Robert Walter

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Robert Walter was the Conservative MP for North Dorset from 1997 until he stood down in 2015.

Abortion

In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Robert Walter 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.

Sex Education

In May 2011 Mr Walter voted in favour of Nadine Dorries' Sex Education (Required Content) "10 minute" Bill[2]. The Bill stated that "such education must include information and advice on the benefits of abstinence from sexual activity"[3]. 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[4] (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[5], plus this new content on abstinence, with further content being up to the individual school)[6]. The Bill passed its first reading by 67 votes to 61, but had little chance of becoming law and was withdrawn in January 2012 shortly before its second reading[7].

Homeopathy

Walter was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[8].

In March 2010, following the publication of the House of Commons Science and Technology Committee's report "Evidence Check 2: Homeopathy", Walter signed Early Day Motion 908: Science and Technology Committee Report on Homeopathy, which was critical of the report[9].

In July 2010, Walter signed Early Day Motion 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy[10] which expressed concern at a number of motions to be put forward at the British Medical Association's annual representative meeting calling "for no further commissioning of, nor funding for, homeopathic remedies in the NHS", and "thinks that an integrated NHS, which employs the best from the orthodox and complementary ... could deliver better and more cost-effective outcomes at a time of financial prudence".

Nomination of David Tredinnick for Health Committee Chair

In 2014 Mr Walter was one of 20 MPs to nominate David Tredinnick (an outspoken advocate of alternative medicine) for the position of Chair of the Health Select Committee[11][12]. It is not known if Mr Walter subsequently voted for Mr Tredinnick, who only received nine votes in the anonymous ballot.

Science Funding

In October 2010, Bob Walter responded to a communication from a constituent concerning possible cuts to the UK science budget in the forthcoming spending review. The response included the statement that "In the current economic climate, there is no justification for public money being used to support research that is neither commercially useful nor theoretically outstanding."[13]

Religion

Robert Walter signed the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1770 supporting freedom of religion and welcoming the launch of the Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain[14].

Faith based Adoption Agencies

In 2007, Robert Walter signed Early Day Motion 742 calling on the government to exclude "faith based" adoption agencies from the Equality Act to avoid such agencies being forced to consider gay couples.[15]

Libel Law Reform

In January 2010, Robert Walter signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[16]. The motion noted that human rights activists, scientists, writers and journalists are currently prevented from publishing, and the public prevented from reading, matters of strong public interest due to the chilling effect of the law.

Same-Sex Marriage

Robert Walter voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[17] and its third reading in May 2013[18].

References

  1. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200607/cmselect/cmsctech/1045/104502.htm
  2. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm110504/debtext/110504-0001.htm#stpa_o51
  3. http://services.parliament.uk/bills/2010-12/sexeducationrequiredcontent.html
  4. http://www.thetwentyfirstfloor.com/?p=2325
  5. http://www.drpetra.co.uk/blog/what-do-we-want-from-sex-and-relationships-education/
  6. http://educationforchoice.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/abstain-from-abstinence-please-dorries.html
  7. http://www.guardian.co.uk/education/2012/jan/20/nadine-dorries-sexual-abstinence-bill-withdrawn
  8. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1240
  9. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/908
  10. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/284
  11. https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481110771217469440 & https://twitter.com/julianhuppert/status/481111043796914176
  12. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmagenda/ob140618.htm
  13. http://scienceisvital.org.uk/2010/10/11/whose-constituents-signed-the-petition/#comment-610
  14. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/1770
  15. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2006-07/742
  16. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/423
  17. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Robert_Walter
  18. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Robert_Walter

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