Skeptical Voter Questions
In November 2012 Ms Hope was sent the Skeptical Voter Survey Questions. She responded as follows:
1. Do you support the use of NHS money to provide unproven health products such as homeopathy?
- No - this answer has already cost me several votes, but until the efficacy of a treatment excluding the placebo effect has been proven, we can't waste taxpayers' money on the hundreds of possible alternative therapies.
2. Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?
- No, but students should understand what the alternative theory is and have the necessary data to argue effectively with creationists
3. Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?
- No. Ridicule is healthy and strong religions can deal with it and remain strong.
4. Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly?
- Difficult. If you're being paid to advise the Government, normally that precludes you from contact with the media because you have to be seen to be neutral. I don't like the idea of gagging people, but civil servants have to remain silent, as otherwise the elected members wouldn't be able to trust them or be open with them. In the end if someone feels that his/her integrity is challenged by what the Government is doing and saying they probably have to leave their job.
5. Should religious courts such as Sharia and Beth Din be recognised as alternative systems within UK law?
- Absolutely not. If you live in my country you stick by my rules, just as I would expect to do in the reverse situation.
6. Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?
- Yes. I happen to know a lot more about this than most people, and I unhesitatingly support this research.
7. Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?
- Yes, provided that the evidence base is sound, tested and repeated.
8. Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?
- No. Most abortions take place in the very early stages of pregnancy. The handful of late abortions are normally for complex social/psychological reasons. Irrespective of the stage at which a foetus may or may not be viable, if two doctors believe that a woman's mental health is at risk if she is forced to go through with a pregnancy, she should have the right to end it.
9. Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords?
- No. In my personal opinion, and this is not party policy, the HOL should be an entirely elected second chamber. If religious leaders are elected on their own merits, so be it.
10. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?
(See also response to survey question above.)
In October 2012, in the context of a number of prominent Conservative MPs expressing support for lower abortion limits, and two days before a Westminster Hall debate on lowering the 24 week limit, Ms Hope tweeted:
- "Tories turning back the clock on abortion time limits. Only a tiny number of abortions are late. Sending them back to backstreet butchers?"
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