Martin Horwood

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Martin Horwood was the Liberal Democrat MP for Cheltenham from 2005 until 2015.

Mr Horwood was one of twenty listed members of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group.[1]


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Martin Horwood voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 22 weeks[2]. 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[3] 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.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Martin Horwood 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[4]. 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[5]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[6]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.


In November 2010 Mr Horwood signed the amended 284A1: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy[7]. While the original motion had expressed support for homeopathy on the NHS, the signed amendment supported the right of the British Medical Association to express its views, and noted that the motions proposed at their annual representative meeting endorse the view "that the evidence base is clear that homeopathy is not effective beyond placebo and that scarce NHS funds should not be spent commissioning it".

Libel Law Reform

In February 2010, Martin Horwood signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[8]. 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.

Science Funding

In October 2010, Martin Horwood 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".[9]

University Tuition Fees

Mr Horwood did not vote on the proposed increase in tuition fees in December 2010[10] due to being at the Climate Change Summit. It was reported that he would have voted against the increase[11].

The Geek Manifesto

In June 2012 Mr Horwood wrote an article for the Gloucestershire Echo mentioning Mark Henderson's book "The Geek Manifesto" (he had introduced the author at the Cheltenham Science Festival):

"Was I ambushed by the Science Festival? In a good way, yes.
"I was introducing Mark Henderson, author of The Geek Manifesto which argues for a closer and better relationship between science and politics. He suggests not only that politicians need better understanding of matters scientific, but that the scientific method itself - evidence-based, keen on testing and flexible when presented with evidence of error - could improve policymaking no end.
"It's an important message and, of course, I was the target as well as the warm-up act. What about all the other MPs? Only one is actually a working scientist - Cambridge Lib Dem Dr Julian Huppert, with whom I shared an office for several months. He used to have unintelligible phone conversations about genetics and the sex lives of fruit flies."[12][13]

Same-Sex Marriage

Martin Horwood voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its third reading in May 2013[14].

Climate Change

Martin Horwood 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".[15]


  13. (signup required)

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