Graham Stringer

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Graham Stringer is the Labour MP for Blackley and Broughton. Prior to boundary changes at the 2010 general election he was MP for Manchester, Blackley.

Stringer studied Chemistry at the University of Sheffield, and after graduating with a BSc (Hons) he worked as an analytical chemist in the plastics industry[1][2].

He is currently sits on the Science and Technology Select Committee, and is the only current member who was on the committee prior to the 2010 general election.

Climate Change

November 2013 opinion piece: http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/News/Climate-Change-Received-Wisdom-Is-Plain-Wrong

"The activists from the extreme part of the green movement know exactly what they are doing. They have an undeclared utopian ideal of a future without industry and technology. They believe it is highly unlikely they will ever win this argument and so use fear and stealth."
"I am not a great respecter of the International Panel on Climate Change; they have made too many fundamental mistakes. Their 2007 report was so flawed that the Inter Academy Council, the leading scientific body in the United States, initiated an investigation. It found significant short comings in each major step of the IPCC’s assessment process."

Creationism

Stringer proposed Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[3]

Alternative Medicine

Stringer proposed, and was the only MP to sign, the January 2008 Early Day Motion 641 expressing dismay that Department of Health funded an organisation that regulates alternative therapies, and noting that treatments that lack evidence for their efficacy cannot be regulated[4].

Stringer attended the Science and Technology Select Committee’s investigation of homeopathy in 2009, and pressed Minister for Health Services Mike O'Brien on NHS funding. Stringer asked how much money was being spent on the NHS, and questioned whether or not spending be dependent on proved effectiveness or efficacy:

"I understood the discussion both at the last evidence session and today to be that there was no evidence over and above the placebo effect, and I understood your answer to be agreeing with that but saying that there is a large lobby of intelligent people and therefore we will continue spending, and I do find that a curious answer.
"The real point is that you do have more evidence than you are owning up to at the moment, because West Kent PCT looked thoroughly at the effectiveness and efficacy of the homeopathic hospital in West Kent and we had the person here who carried out that survey who said, in words of one syllable: “This is a waste of public money”. So if West Kent believes that spending that money is a waste of public money, why is it different in Liverpool or Gloucester or wherever else these hospitals are?"[5]

In July 2010, Stringer signed Early Day Motion 387: Homeopathy[6] which supported the findings of the Science and Technology Committee's report on homeopathy: that homeopathy was no more effective than placebo and its should not be available on the NHS.

Health Committee Nomination

In 2010, Graham Stringer was one of the MPs to nominate Nadine Dorries for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee.[7]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Graham Stringer voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease[8]. 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[9]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[10]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Science Funding

In September 2010, Graham Stringer signed Early Day Motion 707: Government Funding for UK Science. The motion stated that the house "supports the view of the President of the Royal Society that short-term austerity risks undermining the UK's future science base", noted that other countries were investing in science to promote economic growth, and "believes that investment in basic scientific research throughout the UK is vital if the commercial benefits of developing new technology are to be broadly spread".[11]

Literacy Education and Dyslexia

In a column in Manchester Confidential, dated 12th January 2009[12], Stringer wrote that "The reason that so many children fail to read and write is because the wrong teaching methods are used". He then wrote enthusiastically about the synthetic phonics teaching method, and said that illiteracy had been "eliminated" in West Dunbartonshire using this method. He noted that this success, and the fact that "countries as diverse as Nicaragua and South Korea" had achieved "literacy rates of nearly 100%", were evidence that dyslexia was a fictional diagnosis. He wrote:

Dyslexia is a cruel fiction, it is no more real than the 19th century scientific construction of ‘the æther’ to explain how light travels through a vacuum.

(Wanted: good reference(s) that examine the multiple claims made in this article.)

In 2006 the government published "A Systematic Review of the Research Literature on the Use of Phonics in the Teaching of Reading and Spelling"[13]. In 2010 Ben Goldacre summarised the review's conclusions:

"There were 14 trials in total looking at reading accuracy as their outcome, and collectively they found some evidence that phonics are a little better. Then there were 4 trials looking at comprehension, which found only weak evidence of benefit. Finally there were 3 trials on spelling, which collectively found no benefit for phonics. All of these trials were tiny, and when I say tiny, I mean they had between 12 and 121 children, mostly at the lower end of that range. Only one trial was from the UK.
"Many teachers feel the evidence is not compelling, and don’t like phonics. To be fair, there really isn’t enough evidence to say phonics definitely works."[14]

Other reports to look at:

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, Graham Stringer signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[15]. 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.

The motion was tabled following the recent formation of Libel Reform Coalition, which has the backing of Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science. Sense about Science have been campaigning in defense of a member of its board of trustees, author and journalist Simon Singh, who has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes".

Same-Sex Marriage

Graham Stringer 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://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Graham_Stringer&oldid=324606298
  2. http://www.parliamentaryrecord.com/content/profiles/mp/Graham-Stringer/638
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/2708
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/641
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmsctech/uc45-ii/uc4502.htm
  6. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/387
  7. http://www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Committee-Commons-Nominees.pdf
  8. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Graham_Stringer
  9. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  10. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/707
  12. http://www.manchesterconfidential.co.uk/News/General/Dyslexia-is-a-myth_442.asp
  13. http://publications.education.gov.uk/eOrderingDownload/RR711_.pdf
  14. http://www.badscience.net/2010/07/boris-johnson-and-his-innovative-trial-methodology/
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  16. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Graham_Stringer
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Graham_Stringer

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