Tom Watson

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Tom Watson is the Labour MP for West Bromwich East. He was elected as Deputy Leader of the Labour Party in September 2015.

Science Statement 2015

During the 2015 Labour leadership campaign, the group Scientists for Labour contacted all the leader and deputy leader candidates on the topic of their policy ideas regarding science, engineering and technology. Mr Watson's reply can he read at http://www.scientistsforlabour.org.uk/en/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=141:tom-watson-deputy-leadership-candidate&catid=53:labour-party&Itemid=141

Mobile Phones

In December 2010, Watson wrote a Comment is Free article for the Guardian on the subject of possible health risks associated with mobile phones[1]. He stated that "We need to get to the bottom of what mobile phones do to our health once and for all with an independent fund for research."

The same month Watson secured a debate in the House of Commons on the subject of the health effects of mobile phones. A transcript of the complete debate can be read on Hansard: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201011/cmhansrd/cm101220/debtext/101220-0004.htm

Climate Change

In an October 2006 blog entry titled "Personal Kyoto"[2], Tom Watson said "We have got to work harder to find more effective solutions to the problems climate change".

In March 2010, Watson signed Early Day Motion 682: Protection for Polar Bears[3], which begins with the statement "That this House notes that the survival of the polar bear (Ursus maritimus) is threatened by climate change as well as the commercial trade in polar bear products, such as fur skins".

Science Education

In an August 2009 blog entry titled "Evolution for kids"[4], Watson starts "My four year old stunned us last night when he asked what evolution was". He then talks about his hunt for ideas and resources. He finds several possible books, but concludes that "there’s a gap in the market for a four year old's guide to evolution".

Science Funding

In October 2010, Tom Watson 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".[5]

Libel Law Reform

Tom Watson was a member of the House of Commons Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, during its investigation into reform of the English libel laws.[6]

On 30th March 2010, in a House of Commons committee debate, Tom Watson voted against The Conditional Fee Agreements (Amendment) Order 2010[7]. The order would have limited success fees paid to lawyers in libel cases to 10%[8] and was an initial stage in libel reform proposed by Jack Straw as an interim measure to reduce costs in defamation cases[9][10]. The rejection by the committee will mean that the measure will now go to a full Parliamentary vote.

Watson wrote an explanation of why he opposed this initial step for that Liberal Conspiracy blog[11].

Pharmaceutical Trial Data

January 2013 Mr Watson tweeted on the topic of the http://www.alltrials.net/ campaign:

I'm in favour of this and have publicly said so since Ben raised it years ago. I'll help where I can.[12]

Same-Sex Marriage

Tom Watson voted in favour of the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Bill at both its second reading in February 2013[13] and its third reading in May 2013[14].

Mitochondrial Donation

In February 2015 Tom Watson 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[15]. 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[16]. However, some religious groups had said that such procedures should not be allowed[17]. After clearing both Houses mitochondrial donation is now legal, regulated by the HFEA.

References

  1. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/dec/20/mobile-phones-health-companies-precaution-research
  2. http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/2006/10/personal-kyoto/
  3. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2009-10/682
  4. http://www.tom-watson.co.uk/2009/08/evolution-for-kids/
  5. http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/767
  6. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmselect/cmcumeds/362/36202.htm
  7. http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200910/cmgeneral/deleg1/100330/100330s01.htm
  8. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2010/draft/ukdsi_9780111496510_en_1
  9. http://www.opsi.gov.uk/si/si2010/draft/em/ukdsiem_9780111496510_en.pdf
  10. https://www.justice.gov.uk/consultations/docs/response-conditional-fees-consultation.pdf
  11. http://liberalconspiracy.org/2010/03/31/why-i-opposed-libel-costs-reform-yesterday/
  12. https://twitter.com/tom_watson/status/295896401412509697
  13. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-02-05&number=151&mpn=Tom_Watson
  14. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2013-05-21&number=11&mpn=Tom_Watson
  15. http://www.publicwhip.org.uk/division.php?date=2015-02-03&number=147&mpn=Tom_Watson
  16. http://www.hfea.gov.uk/docs/2014-10-01_Mitochondrial_donation__an_introductory_briefing_note_-_final.pdf
  17. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-31063500

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