In response to a questionnaire sent on 8th April 2010 via e-mail, Ian responded as follows:
Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
- "I do not believe homopathy is disproven. Many residents and patients have had very effective treatment from this more natural treatment and GPs and consultants are referring their patients to these type of treatments for a variety of conditions. I personally have had friends who have benefited from this treatment. However, I do agree more research into this field is needed to realise its full potential. I would therefore argue for limited funding to this area as a treatment but more funding into its research. I believe the Green Party line is for homopathy to be given similar funding to conventional treatment and but I personally believe more research is required before doing so."
Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
- "There is a moral dilemma as well as scientific with abortion and therefore makes those subject both difficult and complex. As a man, I do not believe I have the right to argue the moral side of abortion rights and so agree with the scientfic consensus, which is the current timelimit for abortions with the restrictions that also currently apply. However, more support is needed for women and their families that make decisions on whether to have an abortion, not just so they are informed, but also to make sure they can cope with whatever decision they take."
Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
- "Very strict. Animals should only be used when there is no other way of testing and therefore I advocate more funding into developing ways of testing other than using animals. However, currently it is a necessary evil in some scientific research."
Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
- "No. Creationism is a belief whereas Evolution is a proven scientific theory. Therefore creationism should be taught in RE and evolution in science. "
Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
- "No as they are alternatives to UK law enforcement and the juducial process and therefore have no current place in the judoicial system. However, I am open to their systems to be discussed as an alternative and as much as I believe sharia law is morally incomprehensible, it should notheless form part of a debate as to the future of our judicial system."
Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
- "Religious institutions cannot be above the law. They are quite happy to campaign for a change to the law, but in the normal ways and via the normal channels."
Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
- "No, lords should be fully elected with no special privileges for religious leaders."
Evidence Based Policy Making
Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly without fear of being sacked?
- "Yes, everyone, including members of the cabinet, should be free to express their opinion."
Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
- "Depends whether the science conflicts with the morals of the politician and whether science is very overwhelming"
Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?