Peter Bottomley

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Peter Bottomley is the Conservative MP for Worthing West.

Mr Bottomley was previously listed as one of the twenty qualifying members of the All Party Parliamentary Humanist Group[1]. In addition he is one of fifteen MPs appointed to the Ecclesiastical Committee,[2] which considers measures passed by the General Synod of the Church of England.

Biographical background

Mr Bottomley was born in Newport, Shropshire. He received his schooling in Washington, D.C. and then Westminster School before going on to take an economics degree at Trinity College, Cambridge. In 1967 he married the well-connected Virginia Garnett, who later became an MP, a Cabinet Minister and then a life peer.

Peter Bottomley was elected as the Conservative MP for Woolwich West on 26 June 1975 with a majority of 2,382, and held this marginal seat and its successor, Eltham, in Parliament for the next 22 years.

Before the 1979 General Election, Peter Bottomley became a trustee with Christian Aid in 1978 until 1984. He has been chairman of the Church of England's Children's Society, a trustee of MIND and of NACRO and on the policy committee of One Parent Families. He served on the successor committee to the Archbishop of Canterbury's commission Faith in the City and chaired the churches' review group on the Churches Main Committee. He is a member of the Ecclesiastical Committee.

After nine years on the backbenches, Bottomley became a member of Margaret Thatcher's government when he was appointed as the Parliamentary Under Secretary of State at the then Department for Employment in 1984, moving sideways at the Department of Transport in 1986 to become the Minister of Roads and Traffic,

Since 1990 he has been a backbencher, described as a maverick but not a rebel. Peter Bottomley decided not to contest Eltham after major boundary change at the 1997 General Election, but sought nomination elsewhere. Following the retirement of the veteran Conservative MP Terence Higgins, Bottomley contested Worthing West and won with a majority of over 9,000. He has held the seat comfortably since. In 2002-2003 he was Master of the Worshipful Company of Drapers and has now been a Member of Parliament for over 30 years and is one of the 20 longest serving MPs.

Healthcare

Homeopathy

In July 2010, Peter Bottomley proposed Early Day Motion 387: Homeopathy[3]. The motion stated:

"That this House supports the findings of the Fourth Report of the Science and Technology Select Committee of Session 2009-10, Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy, HC45, and is unconvinced by isolated small studies of dubious significance; regrets the citing of isolated poor quality studies; believes that, if a placebo is as effective as a homeopathic solution, the placebo is to be preferred; and welcomes the conclusions of the 2010 British Medical Association Representative Meeting that the Commons Committee's conclusions are right."

MMR Vaccine

Peter Bottomley 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.[4]

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Peter Bottomley voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 22 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[5]. 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.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Peter Bottomley voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to have genetically related children who would not inherit the disease[6]. 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[7]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[8]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Miracle Cures

In June 2008, the MP seconded Early Day Motion 1770, protesting the uncritical promotion by the media of Dore, a claimed miracle cure for dyslexia, in the absence of scientific proof of its value. [9]

Animals in Medical Research

In 2006, Peter Bottomley signed Early Day Motion 1850: Animals in Medical Research which noted that "animal research is only permitted where there is no better alternative and that pain and suffering are minimised and balanced against the potential benefit to humans and animals", supported "the building of the new state of the art biomedical research laboratory at Oxford University", condemned "unlawful animal rights extremism, including any violence, harassment or intimidation of those associated with lawful animal research", and supported "the well-regulated use of animals in medical research".[10]

Religion

Peter Bottomley seconded the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1770 supporting freedom of religion and welcoming the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain[11].

Faith based Adoption Agencies

In 2007, Peter Bottomley signed Early Day Motion 742 calling on the government to exclude "faith based" adoption agencies from the Equality Act to avoid such agencies being forced to consider gay couples.[12]

Same-Sex Marriage

February 2013, "...I started looking at those arguments [against allowing same-sex marriage] and they don't add up." http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-21319330

Mr Bottomley voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[13] and its third reading in May 2013[14].

Climate Change

Mr Bottomley is convinced by the scientific consensus on anthropogenic climate change. In 2005 he wrote on his website:

"I agree with the government’s Chief Scientific Adviser when he says climate change is a threat to civilization, and should be taken as seriously as the threat from terrorism. Global average surface temperatures increased by 0.6% over the twentieth century, and may rise by up to 5.8 degrees between 1900 and 2100. The mean sea level is expected to rise by 0.09m over the same period – enough to significantly increase the risk of flooding in low-lying areas. The Association of British Insurers believes this may lead to an extra £1bn of damage in coastal areas, while a report in the journal Nature estimated 15-37% of land-based animals could become extinct by 2050."[15]

In January 2010, Peter Bottomley seconded Early Day Motion 524: Recognising Climate Change which states that "this House agrees that climate change is happening and is man-made" and calls this statement a "fact, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community"[16].

Mr Bottomley 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".[17]

Science Education

Creationism

Mr Bottomley signed Early Day Motion 2708 calling for schools to treat with caution creationist literature sent by the religious group 'Truth in Science'.[18]

Charles Darwin

Peter Bottomley seconded Early Day Motion 377 noting the achievements of Charles Darwin, and calling for Darwin's birthday to be designated a public holiday to honour "one of the fathers of modern science and one of Britain's greatest, if not the greatest, scientific minds."

Science Funding

In September 2010, Peter Bottomley signed both Early Day Motions 707: Government Funding for UK Science[19], and 767: Science is Vital Campaign[20]. Both motions supported investment in science in the face of cuts anticipated in the coalition government's forthcoming spending review.

Policymaking On Drugs And Alcohol

Peter Bottomley signed Early Day Motion 2244 calling for Government policy on alcohol and drugs misuse and harm to be based on scientific evidence. The motion came shortly after the sacking of Government drug adviser David Nutt by Home Secretary Alan Johnson in 2009.

Badger Cull

Peter Bottomley was quoted on the Conservatives Against The Badger Cull website:

"There is no convincing evidence that culling has a significant benefit." (September 2012)[21]

Libel Law Reform

In December 2009, Peter Bottomley signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[22]. 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.

The motion was tabled following the recent formation of Libel Reform Coalition, which has the backing of Index on Censorship, English PEN and Sense about Science. Sense about Science have been campaigning in defense of a member of its board of trustees, author and journalist Simon Singh, who has been sued for libel by the British Chiropractic Association. They issued a statement entitled "The law has no place in scientific disputes".

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/memi358.htm
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/business/committees/committees-a-z/other-committees/ecclesiastical-committee/membership/
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/387
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2008-09/754
  5. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  6. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Peter_Bottomley
  7. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  8. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2007-08/1770
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/1850
  11. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1770
  12. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/742
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Peter_Bottomley
  14. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Peter_Bottomley
  15. http://www.peterbottomley.org.uk/record.jsp?ID=11&type=topic
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/524
  17. https://web.archive.org/web/20150502061628/http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm/cmallparty/register/climate-change.htm
  18. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2005-06/2708
  19. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/707
  20. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  21. http://www.bluebadger.org/page6.html
  22. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423

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