In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), James Gray 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 September 2011 James Gray voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.
In February 2015 James Gray 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.
Following the publication of the House of Commons' Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy" in February 2010, Gray signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report.
In June 2010, Gray signed Early Day Motions 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy, 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells, 286: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression, and 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia.
Nomination of David Tredinnick for Health Committee Chair
In June 2015 James Gray was one of 19 MPs to nominate David Tredinnick for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee. Mr Tredinnick's advocacy of alternative medicine is well known and only four months earlier his view that astrology could have a role in reducing pressure on doctors had been widely reported (e.g. here).
In May 2011 Mr Gray 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.
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 Gray replied:
- "1: Climate Change is one of the gravest challenges facing the world today. It is an issue with widespread implications environmental, social and economic.
- 2: In Britain, we must start by cutting our own CO? emissions. I believe the proposed Climate Change Bill would help this, as it would specifically require the Government to provide an annual report on emissions and set clear targets. I think Government should lead by example, cutting its own energy use, converting to renewable energy sources, and using its enormous buying power to foster non-polluting technologies. In the longer-term, we need to shift to a low-carbon economy and take a lead internationally to achieve a global system for tackling climate change.
- 3: I would like to find ways to cut personal carbon emissions by using my car less, by installing energy efficient light bulbs and other low carbon products, by switching off electrical appliances when not using them, and by recycling and composting waste. I shall be encouraging my constituents to adopt these measures too."
Animals in Medical Research
In 2006, James Gray 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 Gray 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.
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