David Heath

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David Heath was the Liberal Democrat MP for Somerton and Frome from 1997 until he stood down at the 2015 general election.

He studied Physiological Sciences at St John's College, Oxford, and Opthalmic Optics at City University, London, before going into practice as a registered optician.[1]

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, David Heath signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[2]. 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.

The motion was tabled following the recent formation of Libel Reform Coalition, which has the backing of Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science. Sense about Science have been campaigning in defense of a member of its board of trustees, author and journalist Simon Singh, who has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes".

Same-Sex Marriage

October 2012: "if it is brought forward as a legislative proposal, I would support it"[3]

Mr Heath subsequently voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013[4] and its third reading in May 2013[5].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 David Heath 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[6]. 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[7]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[8]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.


  1. http://www.davidheath.co.uk/biog.html
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  3. https://twitter.com/DavidHeathMP/status/260671574858948608
  4. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=David_Heath
  5. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=David_Heath
  6. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=David_Heath
  7. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500

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