Laurence Robertson

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Laurence Robertson is the Conservative MP for Tewkesbury.

Robertson was educated at St James's C.E. Secondary School; Farnworth Grammar School and Bolton Institute of Higher Education, gaining a diploma in Management Services.

His working life has including charity fund-raising, public relations consultant, company director, factory owner from 1987-8, industrial management consultant from 1983-9, and work study engineer from 1977-83. Robertson was elected to the House of Commons representing Tewkesbury in 1997.

Robertson is a member of the right-wing Freedom Association, an organisation that declares to be "against equal opportunities policies".[1]

Abortion

Robertson introduced the unsuccessful Prohibition of Abortion (England and Wales) Bill 2005 in the House of Commons to ban abortion 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), Laurence Robertson voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 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, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.

Robertson presented his opinion on abortion during a 2009 debate in the Commons:

"I take the view put forward by the hon. Member for Upper Bann (David Simpson), who said that if anything, we should be tightening the abortion law across Great Britain and moving away from the current situation. Last year alone, there were 216,000 abortions in Great Britain. I simply cannot accept that many abortions are not carried out for social reasons. We all know of social excuses for abortions and we all know that we are not simply talking about teenage children who cannot cope".[4]

In September 2011 Laurence Robertson voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes[5]. 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 Laurence Robertson 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.

Complementary/Alternative Medicine

Homeopathy

Laurence Robertson was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[9].

Anthroposophic Medicine

In 2011 Robertson submitted a written Parliamentary question:

"To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on (a) the future of anthroposophic medicine and (b) the Medicine and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency's review of the field; and if he will make a statement."[10][11]

Race

In 2001, Robertson was on record agreeing with comments attributed to former Conservative MP John Townend, who was misreported to have said that immigration was creating a "mongrel race" in the UK.[12] Townend was later quoted in full and was shown to be referring to then foreign secretary Robin Cook, "Mr Cook and many of his colleagues challenge the very concept of our nation. Presumably he considers us a mongrel race. I can tell him my Yorkshire constituents are insulted by such comments."[13]

After the initial misreporting of the "mongrel race" comment, Robertson described the sentiment as "basically true", and was forced to issue an apology by then party leader William Hague.[14]

Cornerstone Group

Laurence Robertson 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.

Same-Sex Marriage

Laurence Robertson voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[16] and its third reading in May 2013[17].

References

  1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1306373.stm
  2. 2.0 2.1 http://www.abortionrights.org.uk/content/view/80/106/
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  4. http://www.parliament.the-stationery-office.co.uk/pa/cm200809/cmhansrd/cm090715/halltext/90715h0004.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=Laurence_Robertson
  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.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  10. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110908/text/110908w0003.htm#11090947000201
  11. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2011-09-08a.70704.h
  12. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/1328693/John-Townend-outspoken.html
  13. http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/hague-urged-to-expel-race-row-mp-682804.html
  14. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/1308146.stm
  15. http://cornerstonegroup.wordpress.com/about/
  16. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Laurence_Robertson
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Laurence_Robertson

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