Richard Drax

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Richard Drax is the Conservative MP for South Dorset. He entered Parliament at the 2010 general election, taking the seat from Jim Knight (Labour).

Same-Sex Marriage

In March 2012 Mr Drax was listed (but see below) as having signed the Coalition for Marriage petition which stated:

"I support the legal definition of marriage which is the voluntary union for life of one man and one woman to the exclusion of all others. I oppose any attempt to redefine it."[1]

The Coalition for Marriage describes itself as "an umbrella group of individuals and organisations ... backed by politicians, lawyers, academics and religious leaders"[2]. They are supported by the Evangelical Alliance[3] and former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey[4], and have connections with other Christian groups[5].

The group claims it "draws upon a substantial body of evidence". However, science and evidence-based politics blogger Martin Robbins described their argument as "confused, irrational and ultimately self-defeating"[6].

However, in a letter to a constituent, Mr Drax stated that he had not signed the petition - although he stated that he would "vote against such a proposal were it to come to the Commons". He explained his views:

"You ask for my rational argument for opposing gay marriage and I am most happy to explain it to you. First, I have been brought up to believe that marriage is between a man and a woman and I'm afraid I can never change that view.
"Second, any such change in law would ride rough-shod over hundreds of years of Christian teaching. And while I am perhaps not the best practising Christian, I don't believe we can arrogantly stamp all over it with the heavy hand of legislation.[7]

In September 2012 in a post on his website, Mr Drax stated:

"...I disagree with the Prime Minister and will both attempt to speak on the topic if it comes to the House, and vote against it. I was brought up in a Christian family and 'marriage' in my view is between a man and a woman, and always will be. We have no mandate to redefine 'marriage' and it would be an abuse of power to push this through the Commons on the whim of a Prime Minister, whose motives I really do query."[8]

Mr Drax subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[9] and its third reading in May 2013[10].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Richard Drax voted against allowing mitochondrial donation, which would allow women who carried mitochondrial diseases to give birth to children who would not inherit the disease[11]. If allowed, mitochondrial donation would be regulated by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority (HFEA) meaning that there would be ongoing assessment of the safety and efficacy of such procedures. An October 2014 briefing report by the HFEA, which had been investigating the issue for three years, stated that there was no evidence to show that mitochondrial donation was unsafe[12]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[13]. The majority of MPs voted in favour of allowing mitochondrial donation.



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