Peter Hain

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Peter Hain was the Labour MP for Neath from 1991 until he stood down at the 2015 general election.

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Peter Hain voted to keep the current time limit of 24 weeks[1].

The House of Commons Science and Technology Committee report of October 2007[2] had found no good evidence of change since the limit was set in 1990, and hence no new reason for a reduction. However, it acknowledged that this was only one of many factors to be taken into account when legislating, and did not make any recommendations as to how MPs should vote.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Peter Hain 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.

Alternative Medicine

Homeopathy

In October 2005, it was reported that Mr Hain was a "true convert" to homeopathy[6]. He was quoted on his experience with his son's eczema and asthma:

"Various creams were prescribed and a steroidal spray. But they didn't work, ... So instead we turned to the complementary medicine. And with the help of homeopathy and tight restrictions on the sort of food that our son could eat, both ailments went away."[6]

In June 2012, it was reported that Mr Hain was a supporter of a British Homeopathic Association campaign. Mr Hain was quoted:

"I've used homeopathy for many years and am convinced of its therapeutic value.
"I first came to know about homeopathy through my son who as a baby suffered from eczema.
"He had it a couple of years but with conventional treatment the eczema was getting progressively worse and at the age of four he also developed asthma.
"We turned to homeopathy out of desperation and were stunned with the positive results.
"Since then I have used homeopathy for a wide variety of illnesses, but I rely on arnica as it's excellent for treating the everyday bruises and shocks to the system we face.
"My view is that homeopathy and conventional medicines must remain side by side under the NHS to offer the best to patients."[7]

Wales

In 2004, during his time as Welsh Secretary, Peter Hain joined with Prince Charles to promote a scheme for providing complementary medicine on the NHS[8]. He described his support for the scheme in an interview[9].

Northern Ireland

In 2007, in his role as Northern Ireland secretary, Peter Hain authorised £200,000 to be spent on a year-long trial in Londonderry and Belfast allowing GPs to refer patients for acupuncture, homeopathy and massage therapies. The study was run by GetWell UK.

Hain admitted to being a user of the remedies himself and said he was "delighted that Northern Ireland is leading the way in integrating complementary and alternative therapies into the National Health Service".[10]

An analysis of the trial was published by market research company SMR, on behalf of GetWell UK. The study claimed positive effects on patients from the remedies. However, the report was criticised in detail by skeptics on the basis that it lacked independent scrutiny, avoided important questions, and produced a conclusion that was not borne out by evidence within the report. According to Professor David Colquhoun:

"At the end of the “pilot scheme” there will have been no proper assessment of the effectiveness of the treatments. We shall be none the wiser."[11][12]

Nomination of David Tredinnick for Health Committee Chair

In 2014 Mr Hain was one of 20 MPs to nominate David Tredinnick (an outspoken advocate of alternative medicine) for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee[13][14]. It is not known if Mr Hain subsequently voted for Mr Tredinnick, who only received nine votes in the anonymous ballot.

Faith Schools

In 2007, the Labour Humanist Group questioned candidates for the Deputy Leadership position on their views regarding faith schools.

Question: What do you say to; (a) parents who can’t send their children to a their nearest school because that school discriminates against them on the basis of their religion or belief; (b) to teachers who are discriminated against and barred from thousands of teaching jobs on the basis of their religion or belief?

Peter Hain responded:

"As Northern Ireland Secretary, I have tried to promote integrated education, rather than having an education system which perpetuates sectarian division.
The right of parents to choose to send their children to a school with a particular ethos must not mean compromising on the standards of the curriculum – for example, we must not allow ideology to interfere with science lessons.
I don’t believe teachers should be discriminated against – you don’t need to be religious to teach geography."[15]

Question: Will you support giving all schools more freedom to determine their ethos by repealing the requirement that all schools, including community schools, must carry out collective acts of Christian worship?

Peter Hain responded:

"I don’t believe it is for the state to compel all schools to carry out acts of worship."[15]

Creationism

On an episode of BBC's Question Time broadcast on 25th February 2010, the panel was asked if faith schools should be allowed to put their own slant on what was taught in science classes, for example in the teaching of evolution. Mr Hain responded:

"I think creationism's barmy, and, frankly, should have no place in science, or science teaching, at all."[16]

Same-Sex Marriage

Peter Hain voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at its second reading in February 2013[17] and did not vote at its third reading in May 2013[18].

References

  1. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2008-05-20&number=203&mpn=Peter_Hain
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  3. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Peter_Hain
  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. 6.0 6.1 http://www.theguardian.com/society/2005/oct/13/health.politics
  7. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/health/peter-hain-im-backing-homeopathic-2053093 Saved: http://www.freezepage.com/1381997104KOKSGBSDSQ
  8. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2004/10/13/free-alternative-medicine-for-wales-91466-14749258/
  9. http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/2004/10/14/why-i-believe-alternative-medicines-can-benefit-the-health-of-us-all-in-wales-91466-14753271/ Saved: http://www.freezepage.com/1381997204PDICDGDZID
  10. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6329279.stm
  11. http://www.quackometer.net/blog/2009/02/northern-ireland-nhs-alternative.html
  12. http://www.dcscience.net/?p=33
  13. https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481110771217469440 & https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481111043796914176
  14. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmagenda/ob140618.htm
  15. 15.0 15.1 http://humanistsforlabour.typepad.com/the_labour_humanist_group/deputy_leadership_election/
  16. http://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b00r60v2/Question_Time_Cardiff/
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Peter_Hain
  18. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Peter_Hain

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