Daniel has also had a meeting with Rt Hon Jack Straw MP on the subject, as one of his constituents is currently facing legal action as a result of the libel laws as they stand."[17]

References

  1. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-20&number=199&mpn=Daniel_Kawczynski
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  4. http://www.itv.com/news/update/2012-10-06/tory-mp-hunt-comments-re-ignite-abortion-fight/
  5. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Daniel_Kawczynski
  6. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  8. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  9. http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/08/state-sponsored-quackery.html
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/commons-select/health-committee/chair-nominations1/
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  12. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Daniel_Kawczynski
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Daniel_Kawczynski
  14. http://cornerstonegroup.wordpress.com/about/
  15. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-06&number=170&display=allvotes
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  17. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/

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