- "I have heard from lots of scientists over the years and I recognise the risks which the science suggests we face if we cannot find ways of limiting our total emissions"
In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Graham Stuart 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 Graham Stuart voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the 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. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.
Sex and Relationships Education
February 2015, in his role as Chairman of the Commons Education Committee: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/education-31486465
Libel Law Reform
In December 2009, Graham Stuart 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.
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 defence 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".
The Geek Manifesto
In 2013 Mr Stuart was asked if he had read the copy of Mark Henderson's book The Geek Manifesto that he had been sent. He provided the following comment:
- The Geek Manifesto is an emotionally charged call to reason. Mark Henderson is sure that science, scientists and scientific method could help our society make better decisions if only they took a more central role in how the country is run. Scathing about politicians in general and people like Alan Johnson and George Bush in particular, his is a rallying call for scientists to get into politics and for politicians to be made to pay a higher price for abusing science. He says that “What politicians want is not evidence based policy, but policy based evidence.”
- He is no less scathing about the Green movement’s irrational opposition to nuclear power and GM foods and launches impassioned attacks on “balance” in the media and homeopathy and all associated with it.
- In a decision making world too ignorant of and careless with science, Henderson finds some geek heroes who have taken up the scientific cause and made politicians or corporations pay a price for their folly. It is these geek activists he wants to see more of, backed by a major groundswell of the scientifically minded who can effectively press for change.
- The Geek Manifesto is an easy read as well as a call for action. Whether it succeeds in mobilising a scientific constituency remains to be seen. As one of the many MPs with little scientific education I can say that success for geeks would be a success for Britain. So, scientists, click online, join the political party of your choice and start the political scientific revolution.
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