Douglas Carswell was the MP for Harwich (2005-2010) and Clacton (2010-2017). Initially elected in 2005 as a Conservative, he joined UKIP in August 2014 and retained his seat at the subsequent by-election.
In November 2009 he blogged about a survey which reported that "Only 41 per cent accept as an established scientific fact that global warming is taking place and is largely man-made.". Commenting on this, Carswell wrote: "Objective science and the flow of knowledge about it on the internet can prove inconvenient for ministers, eh?"
In a subsequent post, responding to a comment from Bob Ward, the policy and communications director at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Carswell wrote:
- "When I was a member of Friends of the Earth, I did believe human CO2 emissions were responsible for global warming. It's just that the facts seem to have changed. And so I've changed my mind."
This remark prompted Leo Hickman to get in touch with Carsman and in an interview published in Hickman's Guardian blog, Carswell cast doubt on the research conducted by climate scientists, and cited a book by Ian Plimer which made him rethink his position. Carswell stated:
- "There will be ferocious debate, but I think the important thing to recognise is there is not the consensus that is often portrayed as existing. I'm not a scientist and therefore cannot possibly claim to know all the facts on both sides. But I am someone who has a say in public policy and public policy is based on science and having read one scientist challenge the assumption I have long held I think what Plimer says merits much wider investigation. Some of that will be a questioning analysis of what's he's written and, fine, you need dialectic in science, but you also need dialectic in public policy formation as well."
In a blog post from January 2010, Carswell is critical of a proposal by Anthony Browne for evidence-based policy. He writes:
- Anthony makes the mistake that many very intelligent people make when contemplating public policy; if only expert policy-makers used evidence-based research to ascertain what works, we'd have good public policy. The trouble is, who decides "what works"? Who determines what evidence to apply to the evidence base? Why would experts be any better at deciding public policy than they were once supposed to be at running the economy?
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Douglas Carswell voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks. 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.
In February 2015 Douglas Carswell 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.
Libel Law Reform
In February 2010, Douglas Carswell signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law. 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.
Douglas Carswell was a member of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party that describes itself as believing in "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation's sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state.". Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.
- http://www.talkcarswell.com/home/bbc-and-climate-change-are-we-about-to-see-more/1061 (FreezePage)
- http://www.talkcarswell.com/home/climate-change--most-now-dare-to-doubt/1134 (FreezePage)
- http://www.talkcarswell.com/home/climate-change-pr-chief-attacks-sceptics/1138 (FreezePage)
- http://www.talkcarswell.com/home/new-quangos-are-not-new-conservatism/1240 (FreezePage)