Steve Brine

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Steve Brine is the Conservative MP for Winchester. He entered Parliament following the May 2010 general election, having won the seat from the Liberal Democrats.

Homeopathy

In June 2010, Steve Brine signed Early Day Motions 284: BMA Annual Representative Meeting Motions on Homeopathy[1], 285: Effect of Homeopathic Remedies on Breast Cancer Cells[2], 286: Homeopathic Medicines in the Treatment of Moderate to Severe Depression[3], and 287: Homeopathy and Chronic Primary Insomnia[4].

Responding to skeptics on Twitter shortly after signing, Brine made the following statements:

"I am looking at all the evidence. People wildly overestimate what EDMs are!"[5]
"Am open to all info and views. My signing has led to exactly that so maybe EDMs do have an effect after all!"[6]
"interested in hearing the arguments as happens in a democracy. EDMs mean little."[7]
"My intention was to spark debate and it has been plenty and well balanced with views from both sides!"[8]

A similar response was quoted by a local newspaper the Hampshire Chronicle (30th July 2010):

"Sadly I have more than enough experience of serious illness to know offering people false hope is a cruel hoax but that's not what is happening here.
"In reality EDMs mean absolutely nothing in Parliamentary terms but these have promoted an energetic debate which has been fascinating and informative. The new NHS will have a commissioning board at its heart whose job will be to inform GP-led commissioning through scientific evidence, clinical evidence and guidelines on all forms of treatment.
"It will be for GPs themselves, managing their budgets, to enable patients to exercise greater choice. That choice should not be dictated by politicians or vested interest but should be determined by patients and their clinical advisers."[9]

Same-Sex Marriage

In 2012, following the launch of the coalition government's consultation on same-sex marriage, a statement from Mr Brine was posted on his website[10]. It started:

"I want to be crystal clear with you that I support civil partnerships and had I been in Parliament at the time I would not have hesitated to support the move to give equality under the law to gay and lesbian couples but I am frankly baffled as to why the Government is bringing this consultation forward at this time, if at all."

He indicated he knew that the proposals would affect only civil marriages, not religious marriages:

"They also tell me they have listened to those religious organisations that raised concerns about the redefinition of religious marriage in compiling this consultation document. They are aware that some religious organisations that solemnize marriages through a religious ceremony believe that marriage can only be between a man and a woman. That is why this consultation is limited to consideration of civil marriage and makes no proposals to change the way that religious marriages are solemnized. It will not be legally possible under these proposals for religious organisations to solemnize religious marriages for same-sex couples. There will therefore be no obligation or requirement for religious organisations or ministers of religion to do this."

He noted his own view:

"My own personal view on this free-vote issue for MPs is shaped (albeit not exclusively) by the fact I am a Christian. I simply do not see who is demanding this change and I do not see why there is any need to go beyond civil partnerships, which deliver legal parity already as I have said, and fundamentally change the definition of marriage in the process."

And encouraged constituents to participate in the consultation:

"I think it is essential that as many people as possible tell this coalition Government exactly what they think of these proposals by taking part in the consultation. My advice to constituents is to not be bound by the limits of that consultation either; by all means answer the questions but take time to add a personal letter with a view on the principle of equal civil marriage. As the local MP I am collating all correspondence I am receiving on the subject and will be sending that under my cover to Ms Featherstone in due course."

Mr Brine subsequently voted against the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[11] and its third reading in May 2013[12].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Steve Brine 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[13]. 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[14]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[15]. After clearing both Houses, mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

References

  1. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/284
  2. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/285
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/286
  4. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/287
  5. http://twitter.com/sbrine/status/16921569413
  6. http://twitter.com/sbrine/status/16932610212
  7. http://twitter.com/sbrine/status/17083543309
  8. http://twitter.com/sbrine/status/17085156994
  9. http://www.hampshirechronicle.co.uk/news/8304555.Health_sceptics_criticise_Winchester_MP_over_support_for_homeopathy/
  10. http://www.stevebrine.com/other/gaymarriage
  11. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Steve_Brine
  12. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Steve_Brine
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Steve_Brine
  14. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  15. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500

External Links


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