John Leech

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John Leech was the Liberal Democrat MP for Manchester, Withington from 2005 until he lost the seat at the 2015 general election.

Mr Leech was placed at number 8 in political blogger Dizzy's March 2009 list of "EDM Signature Whores", for signing 639 Early Day Motions compared to fewer than 100 for a typical MP in the same period[1].

Healthcare

Homeopathy

John Leech was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[2].

In March 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", Leech Mr signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[3]. However, by 10th April he had removed his signature from the Motion.

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), John Leech voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks in line with the scientific and medical consensus[4].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 John Leech voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease[5]. An October 2014 briefing report by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA), which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[6]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[7]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

MMR Vaccine

John Leech 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.[8]

Creationism

Mr Leech signed Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[9]

Miracle Cures

In June 2008, the MP signed Early Day Motion 1770, protesting the uncritical promotion by the media of Dore, a claimed miracle cure for dyslexia, in the absence of scientific proof of its value. [10]

Policymaking On Drugs And Alcohol

John Leech signed Early Day Motion 2244 calling for Government policy on alcohol and drugs misuse and harm to be based on scientific evidence. The motion came shortly after the sacking of Government drug adviser David Nutt by Home Secretary Alan Johnson in 2009.

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, John Leech signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[11]. The motion noted that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are currently prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of the law.

The motion was tabled following the recent formation of Libel Reform Coalition, which has the backing of Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science. Sense about Science have been campaigning in defense of a member of its board of trustees, author and journalist Simon Singh, who has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes".

In response to an inquiry from a constituent, Mr Leech wrote:

"It is indeed absurd that the right to free speech in this country is subject to libel tourists and the might of corporations with their ability to obtain injunctions to silence those who speak out. It is absolutely bizarre that litigants are coming to England from all over the world to make use of our restrictive libel laws."[12]

Climate Change

In January 2010, John Leech 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"[13].

University Tuition Fees

In December 2010 John Leech voted against increasing the upper limit on university tuition fees from £3290 per year to £9000 per year[14]. The proposed increase was a response to the Browne Report, published in October of that year, which had proposed a complete removal of any upper limit on fees, together with other measures (largely adopted by the coalition government) to ease the burden of repayment.

Science Funding

In October 2010, John Leech 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".[15]

Alan Turing

In May 2013 Mr Leech proposed EDM 30: Alan Turing - http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2013-14/30

Same-Sex Marriage

John Leech voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013[16] and did not vote at its third reading in May 2013[17].

Quoted, February 2013: http://lgbt.libdems.org.uk/en/article/2013/0656982/manchester-mp-john-leech-proud-to-be-supporting-equal-marriage

References

  1. http://dizzythinks.net/2009/03/edm-signature-whores-200809.html
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  4. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  5. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=John_Leech
  6. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  7. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  8. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/2708
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/1770
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  12. http://skepchick.org/blog/2010/01/libel-reform-which-mps-are-doing-their-jobs/
  13. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524
  14. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2010-12-09&number=150&mpn=John_Leech
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  16. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=John_Leech
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=John_Leech

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