Julian Brazier

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Julian Brazier is the Conservative MP for Canterbury.

Abortion

Mr Brazier is a listed member of the House of Commons' All-Party Parliamentary Pro-Life Group (as of September 2012)[1].

Julian Brazier was one of three MPs who supported the Prohibition of Abortion Bill which was an unsuccessful Private Members Bill introduced by Laurence Robertson MP in May 2005. The bill sought to outlaw all abortion except where the mother’s life is at risk or where the pregnancy was due to rape. The Bill would make it an imprisonable offence for someone to carry out an abortion in any other circumstances.[2] The Bill was described by abortion rights advocates as "extreme and outrageous".[2]

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Julian Brazier voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks[3]. After four separate parliamentary votes on varying time limits, the majority of MPs voted to keep the abortion time limit at 24 weeks, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007[4] had found no good evidence of change since the limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that this was only one of many factors to be taken into account when legislating, and did not make any recommendations as to how MPs should vote.

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.[5]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Mr Brazier voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[6]. 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[7]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[8]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.

Sex Education

Mr Brazier was one of the co-presenters of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill, and voted in favour of it in the only Parliamentary vote on the Bill in May 2011[9]. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity"[10]. It was criticised for only applying to sex education for girls, not boys, with critics also pointing to evidence that abstinence-only sex education (which does not necessarily lead to abstinence itself) does not protect young people from unwanted pregnancies or STIs[11] (although this was not a bill advocating abstinence-only sex education, it would have meant that the only required elements of sex education would be basic information on reproduction[12], plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school)[13]. The Bill passed its first reading by 67 votes to 61, but had little chance of becoming law and was withdrawn in January 2012 shortly before its second reading[14].

Religion

Cornerstone Group

Julian Brazier is a member of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party that 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."[15]. Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.

Faith based Adoption Agencies

In 2007, Julian Brazier signed 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.[16]

Invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Britain

Brazier is a practising Catholic and in February 2009 he welcomed Gordon Brown's invitation to Pope Benedict to visit Britain.

"I would hope though that the Vatican will press the Government for freedom for Christians in this country. I'm referring to the Catholic children's societies and the dreadful way they've been treated and the subsequent events in the last couple of months - foster parents being struck off lists and deprived of incomes because a child in their care, aged 16, converts from Islam to Christianity, and the NHS guidelines which have caused the suspension of people from their jobs.
"I hope that in the negotiations for the visit, the Vatican will be pressing the Government to reconsider its anti-Christian legislation and restore religious freedoms so people can practise their faith."[17]

Same-Sex Marriage

In early 2012, Mr Brazier 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."[18]

The Coalition for Marriage describes itself as "an umbrella group of individuals and organisations ... backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders"[19]. They are supported by the Evangelical Alliance[20] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey[21], and have connections with other Christian groups[22].

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"[23].

Mr Brazier subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013[24] and its third reading in May 2013[25].

Climate Change

In 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. Julian Brazier replied:

"1: It is the most important long term issue facing us.
2: The Government should act domestically, including educating individuals to change there life styles, and take the lead internationally,
3: I have argued for bus regulation and congestion charging to encourage a switch to public transport, and am pressing for a range of measures to improve energy efficiency of homes."[26]

Mr Brazier was a listed member of the All-Party Parliamentary Climate Change Group whose purpose is "To raise awareness of the threat of climate change and to promote policies to counter that threat".[27]

Food Supplements

In February 2010, a news item on the Canterbury Conservatives website[28] reported that Brazier was backing a campaign against the proposed EU Food Supplements Directive, which they said would "ban thousands of vitamin & mineral food supplements, used safely in this country for decades". The item noted that "higher-dose supplements, all within proven safe limits, are taken by consumers helping stave off everything from general tiredness, SAD syndrome and coughs & colds to PMT and restless legs".

Nomination of David Tredinnick for Health Committee Chair

In 2014 Mr Brazier was one of 20 MPs to nominate David Tredinnick (an outspoken advocate of alternative medicine) for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee[29][30]. It is not known if Mr Brazier subsequently voted for Mr Tredinnick, who only received nine votes in the anonymous ballot.

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/pro-life.htm
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/content/view/80/106/
  3. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-20&number=199&mpn=Julian_Brazier
  4. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  6. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Julian_Brazier
  7. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  9. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110504/debtext/110504-0001.htm#stpa_o51
  10. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/sexeducationrequiredcontent.html
  11. http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=2325
  12. http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/what-do-we-want-from-sex-and-relationships-education/
  13. http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/abstain-from-abstinence-please-dorries.html
  14. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/20/nadine-dorries-sexual-abstinence-bill-withdrawn
  15. http://cornerstonegroup.wordpress.com/about/
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/742
  17. http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/articles/a0000484.shtml
  18. http://c4m.org.uk/signatures/
  19. http://c4m.org.uk/aboutus/
  20. http://www.eauk.org/articles/coalition-for-marriage-launched.cfm
  21. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-17102352
  22. http://bengoldacre.posterous.com/thinking-out-loud-who-are-the-coalition-for-m
  23. http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/the-lay-scientist/2012/feb/20/1
  24. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Julian_Brazier
  25. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Julian_Brazier
  26. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/climate-change-what-mps-think--a-to-c-424376.html
  27. https://web.archive.org/web/20150502061628/http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/climate-change.htm
  28. http://canterburyconservatives.com/2010/02/local-mp-pushes-to-save-vitamins-and-jobs-as-time-runs-out/
  29. https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481110771217469440
  30. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmagenda/ob140618.htm

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