In February 2015 Guto Bebb 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.
Asked in September 2008 whether he thought the 24-week limit on abortion should be reduced, Bebb replied:
- "I think it should be reduced. I am not anti-abortion. W[e] do not live in an ideal society but there is a viable opportunity for survival at 24 weeks. My personal feeling is that it should be reduced to 20 weeks."
The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007 had looked at issues including foetal viability, experience of pain, and harm to the mother. It had found no good evidence of any change since the 24-week limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that the science 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.
In May 2011 Mr Bebb voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity". It was criticised for only applying to sex education for girls, not boys, with critics also pointing to evidence that abstinence-only sex education (which does not necessarily lead to abstinence itself) does not protect young people from unwanted pregnancies or STIs (although this was not a bill advocating abstinence-only sex education, it would have meant that the only required elements of sex education would be basic information on reproduction, plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school). The Bill passed its first reading by 67 votes to 61, but had little chance of becoming law and was withdrawn in January 2012 shortly before its second reading.
Asked in September 2008 whether he thought the tax system should favour married couples, Bebb replied:
- "... At the moment the tax system penalises married couples, which is clearly not a good thing. But I do think that parents raising children should be treated equally alongside those that are married. We are not saying that being married is not the only way to raise children or the only way to create a stable society, but it clearly should not be advantageous for couples with children to remain unmarried. I don't think that being married should be the only option; clearly we have moved on since the 1950s. I believe civil partnerships should also be recognised and that it is the stability of the relationship that should be recognised, rather than just marriage."
Pharmaceutical Trial Data/Tamiflu
Guto Bebb was a member of the Public Accounts Committee for their report "Access to clinical trial information and the stockpiling of Tamiflu", published January 2014. The report minutes show that Mr Bebb attended both the oral evidence session and the meeting approving the report. 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.
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".
- HTML: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmselect/cmpubacc/295/29502.htm
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