George Howarth

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George Howarth is the Labour MP for Knowsley (prior to boundary changes for the 2010 general election for Knowsley North and Sefton East).


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), George Howarth voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks[1].

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007[2] had found no good evidence of change since the limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that this was only one of many factors to be taken into account when legislating, and did not make any recommendations as to how MPs should vote.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 George Howarth 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[3]. 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[4]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[5]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Animals in Medical Research

In 2006, George Howarth signed Early Day Motion 1850: Animals in Medical Research which noted that "animal research is only permitted where there is no better alternative and that pain and suffering are minimised and balanced against the potential benefit to humans and animals", supported "the building of the new state of the art biomedical research laboratory at Oxford University", condemned "unlawful animal rights extremism, including any violence, harassment or intimidation of those associated with lawful animal research", and supported "the well-regulated use of animals in medical research".[6]

In April 2009, Howarth proposed Early Day Motion 1287: Scientific Procedures Using Animals and The 3Rs Approach[7]. The motion stated:

That this House notes that it is 50 years since the introduction of the 3Rs approach of replacement, refinement and reduction with regard to scientific procedures using animals; recognises the continuing importance of the use of animals in developing cures and treatments for several serious and life threatening diseases; further notes the excellent work of the National Centre for Replacement, Refinement and Reduction in this field; celebrates the fact that the welfare of animals monitoring and control in the UK is more ethically focused and effective than in many other parts of the world; and urges the Government to continue to promote the 3Rs.


In March 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", George Howarth signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[8].

Libel Law Reform

In March 2010, George Howarth signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[9]. 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.

Same-Sex Marriage

George Howarth 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].



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