Mike Penning

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Mike Penning is the Conservative MP for Hemel Hempstead. He entered Parliament at the 2005 general election


Mike Penning was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[1].


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Mike Penning voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 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, in keeping with scientific and medical consensus, hence no abortion amendments were added to the bill.

Mr Penning also supported Nadine Dorries's Termination of Pregnancy Private Member's Bill[3].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Mr Penning voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[4]. 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[5]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[6]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.

MMR Vaccine

Mike Penning signed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.[7]

Vitamins and Mineral Supplements

In December 2009, Penning proposed Early Day Motion 301: Availability of Vitamins and Mineral Supplements[8]. The motion stated:

That this House notes that the United Kingdom has a rigorous and effective regime for permitting onto the market under the provisions of the Food Safety Act 1990 only such higher potency vitamin and mineral supplements as are accepted as safe and appropriately labelled by the Food Standards Agency; is deeply concerned that the future availability of such safe and popular supplements is now threatened by the current process through which the European Union is proposing pan-European limits on the potencies of such supplements under the provisions of Article 5 of the Food Supplements Directive; further notes that successive Ministers have pledged to defend the future availability of such supplements but have not yet secured sufficient support from other member states and the European Commission to ensure that the policy objectives of the Government can be achieved; and calls on the Prime Minister personally to intervene with the President of the European Commission to ensure that the right of UK manufacturers to produce, specialist retailers to sell, and informed consumers to choose to buy such safe and popular supplements is not unacceptably curtailed through an unnecessarily restrictive interpretation of the legislation.

Libel Law Reform

In March 2010, Mike Penning signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[9]. 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.

Same-Sex Marriage

Mike Penning voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[10] and its third reading in May 2013[11].

Psychoactive Substances Act 2016

As a minister, Mike Penning pushed the Psychoactive Substances Act 2016 through Parliament. The law has been criticised for criminalising substances based on a vague and unscientific notion of 'psychoactivity' rather than based on harm.


  1. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/pabills/200607/termination_of_pregnancy.htm
  4. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Michael_Penning
  5. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  6. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  7. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  8. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/301
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  10. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Michael_Penning
  11. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Michael_Penning

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