Robert Goodwill

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Robert Goodwill is the Conservative MP for Scarborough & Whitby.


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Robert Goodwill voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[1]. 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.

In September 2011 Robert Goodwill voted for Nadine Dorries’s amendment to the Health and Social Care Bill, which was ultimately defeated by 368 to 118 votes[2]. This amendment would have stopped BPAS and Marie Stopes from providing counselling for women with unwanted pregnancies and allowed ‘independent’ counselling including that provided by faith-based organisations.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Robert Goodwill 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.


Goodwill was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[6].

When asked by journalist Tom Whipple what evidence the MP had used in deciding to support the motion, Goodwill responded:

"Thank you for your email about EDM 1240. You misquote from the EDM. It says that Complementary medicine has the “potential” to offer clinically effective etc.
I base my support on the letter I have recieved from constituents who have benefitted from this type of treatment. In particular the Scarborougfh Hospital pain clinic which uses acupuncture to great effect. This is under threat due to cuts at the trust.
Also there are very many people who use various types of manipulative treatments for back pain which has been effective when all the more convential treatment can offer is higher and higher doses of pain killers.
My decision to sign the EDM (before by front bench appointment) was based on the experiences of constituents who wrote to me with personal evidence of the benefits with pain."[7]

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. Robert Goodwill replied:

1: Climate change is probably issue number 2 after the NHS for me at the moment.
2: We must adopt market driven ways of reducing CO?. For example by widening the EU emissions trading system. Each person could carry out a personal CO? audit on a website set up for this purpose.
3: I have a green business on my farm carrying out green burials. This is reducing the amount of CO2 produced by cremation. I have also signed a 40 tonne contract to produce bio-diesel on the farm. We have planted several thousand trees on the farm as a carbon sink.[8]

Cornerstone Group

Robert Goodwill is a member of the Cornerstone Group, a group within the Conservative Party that describes itself as believing in "the spiritual values which have informed British institutions, our culture and our nation's sense of identity for centuries, underpinned by the belief in a strong nation state."[9]. Their website includes articles on Conservative and Christian political issues.

Same-Sex Marriage

Robert Goodwill voted against 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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