David Drew

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David Drew is the Labour Party candidate for Stroud in the 2015 general election. He was previously MP for the constituency from 1997 until 2010, when he lost the seat to Neil Carmichael (Conservative).

While in Parliament, David Drew was one of fifteen MPs on the Ecclesiastical Committee,[1] which considers measures passed by the General Synod of the Church of England.

Mr Drew was placed at number 9 in political blogger Dizzy's March 2009 list of "EDM Signature Whores", for signing 638 Early Day Motions compared to fewer than 100 for a typical MP in the same period[2].

Biographical background

David Drew was born in Gloucestershire, and was educated at the Kingsfield School, Kingswood before attending the University of Nottingham. Drew was awarded a Bachelor of Arts degree in economics in 1974, and the University of Birmingham where he qualified as a teacher and received his Postgraduate Certificate in Education in 1976. He graduated with an MA in historical studies in 1988. He was awarded a Master of Education from the University of the West of England in 1994. He is currently (2014) undertaking a part-time PhD investigating rural policy and politics[3].

Mr Drew began his career as a teacher at the Princethorpe College. In 1986 he left teaching at school to become a senior lecturer in education at the University of West England, where he remained until his election to Westminster.

Article for CaSE

In the run-up to the 2015 general election, the Campaign for Science and Engineering (CaSE) invited candidates to contribute posts saying why science and engineering was important to them and the UK. David Drew's response can be read at: http://sciencecampaign.org.uk/?p=17431

Healthcare

Homeopathy

Mr Drew was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[4].

When asked by journalist Tom Whipple what evidence the MP had used in deciding to support the motion, Drew responded, "My experience comes from a very good homeopathic GP surgery in Stroud which has a good reputation for treating health problems that traditional medicine has failed to treat." [5]

Mr Drew also replied to a query from a constituent regarding his support of the motion:

"I am surprised at how hard you are on homeopathic medicine. This has a part to play, albeit not a central one to our heath provision. By chance, I have seen how the St Lukes Medical Centre has flourished in Stroud, and it now has a good link to mainstream GP practices, as well as to the secondary sector including homeopathic hospitals. I never rule-out what I may not use, but know thousands of constituents appreciate rather than denying the effectiveness recent research has pointed to their value albeit on a more marginal scale than for orthodox medicine."[6]

After a second email to the MP, Mr Drew responded again:

"Thank you for your further email. I have made my own study of homeopathy. It has a limited but nevertheless important role to play for some people. I have referred a small number of people who have come to me as constituents in the field of mental health and this has helped them. My understanding is that homeopathy accounts for less than 0.01% of the NHS budget and given the interest in the Stroud area in particular the addition of the St. Lukes surgery has been very helpful. Though I remain sceptical of its role vis a vis mainstream treatment having had a number of friends who have been to St. Lukes for additional help to overcome their various cancers I have been impressed by the dedication of the staff there. That is how I make my mind upon such issues."[6]

Following the publication of the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy" in February 2010, David Drew signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[7].

In March 2013 Mr Drew tweeted:

"Went to Open Day for International School of Homeopathy Centre now on Cheapside in Stroud. Good to see Mani and all the other practitioners!"[8]

When then asked about his opinion/understanding of homeopathy, he responded:

"Perfectly acceptable compliment to mainstream health along with osteopathy and acupuncture."[9]

Herbal Medicines

David Drew 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)[10], EDM 2080: Herbal Remedies (2008)[11], and EDM 295: Statutory Registration of Herbalists (2009)[12].

MMR Vaccine

David Drew 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.[13]

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), David Drew voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[14]. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.

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. [15]

Religion

Atheist Bus Campaign

Following the adverts bought by the Atheist Bus Campaign on public transport in January 2009, David Drew seconded Early Day Motion 403 calling the adverts "religiously offensive and morally unhelpful"[16].

Faith based Adoption Agencies

In 2007, David Drew signed Early Day Motion 742 calling on the government to exclude "faith based" adoption agencies from the Equality Act to avoid such agencies being forced to consider gay couples.[17]

Council of Ex-Muslims

David Drew seconded the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1770 supporting freedom of religion and welcoming the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain[18].

Creationism

Mr Drew seconded Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[19]

Climate Change

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 Drew replied:

"1: Climate change is one of the three great problems of our age, along with eradicating world poverty and facing down Islamic terrorism.
2: Britain can provide leadership and make changes to the way in which we try to reduce carbon use by both direct intervention and green taxation. The Defra Select Committee continues to investigate this.
3: I rarely use a car, cycling, walking and using public transport for most of the week. I am in the process of making major environmental improvements to my house and am encouraging my community to go carbon neutral."[20]

In January 2010, David Drew 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"[21].

Libel Law Reform

In response to an inquiry from a constituent about his stance on libel law reform, Drew wrote:

"... the Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee is currently conducting an inquiry into Press Standards, Privacy and Libel and is considering a wide range of issues in this area of the law. Jack Straw gave evidence before the Committee on 19 May and the Government will consider carefully any recommendations that the Committee may wish to make in its forthcoming report.
"I am keen to deal with the implications of the growth in libel tourism following the now infamous cases of Simon Singh and Peter Wilmshurst, I am also concerned that ordinary people are finding t increasingly impossible to deal with libels perpetrated against them in the media, web sites or elsewhere. This is equally unfair and dangerous and is in need of attention likewise so that pursuing action against a falsehood must not just be the preserve of the rich and famous.
"I therefore welcome the review and hope that it reports shortly so that we can make the necessary legislative changes to protect the innocent. The law should be used sparingly in this area but when it is used we should have confidence that it is appropriate and right and not subject to abuse."[22]

In January 2010, Mr Drew signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[23]. 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.

Badger Cull

In July 2010, Mr Drew posted a news entry on his website titled "Save The Badger"[24] in which he stated:

"The Coalition Government is planning a huge badger culling exercise – despite there being no scientific evidence that this will do anything to reduce bovine TB. Millions of pounds have been spent, and thousands of badgers already killed as part of a huge survey – but all it showed was that killing badgers did not reduce bovine TB."

References

  1. http://www.parliament.uk/parliamentary_committees/ecclesiastical_committee/ecclesiastical_committee_members.cfm
  2. http://dizzythinks.net/2009/03/edm-signature-whores-200809.html
  3. http://www.labour.org.uk/people/detail/david-drew
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  5. http://statsdontlie.wordpress.com/2007/11/19/responses-from-signatories-to-homeopathy-motion/
  6. 6.0 6.1 http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/08/state-sponsored-quackery.html
  7. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  8. https://twitter.com/DavidEDrew/status/317975820016693248
  9. https://twitter.com/DavidEDrew/status/318054937139482625
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/1103
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/2080
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/295
  13. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  14. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/1635
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/403
  17. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/742
  18. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1770
  19. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/2708
  20. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-what-mps-think--a-to-c-424376.html
  21. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524
  22. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/
  23. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  24. http://www.daviddrewxmp.com/local/news.aspx?p=105761 Archive: https://web.archive.org/web/20100731162736/http://www.daviddrewxmp.com/local/news.aspx?p=105761

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