Richard Stevens

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Richard Stevens was the Labour Party Parliamentary candidate for Oxford West and Abingdon in the 2010 general election.

Questions

I received the following reply on 18 April. Jamesd 17:48, 19 April 2010 (UTC)

Do you support the use of public funds to provide unproven alternative "treatments" such as homeopathy?

In short, no. I would only support the use of public funds on such treatments if evidence showed that a clinical need for those treatments existed - but that need must be proven.

Should schools be allowed to teach creationism as an equivalent theory to evolution?

No. Schools should be able to teach children about creationism, but I don't believe it should be presented as an equivalent theory to evolution.

Do you believe that religious belief should be legally protected from ridicule?

No. I do not believe legal protections in this context would be appropriate or workable.

Should an independent government adviser whose views in their area of expertise conflict with government policy be able to express those views publicly without fear of being sacked?

Yes, provided those views are themselves based on the evidence rather than on personal or political opinion.

Should Sharia law be allowed as an alternative system within UK law?

No.

Do you agree that testing on animals (within strict criteria) is a necessary part of the development of medicines?

Yes. Although I support alternatives to animal testing so far as possible, I accept that there are limits to that.

Should policy-makers trust scientific evidence even when it appears counter-intuitive?

Yes, provided those policymakers are satisfied with that the evidence in question is sufficiently rigorous.

Do you think that abortion time limits should always be determined by the current scientific and medical consensus?

Yes.

Should religious leaders be entitled to vote in the House of Lords? No. Do you support the reform of English and Welsh libel law to allow a stronger 'public interest' defence?

Yes, I support the reform of libel law and in the light of recent cases (e.g. Simon Singh) it is clear that the public interest defence also needs strengthening. In my view libel awards should also be more strictly controlled, and I think the courts need to set down clearer guidelines on this.

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