In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Mark Field voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks. 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.
In February 2015 Mark Field voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease. 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. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.
Animals in Medical Research
In 2006, Mark Field 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".
In a May/June 2008 article on his website on the Climate Change Bill, Mr Field wrote:
- "Even a cursory review of the large body of scientific research and opinion on global warming suggests that the debate on this issue is far from settled. However much the BBC, other media outlets and public grant giving bodies try to convince us that ‘there is no further need for debate’ the apparent scientific consensus on climate change is superficial. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) seeks, via computer modelling, to extrapolate temperature changes for centuries to come. As Lord Lawson in his book ‘An Appeal to Reason’ points out, we only have to ask ourselves whether one century ago, “the Edwardians, even if equipped with the most powerful modern computers, would have been able to foresee the massive economic, political and technological changes that have occurred over the past hundred years”. This would be bad enough if the role of the IPCC was simply to predict climatic change, but it has also charged itself with making a range of policy prescriptions (which naturally can take no account of technological and economic uncertainty) on the back of its extrapolations.
- "Indeed given that only thirty years ago the consensus of expert climate science opinion was that we were entering a new Ice Age, the indisputable evidence of warming has only been apparent over a very short time scale. It is also worth noting that despite the rise in global temperatures that has taken place since the mid-1970s, this warming trend has ground to a halt since the turn of the millennium. Indeed the trend since 1998 (insofar as it is sensible to calculate trends in temperature change in anything less than centuries) has been something of a plateau. Last month one national newspaper reported that a new study suggested that global warming will stop until at least 2015 because of natural variations in the climate. Having studied long-term changes in sea temperatures, it was concluded that natural variations in climate will cancel out the increases apparently caused by man-made greenhouse gas emissions and average sea temperatures around North America and Europe are even expected to cool slightly. In this scenario, the IPCC’s predictions of a 0.3°C global average temperature rise would not happen. The article also revealed that the IPCC currently does not include in its models records of such events as the strength of the Gulf Stream and the El Nino cyclical warming event in the Pacific, which are known to have been behind the warmest year ever recorded in 1998.
- "Climate change alarmists also face another problem. If carbon dioxide emissions are the primary cause of global warming, how given that industrialisation has been a global phenomenon for well over a century, do we explain the global cooling trend that occurred between 1940 and 1975? Similarly, the evidence is that in Antarctica, for example, the overwhelming bulk of that continent has also been getting cooler in recent decades. There is also the tendency in the media to attribute each and every extreme weather phenomenon to global warming and regard it as proof of a need to curb carbon dioxide emissions. Moreover there is (admittedly a minority) scientific view that suggests that the relationship between carbon dioxide emissions and warming is in fact the other way round – the rise in global temperatures predates emissions of carbon dioxide.
- "In truth, the timeline perspective required to make any sensible judgement on changes in global temperatures is one of centuries or even millennia in the past. Certainly to suggest, as the Climate Change Bill does, that there should be a radical overhaul in economic policy on the evidence of temperature trends applying over two or three decades, is the height of folly.
- "One question that seems to be asked all too rarely in this ‘debate’ is whether a level of global warming is especially undesirable. The truth is that a warmer world does more to alleviate poverty than a colder and poorer planet. As a result we run the risk that the living standards of the most vulnerable and poorest global citizens will be most adversely affected by an aggressive programme of government intervention to reverse the process of industrialisation which has brought such prosperity and wealth to the West over the past two centuries or so."
A modified version of this article, titled "Counselling Caution When It Comes" appeared in September 2009. In this version, the paragraphs quoted above (and others) were omitted, and while climate change was still mentioned, other issues were mentioned too, such as the Y2K bug and swine flu, with the article concluding:
- "...I am instinctively sceptical about the idea of a ‘political consensus’ developing on any issue, be it health, welfare or even (more recently than we Conservatives might like to remember) the economy. In principle I regard the notion of the ‘debate being over’ as little more than a conspiracy by the political class to disenfranchise the voters. I also regard it as curious that rather than choose a message of hope, an increasingly powerless political class seem to encourage the national predilection for the apocalyptic.
- "I am not saying that we ignore advice. However, there should be a healthy scepticism towards expert opinion. We need to assess risk within context. So when it comes to consensus, I advise only this: exercise a degree of caution; always question; always inquire. For it is when debate has died that we should worry the most."
In a few other articles on his website, Mark Field had, in passing, expressed views associated with critics of action on climate change. He would highlight other benefits of reducing dependence on fossil fuels, such as energy security. For example:
- "It is still debated whether or not the recent heating of the planet is temporary or permanent, a natural fluctuation or caused by mankind. Nevertheless, these arguments are somewhat irrelevant when it comes to the UK's energy policy."
- "The UK is responsible for 2% of global greenhouse gas emissions. These emissions and our share of them are rising. If the people of this country make a massive effort it will have a very small effect on the overall figure of emissions across the globe."
In the two articles above, "The Need For Nuclear" (2007) and "Reflecting On Climate Change" (2006), Mr Field proposes technology, and in particular nuclear power, as a solution to climate change and energy security.
- http://markfieldmp.com/news-a-articles/archive/climate-change-bill/ or http://www.freezepage.com/1359310706QRARUHAOJF
- http://markfieldmp.com/news-a-articles/miscellaneous/miscellaneous1/ or http://www.freezepage.com/1359310789QIJFUGHBLF
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