David Cameron was the Conservative MP for Witney from the 2001 general election until he stood down in September 2016. He was Conservative Party leader from December 2005 until July 2016 (resigning following the referendum on membership of the EU), and Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from the 2010 general election until July 2016.
- 1 Abortion
- 2 Mitochondrial Donation
- 3 Climate Change
- 4 Religion
- 5 Use of Statistics
- 6 Evidence-Based Policy
- 7 LGBT Rights
- 8 Science and Engineering Policy
- 9 Contraception in Developing Countries
- 10 Encrypted Communication
- 11 References
- 12 External Links
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), David Cameron 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 an interview in the Catholic Herald in April 2010, Mr Cameron answered a question on reducing the abortion limit saying that "I think that the way medical science and technology have developed in the past few decades does mean that an upper limit of 20 or 22 weeks would be sensible. So I supported the two amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill which would have changed this and I’ll continue to support a modest reduction in the abortion limit." He added that he would allow a free vote on this issue.
In February 2015 David Cameron 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.
In 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. David Cameron replied:
- "1: It's vital. We must make the green agenda central to everything we do and, in that agenda, climate change is the issue which overrides all others. It is the biggest threat facing our planet, and our generation will rightly be judged on our response to it.
- 2: We potentially have a huge role to play on the world stage putting the case for a proper successor to Kyoto based on clear targets and including all the major carbon-producing countries of the world. But we need to start by getting our own house in order. Carbon emissions have risen for five of the past eight years and we are not currently on track to meet our domestic target for 2010."
In January 2010 David Cameron was quoted as saying "I think faith schools are an important part of our system, I support them and I would like if anything to see them grow," and "I think faith organisations bring often a sort of culture and ethos to a school that can help it improve and I'm a strong supporter personally and politically."
In an interview in the Catholic Herald in April 2010, Mr Cameron answered a question on sex education at Catholic schools saying that "schools should be allowed to teach it in a way that's consistent with their beliefs, and parents should be free to decide whether or not their children should take part in these lessons". He added "I'm a big supporter of faith schools and I think it's really important that their rights are protected in this way."
King James Bible and Religion/Secularism in Society
In December 2011 Mr Cameron delivered a speech on the 400th anniversary of the King James Bible to an audience of Church of England members. He praised it first as a literary work (similar sentiments have been expressed by secularists such as Richard Dawkins). He then noted its contributions to improvements in human rights:
- "… when each and every individual is related to a power above all of us … and when every human being is of equal and infinite importance, created in the very image of God … we get the irrepressible foundation for equality and human rights … a foundation that has seen the Bible at the forefront of the emergence of democracy, the abolition of slavery … and the emancipation of women – even if not every church has always got the point!"
The greater part of his speech focused on the role of religion, rather than on the Bible. He outlined his view of Britain as a "Christian country", praising a number of widely-held human values, but labelling them "Christian":
- "Responsibility, hard work, charity, compassion, humility, self-sacrifice, love … pride in working for the common good and honouring the social obligations we have to one another, to our families and our communities … these are the values we treasure. Yes, they are Christian values. And we should not be afraid to acknowledge that. But they are also values that speak to us all – to people of every faith and none. And I believe we should all stand up and defend them."
He criticised secularism:
- "Many people tell me it is much easier to be Jewish or Muslim here in Britain than it is in a secular country like France. Why? Because the tolerance that Christianity demands of our society provides greater space for other religious faiths too. And because many of the values of a Christian country are shared by people of all faiths and indeed by people of no faith at all."
He praised faith as a moral force:
- "Let’s be clear. Faith is neither a necessary nor sufficient condition for morality. There are Christians who don’t live by a moral code. And there are atheists and agnostics who do. But for people who do have a faith, their faith can be a helpful prod in the right direction. And whether inspired by faith or not – that direction, that moral code, matters."
And expressed the view that secularism has not acted to combat religious extremism:
- "…when it comes to fighting violent extremism, the almost fearful passive tolerance of religious extremism that has allowed segregated communities to behave in ways that run completely counter to our values … has not contained that extremism but allowed it to grow and prosper … in the process blackening the good name of the great religions that these extremists abuse for their own purposes. Put simply, for too long we have been unwilling to distinguish right from wrong. “Live and let live” has too often become “do what you please”. Bad choices have too often been defended as just different lifestyles. To be confident in saying something is wrong … is not a sign of weakness, it’s a strength. But we can’t fight something with nothing. As I’ve said if we don’t stand for something, we can’t stand against anything."
2014 Easter Reception Speech
"But I think the 3 things I want to focus on – and I hope we can all work on this – the first is to expand the role of faith and faith organisations in our country. This has been a consistent theme of this government; I’m sure there’s more we could do to help make it easier for faith organisations."
Church Times Article
Shortly after giving the speech above, Mr Cameron contributed an opinion piece to the Church Times: http://www.churchtimes.co.uk/articles/2014/17-april/comment/opinion/my-faith-in-the-church-of-england
Use of Statistics
Election 2010 Debates
On 15th April 2010 the three main party leaders, David Cameron, Gordon Brown and Nick Clegg, participated in a television debate. The independent Full Fact fact-checking organisation examined statements made by all the participants, and in the case of David Cameron concluded that "David Cameron perhaps didn’t rely on the use of facts and statistics to as great a degree as Gordon Brown. However when he did bring them into play, he seems to have sourced them well. The main point of contention will undoubtedly be with his claim on the relative ‘death rates’ for cancer in the UK and Bulgaria".
Cancer Deaths Claim
In April 2011 the coalition government released a document titled "Working together for a stronger NHS" which included the claim that "If the NHS was performing at truly world-class levels we would save an extra 5,000 lives from cancer every year" (page 7). The reference for this claim was examined by Ben Goldacre who found that it didn't support the claim.
On 17th June 2011 it was reported that the Advertising Standards Authority would be ruling on a complaint relating to the April leaflet.
The Future Jobs Fund: http://notthetreasuryview.blogspot.co.uk/2012/11/the-future-jobs-fund-what-waste.html
In an interview in the Catholic Herald in April 2010, Mr Cameron was asked about "promoting the nuclear family, ie, husband and wife". In his response however, Mr Cameron made no special mention of "husband and wife", instead emphasising his support for "all families" and talking about the possibility of recognising both marriage and civil partnerships in the tax system.
In May 2010 Mr Cameron was reported to have given his support to Philippa Stroud, the Conservative candidate for the Sutton and Cheam seat who founded a church that purported to "cure" gay and transexual people through exorcising their "demons" through prayer.
In October 2011, in a speech at the Conservative Party conference, Mr Cameron said "I don't support gay marriage in spite of being a Conservative. I support gay marriage because I am a Conservative."
In July 2012 Mr Cameron addressed a reception of LGBT people at Downing Street in which he stated that he was determined to legislate for gay marriage in the current parliament. The proposed legislation would be for civil marriages only and would not allow same-sex religious marriages.
Science and Engineering Policy
In April 2010, David Cameron responded to a letter from the Campaign for Science and Engineering in the UK asking about how the Conservative Party would promote science and technology research, education, and its use in business, in society and within the government.
Contraception in Developing Countries
Mr Cameron gave a speech at the July 2012 London Summit on Family Planning. Ahead of the summit, the Lancet had published a Family Planning Series which showed "how lack of access to family planning carries a huge price, not only in terms of women's and children's health and survival but also in economic terms".
As part of the summit the UK government pledged $800m (£516m) over 8 years. The talk at the summit was mostly around contraception; it is not known if money has been made available only for contraception/education.
- Commentary: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-30794953
- Commentary: http://boingboing.net/2015/01/13/what-david-cameron-just-propos.html
- "PM Backpedals": http://techcrunch.com/2015/01/13/politics-meet-technology/
- http://www.number10.gov.uk/news/prime-ministers-speech-on-family-planning/ or here