Diane Abbott

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Diane Abbott has been the Labour MP for Hackney North and Stoke Newington since 1987.

Healthcare

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Diane Abbott voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[1].

In January 2012, on her withdrawal from the abortion counselling consultation: http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2012/jan/27/abortion-counselling-consultation

Homeopathy

Ms Abbott was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[2].

In March 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", Ms Abbott signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[3].

MMR Vaccine

Ms Abbott 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.[4]

Sex Education

In May 2011 Ms Abbott voted against Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill[5]. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity"[6]. It was criticised for only applying to sex education for girls, not boys, with critics also pointing to evidence that abstinence-only sex education (which does not necessarily lead to abstinence itself) does not protect young people from unwanted pregnancies or STIs[7] (although this was not a bill advocating abstinence-only sex education, it would have meant that the only required elements of sex education would be basic information on reproduction[8], plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school)[9]. The Bill passed its first reading by 67 votes to 61, but had little chance of becoming law and was withdrawn in January 2012 shortly before its second reading[10].

Charles Darwin

Diane Abbott was one of 79 MPs who signed Early Day Motion 377 noting the achievements of Charles Darwin, and calling for Darwin's birthday to be designated a public holiday to honour "one of the fathers of modern science and one of Britain's greatest, if not the greatest, scientific minds."

Science Funding

In October 2010, Diane Abbott signed Early Day Motion 767: Science is Vital Campaign. The motion stated that the house "believes that continued investment in research is vital in order to meet the technological and social challenges of the 21st century, and to continue to attract high-tech industries to invest here; further believes that large cuts to science funding are a false economy, due to evidence that research investment fuels economic growth". It made specific references to the work of the Science is Vital coalition and the Campaign for Science and Engineering.[11]

Libel Law Reform

In January 2010, Diane Abbott signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[12]. 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.

Writing in response to an inquiry from a constituent on libel reform, Ms Abbott wrote:

"We do need to reform our libel laws. And I will support any effort in Parliament to do so."[13]

Climate Change

In February 2010, Diane Abbott 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"[14].

Alcohol Use

In a Parliamentary debate on alcohol strategy in February 2012, Ms Abbott made a couple of contributions including a mention of evidence:

"Does not the hon. Gentleman agree that all the medical and research evidence shows that price is a key factor for two categories of drinker: young drinkers and problem drinkers?"[15]

Same-Sex Marriage

Ms Abbott voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[16] and its third reading in May 2013[17].

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110504/debtext/110504-0001.htm#stpa_o51
  6. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/sexeducationrequiredcontent.html
  7. http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=2325
  8. http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/what-do-we-want-from-sex-and-relationships-education/
  9. http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/abstain-from-abstinence-please-dorries.html
  10. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/20/nadine-dorries-sexual-abstinence-bill-withdrawn
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  13. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/
  14. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524
  15. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/whall/?id=2012-02-07a.25.0
  16. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Diane_Abbott
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Diane_Abbott

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