Neil Parish is the Conservative MP for Tiverton and Honiton. He entered Parliament at the 2010 general election, the previous MP, Angela Browning (Conservative), having stepped down. From 1999 to 2009 he was an MEP for South West England.
In May 2009, Parish issued a statement after the European Parliament backed tougher laws on animal testing which he had drafted. He said:
- "It is essential that we balance the need to reduce and eliminate animal testing with the need to ensure that high quality research for new medicines for human health continues.
- "This directive sets the framework to allow us create an environment where animal testing is made redundant yet it will not impede scientists’ work in tackling debilitating and terminal medical conditions.
- "This law will ensure that animal tests are carried out in the most humane way possible. The current law is over 20 years old and desperately needed updating.
- "These proposals would mean that testing on animals - particularly primates - could only be conducted if there was a strong scientific case for doing so and a clear potential benefit to human health.
- "We all look forward to the day when we no longer need any animal testing. This new law is intended to make that day come far sooner."
In an initial response to the coalition government's spending review of October 2010, and in particular the smaller than expected cuts to science funding, Parish made the following statement:
- "Exeter University has a particular focus on climate change modelling. The University is successfully bringing together scientific expertise on climate change, amounting to 800 key people, probably the greatest concentration in the world. Under this Government their vital work can continue."
In May 2011 Mr Parish voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity". 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 (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, plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school). 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.
In February 2015 Neil Parish 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. 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. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.
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