Richard Benyon

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Richard Benyon is the Conservative MP for Newbury. He entered Parliament in 2005.



Benyon was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[1].

When asked by journalist Tom Whipple what evidence the MP had used in deciding to support the motion, Benyon responded, "The short answer is from constituents who have benefited from such treatments and from constituents who are practitioners." [2]


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Richard Benyon voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[3]. 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.

Benyon wrote about the reasoning behind his vote on the Bill:

"In Parliament we can go from one meeting where lucid arguments are made by scientists who are desperate for the Bill to become law, and then into another room where there are more scientists making eloquent arguments as to how the Bill is not necessary or how it is even dangerous to the proper development of research methods.
MPs are nearly all lay men and women in this area of science so we have to use that most dangerous of tools: our judgement. I intend to vote from a “pro-life” standpoint on the key issues but I will listen to the arguments with care."[4]

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Richard Benyon 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[5]. 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[6]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[7]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

Climate Change

In 2006, MPs were asked three questions by the Rough Guide's Mark Ellingham on how seriously they took climate change as politicians and as responsible, active citizens. Benyon replied:

"1: Climate Change is the defining issue of our age. Previous generations had to deal with the rise of Nazism or communism. This is the issue on which my generation of politicians will be judged. This is our Dunkirk.
2: Clearly set out accountable targets for reduction in carbon emissions. A better acceptance of market mechanisms as a means of tackling climate change. So much relies on the attitude or actions of the United States Government. The British Government must challenge the Bush administration and it's successor on this vital issue.
3: I am getting a grip on my own carbon footprint. I have sponsored a showing of Al Gore's "An Inconvenient Truth" for all Councillors, local politicians, business leaders, church leaders, voluntary sector leaders and schools in my constituency. I have encouraged my local council with it's "Cleaner Greener West Berkshire" campaign."[8]

September 2014:

"Climate change is one of the great challenges of our generation. If we don’t take it seriously, we will be making a big mistake."

Animal Testing

In 2006, Richard Benyon 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".[9]

Same-Sex Marriage

Richard Benyon voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[10] and its third reading in May 2013[11].



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