Matthew Offord

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Matthew Offord is the Conservative MP for Hendon. He entered Parliament at the 2010 general election, taking the seat from Andrew Dismore (Labour).

Homeopathy

In June 2011, Dr Offord asked a Parliamentary question on homeopathy and complementary medicine on the NHS:

To ask the Secretary of State for Health what his policy is on the continued provision of homeopathy through NHS homeopathic hospitals; how many NHS homeopathic hospitals provide homeopathic treatments and other forms of complementary medicine to NHS patients; and if he will make a statement.[1][2]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Matthew Offord 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[3]. 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[4]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[5]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Same-Sex Marriage

Correspondence with Dr Offord from during the 2012 consultation on same-sex marriage:

From the first letter:

"My own position is that I will not be voting for legislation that extends marriage for same-sex couples. Having waited many years to get married I acknowledge the value the commitment brings. It is my strong personal, moral and religious belief that the institution of marriage is to provide the foundation of a stable relationship in which those two people of the opposite sex procreate and raise a child. That is physically not possible for same-sex couples so I don't see the point of introducing a law to allow this. I strongly believe in same-sex couples having the right to a civil registration, in order that they receive the same benefits as opposite-sex couples but not marriage."

Dr Offord voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its Second Reading in February 2013[6] and its Third Reading in May 2013[7].

Sex Education

In May 2011 Dr Offord voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill[8]. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity"[9]. It was criticised for only applying to sex education for girls, not boys, with critics also pointing to evidence that abstinence-only sex education (which does not necessarily lead to abstinence itself) does not protect young people from unwanted pregnancies or STIs[10] (although this was not a bill advocating abstinence-only sex education, it would have meant that the only required elements of sex education would be basic information on reproduction[11], plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school)[12]. The Bill passed its first reading by 67 votes to 61, but had little chance of becoming law and was withdrawn in January 2012 shortly before its second reading[13].

Council Prayers

In June 2013 Dr Offord sponsored a private members' bill: Local Government (Religious etc. Observances) Bill 2013-14[14] to give councils permission to hold prayers during meetings. A 2012 High Court had decided that prayers as part of meetings were illegal following a challenge by the National Secular Society, although a period of prayer was allowed before the official procedures of the meeting started.

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110609/text/110609w0002.htm#11060960000015
  2. http://www.theyworkforyou.com/wrans/?id=2011-06-09a.59002.h
  3. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Matthew_Offord
  4. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  5. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  6. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Matthew_Offord
  7. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Matthew_Offord
  8. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110504/debtext/110504-0001.htm#stpa_o51
  9. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/sexeducationrequiredcontent.html
  10. http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=2325
  11. http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/what-do-we-want-from-sex-and-relationships-education/
  12. http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/abstain-from-abstinence-please-dorries.html
  13. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/20/nadine-dorries-sexual-abstinence-bill-withdrawn
  14. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2013-14/localgovernmentreligiousetcobservances.html

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