Roger Williams

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Roger Williams was the Liberal Democrat MP for Brecon and Radnorshire from 2001 until 2015.

He studied Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, and after graduating became a livestock farmer[1].

Mr Williams was a member of the Science and Technology Select Committee from 2010 until 2015.



Roger Williams was one of 206 MPs to sign the March 2007 Early Day Motion 1240 calling for the positive recognition of NHS homeopathic hospitals[2].

In July 2010, Williams signed two Early Day Motion amendments, EDM 285A1: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells[3], and EDM 286A1: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression[4]. These amendments highlighted flaws in published studies that had apparently supported homeopathy, and endorsed the findings of the Science and Technology Select Committee report on homeopathy which had recommended against its use in the NHS.


In May 2008 in the abortion amendments to the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Bill (now Act), Roger Williams voted for the abortion time limit to be lowered to 20 weeks against scientific and medical consensus which is currently 24 weeks[5]. 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.

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Roger Williams 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[6]. 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[7]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[8]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

MMR Vaccine

Roger Williams signed the February 2009 Early Day Motion 754: MMR Vaccine and the Media supporting the use of the MMR vaccine. The motion expressed disappointment with the reporting of the vaccine by Jeni Barnett on her LBC radio show in January 2009, and expressed the hope that future reporting of the issue of MMR would be less sensationalist and more evidence-based.[9]

Climate Change

In February 2010, Roger Williams signed Early Day Motion 524: Recognising Climate Change which states that "this House agrees that climate change is happening and is man-made" and calls this statement a "fact, which has the support of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community"[10].

University Tuition Fees

In December 2010 Roger Williams voted against increasing the upper limit on university tuition fees from £3290 per year to £9000 per year[11]. The proposed increase was a response to the Browne Report, published in October of that year, which had proposed a complete removal of any upper limit on fees, together with other measures (largely adopted by the coalition government) to ease the burden of repayment.

Science Funding

On 13th October 2010, in the context of possible cuts to government science funding in the forthcoming spending review, Roger Williams asked the following question at Prime Minster's Questions:

"This year, four British scientists have gained Nobel prizes, confirming their position in the premier league of world science. The comprehensive spending review gives an opportunity to identify areas for investment as well as reducing costs. Does the Prime Minister agree that, with the US, Germany, France and other countries increasing their expenditure on science, it would be prudent for Britain to do likewise?"[12][13]

The previous day, Williams had signed Early Day Motion 767: Science is Vital Campaign. The motion stated that the house "believes that continued investment in research is vital in order to meet the technological and social challenges of the 21st century, and to continue to attract high-tech industries to invest here; further believes that large cuts to science funding are a false economy, due to evidence that research investment fuels economic growth".[14]

Same-Sex Marriage

Roger Williams voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[15] and its third reading in May 2013[16].

Libel Law Reform

In January 2010, Roger Williams signed Early Day Motion 423 calling for a reform of the English libel law[17]. 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.



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