Eileen Baxendale

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Eileen Baxendale was the Liberal Democrat candidate for Glasgow North East in the 2010 and 2015 general elections and the 2009 by-election. In the 2011 Scottish Parliamentary elections she stood in Glasgow Cathcart and as list candidate for the Glasgow region.

Skeptical Voter Questionnaire Response 2010

Prior to the 2010 UK general election:

[1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?]

1. No; NHS funding must support proven treatments though there is also a place for Givernment sponsored research (such as through NICE).

[2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?]

2. School children should be taught as wide a variety of theories as possible to allow them to learn to think and make their own decisions. In particular I (and many other people I know, including the scientist I'm married to) regard creationism as scientifically respectable and it should be taught, like creatonism as a theory many people accept.

[3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?]

3. Not particularly. I am a Christian and feel that God can stand up for himself. But we should work towards a society where there is respect for everyone's beliefs.

[4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?]

4. Of course, we have freedom of speech. But there is a distinction between opinions in one's area of expertise and the decisions that have to be made by decision makers.

[5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?]

5.Sharia and Beth Din are not alternative systems within the law but supplementary systems that people may use by agreement if they wish to do but within the overarching system of our criminal and civil law.

[6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?]

6. Historically this is what has happened and we all benefit from this. I hope that future research can be done without animals suffering.

[7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?]

7. New scientific evidence is often counter-intuitive; that's sometimes why it's new. But policy makers should be very careful about assessing and testing the validity of surprising scientific evidence.

[8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?]

8. No. This is a complex and difficult issue; I am 'pro life' and therefore find it hard to comment on abortion time limits as I feel that abortion is not a good choice. We need to continue to improve service around sexual health and pregnancy so that abortion is not seen as a necessary choice for some women.

[9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?]

9. The Liberal Democrat policy is for an elected Upper House and I agree with this. With the system we have at present I feel that the country's religious leaders have something to offer in terms of input to our Parliament; while this sytem remains I think they should be entitled to vote. Within our Constitution we need the checks and balances of a second House and politically independent religious leaders are a useful part of the current system.

[10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?]

10. I am a Scottish candidate and not sure I know enough about this non Scottish issue to comment.

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