Fiona Mactaggart

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Fiona Mactaggart was the Labour MP for Slough from 1997 until she stepped down at the 2017 general election.

Abortion

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

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Fiona Mactaggart 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[2]. 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[3]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[4]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Libel Law Reform

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

"I agree that libel laws here have led to litigants from abroad bringing cases in the UK courts because they expect to receive much greater financial damages in this country than they would elsewhere, and this is wrong in many ways. More importantly, if this persists the risk of a chilling effect on scientific and other research could mean that the UK loses our well deserved reputation as a place where science, which depends on freedom to publish, will thrive."[5]

Referring to Early Day Motion 423, she added:

"I support a change in the law, but I do not normally sign Early Day Motions as they are just one way of backbench MPs showing their views on an issue, they have become so common that they have fallen into disregard and they are not debated in Parliament. I think it is more effective to take matters up direct with Ministers, as I have done for you."

Blasphemy Law

In May 2015 it was reported that Ms Mactaggart had refused to publicly support the idea of a blasphemy law despite a request from a colleague: http://www.sloughexpress.co.uk/News/All-Areas/Slough/Former-councillor-quits-Labour-party-following-disagreement-over-Blasphemy-Law-01052015.htm

Sex Work Statistics

In November 2008, Mactaggart told the BBC Radio 4's Today in Parliament that "something like 80% of women in prostitution are controlled by their drug dealer, their pimp, or their trafficker." However, these figures have been questioned. Asked about the source of the statistic, Mactaggart said that "Inevitably it's very difficult to get exact numbers here, but it's a combination of studies, which are quoted in the [2004] 'Paying the Price' Home Office document, where, for example, they demonstrate that between 60% and 93% of women in studies are drug-addicted. As well as the information of the UN Rapporteur on trafficking, who suggests that ... the experience of most women in prostitution is akin to that of being trafficked".[6][7]

Pharmaceutical Trial Data/Tamiflu

Ms Mactaggart was a member of the Public Accounts Committee for their report "Access to clinical trial information and the stockpiling of Tamiflu", issued January 2014. The report minutes show that she took an active role asking questions during the evidence session[8]. The summary of the report reads:

The Department of Health (the Department) spent £424 million on stockpiling Tamiflu, an antiviral medicine used in the treatment of influenza, for use in a pandemic, but had to write off £74 million of its Tamiflu stockpile as a result of poor record-keeping by the NHS.
There is a lack of consensus over how well Tamiflu works, in particular whether it reduces complications and mortality. Discussions over this issue among professionals have been hampered because important information about clinical trials is routinely and legally withheld from doctors and researchers by manufacturers. This longstanding regulatory and cultural failure impacts on all of medicine, and undermines the ability of clinicians, researchers and patients to make informed decisions about which treatment is best. There are also concerns about the information made available to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) which assesses a medicine's clinical and cost-effectiveness for use in the NHS.[8]

Ben Goldacre, author of Bad Science and Bad Pharma, and co-founder of the AllTrials campaign welcomed the report calling it "a complete vindication of AllTrials’ call for all the results, of all the trials, on all the uses of all currently prescribed treatments".[9]

Same-Sex Marriage

Fiona Mactaggart voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[10] and its third reading in May 2013[11].

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  2. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Fiona_Mactaggart
  3. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  5. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/
  6. http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_7819000/7819377.stm
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/magazine/7819984.stm
  8. 8.0 8.1 HTML: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/295/29502.htm
    PDF: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/295/295.pdf
  9. http://www.badscience.net/2014/01/damning-report-from-the-public-accounts-committee-on-clinical-trial-results-being-withheld/
  10. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Fiona_Mactaggart
  11. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Fiona_Mactaggart

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