David Simpson

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David Simpson is the DUP MP for Upper Bann. Until July 2010 he was also Northern Ireland Assembly Member for Upper Bann.

Healthcare

Homeopathy

David Simpson was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[1].

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

In June 2010, Mr Simpson signed Early Day Motions 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy[3], 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells[4], 286: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression[5], and 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia[6].

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), David Simpson voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[7]. 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. Also the Abortion Act 1967 does not currently apply to Northern Ireland.

Mr Simpson 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.[8]

Religion

David Simpson signed the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1770 supporting freedom of religion and welcoming the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain[9].

Following the adverts bought by the Atheist Bus Campaign on public transport in January 2009, Mr Simpson seconded Early Day Motion 403 calling the adverts "religiously offensive and morally unhelpful"[10], and also seconded Early Day Motion 424 claiming that the rationale behind the adverts was that non-religious people can be less careful about their lifestyle choices and life's consequences[11].

Faith based Adoption Agencies

In 2007, David Simpson 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.[12]

Creationism

Mr Simpson has been identified by the British Centre for Science Education as among a number of DUP politicians who were attempting get Creationism taught in schools in Northern Ireland.

In 2007 Mr Simpson received written replies from the Assembly Minister of Education, Caitríona Ruane, on a series of questions about teaching of creationism. The first of the six questions concerned the revised education curriculum in the province, and was a request “to detail the teaching materials that will be made available to teachers in Northern Ireland wishing to teach scientific theories of origins other than evolution.”

He then referred to the theory of evolution and GCSE qualifications:

"….under GCSE science specifications allowing for the explanation of theories other than evolution to explore the development of life on earth, what resource material will be made available to teachers wishing to explore other such scientific explanations with pupils”.

Mr Simpson asked the Minister “to confirm that pupils who answer examination questions outlining (i) creationist; or (ii) intelligent design explanations for the development of life on earth, will not be marked lower than any pupil who answers giving an evolutionist explanation.”

He also asked “what training will be given to teachers to help them to explore scientific explanations for the development of life on earth, other than evolution.”[13]

Same-Sex Marriage

In 2012 Mr Simpson, like all the other DUP MPs, signed the Coalition for Marriage petition which stated:

"I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it."[14]

The Coalition for Marriage describes itself as "an umbrella group of individuals and organisations ... backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders"[15]. They are supported by the Evangelical Alliance[16] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey[17], and have connections with other Christian groups[18].

The group claims it "draws upon a substantial body of evidence". However, science and evidence-based politics blogger Martin Robbins described their argument as "confused, irrational and ultimately self-defeating"[19].

Mr Simpson subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013[20] and its third reading in May 2013[21].

References

  1. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/284
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/285
  5. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/286
  6. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/287
  7. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  8. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1770
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/403
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/424
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/742
  13. http://www.bcseweb.org.uk/index.php/Main/PaisleysPartyBacksCreationismInSchools
  14. http://c4m.org.uk/signatures/
  15. http://c4m.org.uk/aboutus/
  16. http://www.eauk.org/articles/coalition-for-marriage-launched.cfm
  17. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17102352
  18. http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/thinking-out-loud-who-are-the-coalition-for-m
  19. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2012/feb/20/1
  20. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=David_Simpson
  21. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=David_Simpson

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