Owen Paterson

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Owen Paterson is the Conservative MP for North Shropshire. He entered Parliament at the 1997 general election.

Following the 2010 general election he was appointed Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. In September 2012 he was appointed Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.

Climate Change

In June 2013 on BBC Radio 4's Any Questions, "The climate's always been changing", "the temperature hasn't changed in the last 17 years": http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b021438w/Any_Questions_Owen_Paterson_Peter_Hain_Leanne_Wood_James_Delingpole/ (from 35:25).

For information on the actual science behind these statements see here and here.


In May 2002, Owen Paterson raised a number of Parliamentary Questions about white asbestos, including one in which he asked the Health Secretary "if white asbestos, or chrysotile, is chemically distinguishable from talcum powder."[1]


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Owen Paterson voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 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 Paterson voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill on 7 September 2011, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.[3]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Owen Paterson 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.

Ash Dieback Disease

As Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, Mr Paterson lead government policy on Ash Dieback Disease. Video and article mentioning scientific advice on this issue: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20253767

Genetically Modified Crops/Badger Cull

January 2013 speech to the Oxford Farming Conference: text (pdf), and video. Reported in The Guardian and The Telegraph.

June 2013, news report on another speech on genetically-modified crops: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/jun/20/gm-crops-food-crisis-owen-paterson

Same-Sex Marriage

Letter to a constituent from May 2012: https://twitter.com/access2smith/status/204801336313778177/photo/1/large

Mr Paterson voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[7] and its third reading in May 2013[8].

Cornerstone Group

Owen Paterson is a member of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party that describes itself as believing in "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation's sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state."[9]. Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.


  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200102/cmhansrd/vo020305/text/20305w14.htm
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110907/debtext/110907-0002.htm#110907-0002.htm_div339
  4. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Owen_Paterson
  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.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Owen_Paterson
  8. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Owen_Paterson
  9. http://cornerstonegroup.wordpress.com/about/

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