Joe Benton

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Joe Benton was the Labour MP for Bootle from 1990 until he stood down in 2015.

Abortion

Mr Benton was a secretary of the House of Commons' All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (listed September 2012)[1].

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Joe Benton voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[2]. 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.

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.[3]

Embryo Research

Joe Benton also publicly opposed sections of the successful Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill designed to bring the 1990 regulatory framework for fertility treatment and embryo research in line with scientific advances. Benton told the media:

"I know for a fact there would be ministers who would resign over this issue. I know there are people in Cabinet who will object on moral grounds. It's more than likely there will be more than one."

He added:

"There would be a quite significant number of Labour Catholic MPs and members from other denominations and some of none who will oppose this motion."[4]

Mitochondrial Donation

Mr Benton 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."[5] 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.

Same-Sex Marriage

In February 2012, Mr Benton 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."[6]

The Coalition for Marriage describes itself as "an umbrella group of individuals and organisations ... backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders"[7]. They are supported by the Evangelical Alliance[8] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey[9], and have connections with other Christian groups[10].

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"[11].

Mr Benton subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill in February 2013[12], and was one of only fourteen Labour MPs to vote against it in May 2013[13].

Electromagnetic Radiation and Health

Mr Benton was listed as a patron of the EM Radiation Research Trust[14]. Andy Lewis of the Quackometer looked at the EM Radiation Research Trust in 2007: http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2007/05/wi-fi-quackery-and-parliament.html

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/pro-life.htm
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  4. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk/7308997.stm
  5. http://assembly.coe.int/nw/xml/XRef/Xref-XML2HTML-en.asp?fileid=20204&lang=EN
  6. http://c4m.org.uk/signatures/
  7. http://c4m.org.uk/aboutus/
  8. http://www.eauk.org/articles/coalition-for-marriage-launched.cfm
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17102352
  10. http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/thinking-out-loud-who-are-the-coalition-for-m
  11. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2012/feb/20/1
  12. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Joe_Benton
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Joe_Benton
  14. http://www.radiationresearch.org/aboutus/trustee-list Freeze Page: http://www.freezepage.com/1400573212LBMCJIYVEV

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