Sylvia Hermon

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Lady Sylvia Hermon is the Independent MP for North Down.

Lady Hermon entered Parliament in 2001 as Ulster Unionist Party MP for North Down. In March 2010, following an agreement between the UUP and the Conservative Party, she resigned from the UUP[1] and stood successfully as an independent candidate in the 2010 and 2015 general elections.

Healthcare

Homeopathy

Lady Hermon 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 February 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", Lady Hermon signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[3].

In July 2010, Lady Hermon signed Early Day Motion 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy[4] which expressed concern at a number of motions to be put forward at the British Medical Association's annual representative meeting calling "for no further commissioning of, nor funding for, homeopathic remedies in the NHS", and "thinks that an integrated NHS, which employs the best from the orthodox and complementary ... could deliver better and more cost-effective outcomes at a time of financial prudence".

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Sylvia Hermon voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[5]. 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. Also the Abortion Act 1967 does not currently apply to Northern Ireland.

In September 2011 Sylvia Hermon voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes[6]. 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.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Lady Hermon voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[7]. 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[8]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[9]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.

MMR Vaccine

Sylvia Hermon 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.[10]

Animals in Medical Research

In 2006, Sylvia Hermon 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".[11]

Religion

Following the adverts bought by the Atheist Bus Campaign on public transport in January 2009, Sylvia Hermon signed Early Day Motion 424 claiming that the rationale behind the adverts was that non-religious people can be less careful about their lifestyle choices and life's consequences[12].

Same-Sex Marriage

Lady Hermon voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[13] and its third reading in May 2013[14].

Libel Law Reform

In March 2010, Sylvia Hermon signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[15]. 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.

References

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/8586845.stm
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/284
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  6. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  7. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Lady_Hermon
  8. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  9. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/1850
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/424
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Lady_Hermon
  14. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Lady_Hermon
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423

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