In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), John Hayes voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 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.
Mr Hayes 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.
In February 2015 John Hayes 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.
During the 2008 debate over amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill, Hayes voted against allowing research using human-animal hybrid embryos. He commented "Science matters, but morals matter more."
Hayes voted against the final bill, however the majority of MPs voted in favour after being told that embryo research could be used to find cures for dozens of serious conditions, from heart disease to dementia.
John Hayes is the chairman of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party which describes itself as believing in "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation’s sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state.". Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.
On 6th May 2008, John Hayes 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.
Onshore Wind Power
Mr Hayes has campaigned against onshore wind power, particularly in his own constituency. Hence his appointment in September 2012 as Minister of State for Energy at the Department for Energy and Climate Change was widely criticised.
Examples and reports of Mr Hayes' position on onshore wind:
- July 2012 letter to Chief Executive of local council: http://www.scribd.com/doc/113473580/John-Hayes-wind-power-letter Report in the Guardian: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/nov/16/john-hayes-windfarms-gas-nuclear
- http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/blog/2012/nov/14/unpicking-john-hayes-response-corby - possible involvement with James Delingpole and Chris Heaton-Harris in November 2012 Corby by-election.
- November 2012 Channel 4 interview on consumer gas prices, an additional question on wind power: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOeX6da3LFk#t=7m30s (also at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UolzRapxDLo)
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