Luciana Berger

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Luciana Berger is the Labour MP for Liverpool, Wavertree. She entered Parliament at the May 2010 general election. In October 2013 she was appointed Shadow Minister for Public Health.

Alternative Medicine

(Please read this section to the end as Ms Berger has apparently changed her initial stance, on homeopathy in particular.)

Ms Berger was previously listed as a member of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Integrated Healthcare (2010-2013).[1]

Homeopathy

In June 2010, Luciana Berger signed Early Day Motions 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy[2], and 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells[3]. A few days later she signed the additional EDM 342: British Medical Association Motions on Homeopathy[4].

In August 2010 Ms Berger was contacted by Michael Marshall, a member of Merseyside Skeptics Society and a 10:23 campaigner, explaining the scientific case against homeopathy: http://www.merseysideskeptics.org.uk/2010/08/dear-luciana-berger-mp-homeopathy-really/

When asked about this almost three years later, Mr Marshall reported that the two had met, and Ms Berger had explained that she supported homeopathy because her grandmother used it, and it was unlikely that she would change her mind on the issue[5].

Following her appointment as Shadow Minister for Public Health in October 2013, Skeptical Voter tweeted, based on the above evidence, that she "believes in homeopathy"[6] (in the subsequent tweets Ms Berger questioned Mr Marshall's report of their meeting). In a newspaper report a few days later, a Labour Party spokesman was quoted as saying "Luciana fully supports the scientific evidence on the use of homeopathy. These old petitions will have no impact on her work as a shadow Health minister."[7]

In a March 2014 interview (which contains plenty of information about her views) Ms Berger was asked about signing pro-homeopathy EDMs. She was quoted as saying in response:

"I’ve had a chance to look at the evidence now and so if I was presented with those EDMs today I wouldn’t have signed them. I think I signed them within a month of getting into Parliament. I signed loads and quickly learned EDMs are put in front of your nose and colleagues ask you to sign something. Of course we are always responsible for what we sign, but you might not have been as astute as you should have been when you first enter Parliament. Having had the opportunity to look at the evidence I’m fully aware now, in terms of the impact, it’s a placebo effect, if that."[8]

Vaccinations

Article from March 2015: http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/luciana-berger/meningitis-vaccine_b_6938956.html

Climate Change

Ms Berger was Shadow Minister for Climate Change from 2010 until October 2013. As an example of her views, on 10th September 2013 in a Parliamentary debate considering the 2008 Climate Change Act, she said:

"One hon. Member talked about an apparent plateau in world temperatures, but he neglected to mention the fact that the 12 warmest years on record have all come in the last 15 years. Since 2000, the UK has experienced its seven warmest years. Our average annual temperature has increased by about 1° Celsius since 1970. Last year, temperatures in some parts of our oceans were the highest ever and Arctic ice retreated to its smallest size on record.
"I think that the Met Office is an organisation to be respected and I look at its reports very closely. Its record of global average surface temperature shows an increase of 0.6° C since 1950. I did not have an opportunity to intervene at the time, but there is research, including that published in Nature Geoscience in 2011, that shows that three quarters of the rise in average global temperatures since the 1950s is due to human activity.
"A number of hon. Members referred to the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which is to deliver its fifth assessment report. As my hon. Friend Dr Whitehead said, it is expected to report a 95% probability that the global warming that we have experienced since 1950 is man-made. I agree with my hon. Friend that we should take note of that report. It is compiled by 255 experts from 38 countries. The weight of evidence is extraordinary, so I am disappointed that that has not been reflected in some Members’ contributions this afternoon."[9]

Science Funding

In October 2010, Luciana Berger 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".[10]

Same-Sex Marriage

Luciana Berger voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[11] and its third reading in May 2013[12].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Luciana Berger voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[13]. 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[14]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[15]. After clearing both Houses, mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

References

  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20131021123747/http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/integrated-healthcare.htm
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/284
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/285
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/342
  5. https://twitter.com/skepticalvoter/status/327796111374966784
  6. https://twitter.com/skepticalvoter/status/388073423856877568
  7. http://www.independent.co.uk/life-style/health-and-families/health-news/labour-tells-new-health-spokeswoman-to-drop-her-support-for-homeopathy-8876469.html (the headline seems to be a poor summary of the article)
  8. https://www.politicshome.com/health-and-care/articles/house/berger-acts
  9. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201314/cmhansrd/cm130910/halltext/130910h0001.htm#130910h0001.htm_spnew82
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  11. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Luciana_Berger
  12. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Luciana_Berger
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Luciana_Berger
  14. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  15. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500

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