Jim Dobbin

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Jim Dobbin was the Labour MP for Heywood and Middleton from the May 1997 general election until his death in September 2014.

According to his Wikipedia page (which provides no reference) Mr Dobbin studied Bacteriology and Virology at Napier College, Edinburgh, and subsequently worked as a microbiologist within the NHS for 33 years until 1994, mainly at the Royal Oldham Hospital[1].


MMR Vaccine

Jim Dobbin signed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.[2]


Mr Dobbin was the chair of the House of Commons' All-Party Pro-Life group[3]. However, he did not vote in amendments to the May 2008 Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill concerned with abortion.

He voted for Nadine Dorries's amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill on 7 September 2011, 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.[4]

Animals in Medical Research

In 2006, Jim Dobbin 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".[5]

Pharmaceutical Industry

In September 2010, Jim Dobbin proposed Early Day Motion 761: Diabetes Drug Avandia[6]. The motion stated that:

"That this House compliments BBC Panorama and reporter Shelley Jofre for exposing the dangers of GlaxoSmithKline's diabetes drug Avandia; regrets the heart attacks and strokes as side effects of Avandia suffered by thousands of patients; deplores the negligence of the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) in again withholding safety information from patients; requests Sir Alasdair Breckenridge, Chairman of MHRA and former member of a scientific advisory board at GlaxoSmithKline, to consider his position; and calls on the Department of Health to implement the recommendations of the 2004-05 Health Select Committee Report on the Influence of the Pharmaceutical Industry and in particular its recommendation for an independent review of the MHRA."

Mitochondrial Donation

Mr Dobbin was one of the signatories to an October 2013 declaration that said "the creation of children with genetic material from more than two progenitor persons, as is being proposed by the United Kingdom Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, is incompatible with human dignity and international law."[7] The proposals referred to would allow women with certain mutations in their mitochondrial DNA to give birth to healthy children whose cells contained donated mitochondria.


Jim Dobbin was a practising Roman Catholic.[8]

Following the adverts bought by the Atheist Bus Campaign on public transport in January 2009, Jim Dobbin seconded Early Day Motion 403 calling the adverts "religiously offensive and morally unhelpful"[9].

Faith based Adoption Agencies

In 2007, Jim Dobbin seconded Early Day Motion 742 calling on the government to exclude "faith based" adoption agencies from the Equality Act to avoid such agencies being forced to consider gay couples.[10]

Invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Britain

Mr Dobbin welcomed the invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Britain from Prime Minister Gordon Brown.

"I think it will do a great deal of good, especially at this point in time where there is a disaffection with politics, especially with recent legislation that has gone against the concerns of the religious. I think it might help to build bridges with those who would like to see a not-so-secular agenda."[11]


Mr Dobbin signed Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[12]

Same-Sex Marriage

In February 2012, Mr Dobbin signed the Coalition for Marriage petition which stated:

"I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it."[13]

The Coalition for Marriage describes itself as "an umbrella group of individuals and organisations ... backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders"[14]. They are supported by the Evangelical Alliance[15] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey[16], and have connections with other Christian groups[17].

The group claims it "draws upon a substantial body of evidence". Science and evidence-based politics blogger Martin Robbins described their argument as "confused, irrational and ultimately self-defeating"[18].

Mr Dobbin subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in February 2013[19], and was one of only fourteen Labour MPs to vote against it in May 2013[20].

Climate Change

In January 2010, Jim Dobbin signed Early Day Motion 524: Recognising Climate Change which states that "this House agrees that climate change is happening and is man-made" and calls this statement a "fact, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community"[21].

Science Funding

In October 2010, Jim Dobbin signed Early Day Motion 767: Science is Vital Campaign. The motion stated that the house "believes that continued investment in research is vital in order to meet the technological and social challenges of the 21st century, and to continue to attract high-tech industries to invest here; further believes that large cuts to science funding are a false economy, due to evidence that research investment fuels economic growth".[22]


  1. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jim_Dobbin
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/pro-life.htm
  4. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  5. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/1850
  6. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/761
  7. http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=20204&lang=EN
  8. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000484.shtml
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/403
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/742
  11. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000484.shtml
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/2708
  13. http://c4m.org.uk/signatures/
  14. http://c4m.org.uk/aboutus/
  15. http://www.eauk.org/articles/coalition-for-marriage-launched.cfm
  16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17102352
  17. http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/thinking-out-loud-who-are-the-coalition-for-m
  18. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2012/feb/20/1
  19. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Jim_Dobbin
  20. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Jim_Dobbin
  21. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524
  22. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767

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