Peter Lilley

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Peter Lilley was the Conservative MP for St Albans (1983-1997) and Hitchin and Harpenden (1997-2017) .

Climate Change

Peter Lilley, one of only three MPs (plus two tellers) to vote against the government’s Climate Change Bill[1][2], has accused climate scientists of an "unconscious conspiracy". After news broke of the hacking of emails at the East Anglian Climatic Research Unit, Lilley claimed that "Scientists would rather change facts than their theories."[3] The CRU Climate scientists issued rebuttals against the allegations and described the incident as a smear campaign.

In a commons debate of 2009, Lilley spoke at length about global warming:

"The simple fact is that the science is not resolved. A lot of serious scientists think that although there is a measure of impact—I agree with that—the alarmist views are not upheld by the science. A majority may well disagree with the scientists to whom I have referred.
"There are plenty of other fairy stories around, and I want to touch on the idea that a rise of 2° C would constitute dangerous climate change that we should try to avoid by spending unlimited amounts. That is a 2° C rise not from now, but from before the industrial revolution. We have already had a rise of 0.7° C, so it is being said that a further 1.3° C rise in world temperature would be dangerous. One reason why the ordinary public are in disbelief is because they spend their time looking for places that are 10° C warmer than here, not 1° C. The Minister was frightfully upset when I pointed out that the average temperature in north-east England was more than 2° C higher than that in Cornwall and asked whether it was dangerous for people to go from Newcastle to Newquay. We cannot pretend that comparatively modest changes to the temperature of the Earth will lead to Armageddon- they will not."[4]

Peter Lilley on BBC Newsnight, 5th September 2012: (He doesn't have much time to elaborate his ideas, but seems to argue that the economic cost of action outweighs the benefits "for the first century".)

In 2012 he authored a report "What is Wrong with Stern? - The Failings of the Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change": (or here)

A response here:


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Peter Lilley voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 12 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 Lilley 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.

Sex Education

In May 2011 Mr Lilley voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill[9]. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity"[10]. 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[11] (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[12], plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school)[13]. 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[14].


A constituent wrote to Lilley in June or July 2010 asking him to sign a number of Early Day Motions against homeopathy. Lilley responded that he only signed EDMs that relate specifically to his constituency or that he is personally involved with, however he would raise the issue with the Health Secretary.[15]

Health Committee Nomination

In 2010, Peter Lilley was one of the MPs to nominate Nadine Dorries for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee.[16]

Drug Policy

Mr Lilley has advocated the legalisation of cannabis use:

An article where he considers some views on drug policy:

Science and Religion

In 1997, Lilley was asked whether he felt there was "a tension" between Science and Faith:

"No, my faith was gradually growing. Many people seemed to believe that science had discredited religion without really knowing much about either, yet a lot of my scientific contemporaries were Christian. Truth is never afraid of knowledge."[17]

Same-Sex Marriage

Peter Lilley voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[18] and its third reading in May 2013[19].



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