In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), James Brokenshire 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 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. James Brokenshire replied:
- "1: Climate change is one of the defining issues of our day. The potential impacts are so wide ranging that inaction is not an option.
- 2: The best thing that Britain can do is to lead by example and show others what can be achieved through the implementation of policies to promote environmental sustainability. Binding commitments on Government would help to set the standard and that is why a Climate Change Bill is so important. Without this approach it is difficult to see how we can expect other nations to change.
- 3: I have taken steps to reduce my household's contribution to CO? emissions by switching to energy efficient light bulbs, not leaving electrical equipment on stand-by, recycling household waste and other similar actions. I am investigating further steps to reduce personal carbon output. I also support local initiatives and group's promoting greater environmental sustainability."
Animals in Medical Research
In 2006, James Brokenshire 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".
On 6th May 2008, James Brokenshire voted against a Lords amendment to abolish the common law offences of blasphemy and blasphemous libel. The amendment was nonetheless passed by a vote of 378 to 57.
In July 2010, Brokenshire, as crime-prevention minister, announced that the "legal high" naphyrone ("NRG-1") would be made a class B drug. This was in accordance with recommendations in a report by the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs (ACMD). However, the former chair of the ACMD, Professor David Nutt, criticised their recommendation noting that as yet there was no evidence of harm, that much of what was sold as naphyrone contained many other substances, and pointing out that sellers had moved to naphyrone as a "legal high" following the criminalisation of mephadrone, and they would now move on again to a new substance with unknown toxicity.
In January 2011, Brokenshire announced nine new members of the ACMD. Amongst these, the appointment of Dr Hans-Christian Raabe was criticised by Evan Harris (LibDem) who noted that Dr Raabe was a leading member of a fundamentalist evangelical Christian group and had no expertise related to the ACMD's work. The following month, Dr Raabe was dismissed from the post, with press reports linking this to his undisclosed views on homosexuality, rather than his expertise in drug policy. The appointments also included Sarah Graham, an addictions therapist whose website advertises the use of complementary/holistic therapies including ear acupuncture and detox herbal teas.
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